TIGA urges game industry to cooperate with OFT investgation

TIGA he trade association representing the UK's games industry says the industry to cooperate with the OFT's investgation

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK's games industry, has urged developers and publishers to cooperate with the Government's  investigation into freemium games’ with in app purchases, which it says are an important commercial model for many businesses.

 "Game developers and digital publishers must provide evidence for the OFT to enable it to understand business practices in the sector. It is imperative that consumer protection regulations are adhered to at all times," said TIGA CEO Professor Richard Wilson.

This comes after the OFT announced an investigation into free-to-play browser games and phone apps that are aimed at children. The OFT is looking into whether children are being put under undue pressure to pay for in-game items and other additional content to complete these games.

 

The move comes after a series of incidents in which children spent large amounts of money on content on their parents' credit cards, who were unaware of these purchases until they received enormous bills.

In February of this year, Greg and Sharon Kitchen were refunded  £1,700 by Apple after their son, Danny, racked up that rather large amount on their credit card on micro-transactions in a game called Zombies Vs. Ninjas.

Last month, police officer Doug Crossan filed an official police complaint against his son Cameron for spending £3,700 of his parents' money on games in the App Store. Crossan did this in order to gain the help of the Action Fraud helpline to get his money back from Apple.

The OFT says it's looking into whether the costs for additional content in FTP games are "misleading, commercially aggressive or otherwise unfair."

'We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase when they are playing games they thought were free, but which can actually run up substantial costs," OFT Senior Director for Goods and Consumer, Cavendish Elithorn, said.

"The OFT is not seeking to ban in-game purchases, but the games industry must ensure it is complying with the relevant regulations so that children are protected. We are speaking to the industry and will take enforcement action if necessary," he added.

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