UKIE responds to OFT principles for in-app purchases

UKIE has responded to the Office of Fair Trading’s principles for online and app-based games.

These guidelines – published earlier today – serve to ensure game businesses sell content responsibly. If they are not in line with these principles, they could face problems from the Competition and Markets Authority from April 1st 2014.

UKIE CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: We identified the issues of responsible in-app purchasing in children’s games some time ago through our membership and we’ve been working closely with the OFT since they first announced their investigation to make sure that they heard from as many games businesses as possible.

It’s important that we help both the OFT and games businesses understand how new business models should work within existing rules around consumer protection, advertising and marketing because companies want to and believe they are already doing the right thing by their players. Brand trust is paramount to them.

We need to make sure we balance the opportunity and growth of innovative business models in the industry with sensible measures to protecting players. We are pleased to see the OFT recognise that parents need to be more aware of and use parental controls that are available on devices. Protecting consumers is a shared responsibility across those who make and sell games, as well as parents and carers.

Done responsibly, micro-transaction based business models give choice and value for both players and businesses. Flexibility for companies to operate different business models is crucial, and it is good to see the OFT recognise this. We will work with the OFT on briefing sessions for games companies to better understand the application of the principles.”

The first of these briefing sessions will be held on February 20th.

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