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General Gaming  » European Union: Stop calling games "free to play" which are not!

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178 posts found
  SpottyGekko

Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2917

2/28/14 7:40:18 AM#101

As usual, the EU takes the lead over other regions in protecting it's citizens against predatory business practices !

We pay more taxes here, but at least we get more value for our tax money...

 

If these initial "discussions" lead to eventual regulation, it will naturally be extended to all so-called "F2P" online games.

Then we'll probably see the following changes:

F2P*

  *Terms and conditions apply

 

Of course, the "F2P*" part will be at the top of the page in 26pt bold text, and the T&C bit will be right at the bottom in 6pt text, but at least it's a start.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

2/28/14 7:53:22 AM#102
Originally posted by SpottyGekko

As usual, the EU takes the lead over other regions in protecting it's citizens against predatory business practices !

We pay more taxes here, but at least we get more value for our tax money...

 

If these initial "discussions" lead to eventual regulation, it will naturally be extended to all so-called "F2P" online games.

Then we'll probably see the following changes:

F2P*

  *Terms and conditions apply

 

Of course, the "F2P*" part will be at the top of the page in 26pt bold text, and the T&C bit will be right at the bottom in 6pt text, but at least it's a start.

 

This is for mobile games.  The "Install" button won't change, but there will be a popup that says the game includes in-app purchases before it downloads and installs, and the option to make purchases without having to enter your Apple/Google password will be removed.  "F2P" might become "F2D" and in "Free To Download" or "F2I" as in "Free To Install".

 

No, that would make too much sense.

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Cellarkid88

Novice Member

Joined: 2/04/14
Posts: 40

2/28/14 7:53:39 AM#103
Originally posted by CrazKanuk
Originally posted by Cellarkid88
Originally posted by cowhead
Originally posted by Cellarkid88

 

The EU wants to protect me against cashgrab-apps by making their declaration with the product more distinct and people complain about that?

 

You guys are the reason my generation wants to die young, seriously.

 

 

 

 

You already have that protection. It's called You. You choose what to play. You choose what to spend money on. You take responsibility for your choices. You are the first, last and only protection you need. If you cannot/will not protect yourself from something as unimportant as video games; heaven help you. You're not long for this world.

 

I partly agree and disagree. It seems to be a misconception that this is about adults only - for example a 21 year-old man having a job and income that only he is responsible for. In this case I wholeheartly agree with you.

 

I encourage the EU to do this nonetheless because: look on the streets. I see children in kindergarten who already have the newest iPhone or at least a Smartphone of any kind. Those children are still learning what money is and what it means (this doesn't magically come overnight or is due to bad parenting - it takes time). They can be easily tricked by these F2P-advertisements.

 

Parents are liable for their children. Therefore if you are a family-mother or -father this will affect you. Having the EU setting a distinct and more transparent declaration for F2P is to protect all of them - which is undoubtly in need.

I couldn't disagree with this more. Do you even realize what you're saying? You're saying that, basically, because parents don't know how to be parents, the govenment, or some third party agency, should step in and take care of their kids. Do you know how ridiculous this sounds? 

 

Here's the problem with this all. We do this ALL THE TIME! Unfortunately this doesn't prepare anyone for real life. Anything that's "Free" always comes with a catch. I entered a draw for a "Free" car around the holidays (because I'm an idiot) and I won a free dinner!!! Oh, and there's a short presentation from this meat company. Oh, and just by going I get like a $600 Home Depot gift card! Guess what, I didn't go. Why? Because I know that "Free" dinner is going to end up costing me more than $600. In fact, I'll probably end up walking out of there with a stretched ass and $2000 less in my bank account because if I don't buy something they're not letting me walk out. Same thing goes for these "Free Weekend Getaway" deals or "Free Vacation" deals. Sure, there is the odd person that gets caught up in it but, for the most part, people should know what they're getting into. Oh, or just get rid of all of these "Free" things also. Oh, and what about gmail? Technically it's free, but Google has record of every single thing you've ever talked about in every conversation that you've ever had with someone over email. Oh, and don't think that information is kept locked away somewhere. It's used regularly. Just watch the Google Ads that pop up for you. 

 

It's like the whole peanut butter debate. I'm really sorry, but if your child has an allergy to peanut butter what do you think is the best solution for them? Banning peanut butter from schools altogether or making them understand that they can't eat anything that anyone else gives them because if it has something in it that they're allergic to, they might DIE!? What do you think is the better life lesson? Instead, we ban peanut butter from schools, essentially creating a society of less informed grown-ups. Grown-ups who assume that everyone has taken precautions to protect them. 

 

Same goes for this. I think that you'd be extremely hard-pressed to find a game which is free to play which actually requires you to pay something to progress. Primarily these games offer paid conveniences. Thing is, the majority of F2P MMORPGs don't squeeze their players for cash. Look at any mobile game with these timed "Energy" gates. Damn! I mean Candy Crush Saga makes about a million dollars a DAY! That is literally more than some countries' GDP. So I get that this is a problem, but I don't think that it's a problem with how we name things. If you called it Free to Download is it any different? No, it's how you get squeezed for money that's different. I think that they should leave it alone. Honestly, if people don't have the self-control to not sink hundreds or thousands of dollars into a game, they need more help than renaming what an industry calls it.

 

Ok so I hint at "children need time to learn what money means and this is not due to bad parenting but a learning process" => you come up with "that is bad parenting and children should know instantly about money because of blackmagic".

 

I say "this is not limited to adults" => you counter with an example featuring an adult with experience in these money-matters.

 

We have stated already that this is not limited to MMOs or games but apps in general => you fixate your argument to games.

 

I leave this here as it is.

 

 

PS.: this is not about peanut butter.

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1033

2/28/14 8:16:57 AM#104
Originally posted by Cellarkid88
Originally posted by CrazKanuk
Originally posted by Cellarkid88
Originally posted by cowhead
Originally posted by Cellarkid88

 

The EU wants to protect me against cashgrab-apps by making their declaration with the product more distinct and people complain about that?

 

You guys are the reason my generation wants to die young, seriously.

 

 

 

 

You already have that protection. It's called You. You choose what to play. You choose what to spend money on. You take responsibility for your choices. You are the first, last and only protection you need. If you cannot/will not protect yourself from something as unimportant as video games; heaven help you. You're not long for this world.

 

I partly agree and disagree. It seems to be a misconception that this is about adults only - for example a 21 year-old man having a job and income that only he is responsible for. In this case I wholeheartly agree with you.

 

I encourage the EU to do this nonetheless because: look on the streets. I see children in kindergarten who already have the newest iPhone or at least a Smartphone of any kind. Those children are still learning what money is and what it means (this doesn't magically come overnight or is due to bad parenting - it takes time). They can be easily tricked by these F2P-advertisements.

 

Parents are liable for their children. Therefore if you are a family-mother or -father this will affect you. Having the EU setting a distinct and more transparent declaration for F2P is to protect all of them - which is undoubtly in need.

I couldn't disagree with this more. Do you even realize what you're saying? You're saying that, basically, because parents don't know how to be parents, the govenment, or some third party agency, should step in and take care of their kids. Do you know how ridiculous this sounds? 

 

Here's the problem with this all. We do this ALL THE TIME! Unfortunately this doesn't prepare anyone for real life. Anything that's "Free" always comes with a catch. I entered a draw for a "Free" car around the holidays (because I'm an idiot) and I won a free dinner!!! Oh, and there's a short presentation from this meat company. Oh, and just by going I get like a $600 Home Depot gift card! Guess what, I didn't go. Why? Because I know that "Free" dinner is going to end up costing me more than $600. In fact, I'll probably end up walking out of there with a stretched ass and $2000 less in my bank account because if I don't buy something they're not letting me walk out. Same thing goes for these "Free Weekend Getaway" deals or "Free Vacation" deals. Sure, there is the odd person that gets caught up in it but, for the most part, people should know what they're getting into. Oh, or just get rid of all of these "Free" things also. Oh, and what about gmail? Technically it's free, but Google has record of every single thing you've ever talked about in every conversation that you've ever had with someone over email. Oh, and don't think that information is kept locked away somewhere. It's used regularly. Just watch the Google Ads that pop up for you. 

 

It's like the whole peanut butter debate. I'm really sorry, but if your child has an allergy to peanut butter what do you think is the best solution for them? Banning peanut butter from schools altogether or making them understand that they can't eat anything that anyone else gives them because if it has something in it that they're allergic to, they might DIE!? What do you think is the better life lesson? Instead, we ban peanut butter from schools, essentially creating a society of less informed grown-ups. Grown-ups who assume that everyone has taken precautions to protect them. 

 

Same goes for this. I think that you'd be extremely hard-pressed to find a game which is free to play which actually requires you to pay something to progress. Primarily these games offer paid conveniences. Thing is, the majority of F2P MMORPGs don't squeeze their players for cash. Look at any mobile game with these timed "Energy" gates. Damn! I mean Candy Crush Saga makes about a million dollars a DAY! That is literally more than some countries' GDP. So I get that this is a problem, but I don't think that it's a problem with how we name things. If you called it Free to Download is it any different? No, it's how you get squeezed for money that's different. I think that they should leave it alone. Honestly, if people don't have the self-control to not sink hundreds or thousands of dollars into a game, they need more help than renaming what an industry calls it.

 

Ok so I hint at "children need time to learn what money means and this is not due to bad parenting but a learning process" => you come up with "that is bad parenting and children should know instantly about money because of blackmagic".

 

I say "this is not limited to adults" => you counter with an example featuring an adult with experience in these money-matters.

 

We have stated already that this is not limited to MMOs or games but apps in general => you fixate your argument to games.

 

I leave this here as it is.

 

 

PS.: this is not about peanut butter.

 

Oh, sorry, I thought you were saying it was a good thing. I agree, it's definitely not a good thing. Unfortunately we've gotten really good at protecting people these days, to the point where Darwinism doesn't even play in anymore, minus the people who actually go out of their way to be dumb. 

 

If you're an adult and you don't see the two or three gates telling you to pay, that's your problem. If parents don't explain to their kids that they are not allowed to make in-app purchases, then they're extremely disconnected and will be quickly re-connected if they leave their app account wide open and their kids abuse it. Apple already refunds these anyway. 

 

I've got 4 kids and have never had an issue with an in-app purchase in over 3 years! In fact, I get bugged by them on a fairly regular basis to make in-app purchases from these apps. Oh, and they also have their own money in the account, but they still ask if they can buy it. As long as we don't shelter kids from reality I don't think this is an issue. In fact, it's probably a valuable learning experience that "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Crazkanuk

----------------
Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
----------------

  Bacchira

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/01/13
Posts: 51

2/28/14 8:17:01 AM#105
EU should ban all F2P games!
  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

2/28/14 9:59:09 AM#106
Originally posted by FinalFikus


truth in advertising is a good thing.

 

 

 

This.  No one is saying they can't use this payment model. They are saying they can't use deceptive terms to describe it, especialy if they are marketing to underage kids.

I'm not in favor of Government intervention but companies do need to avoid borderline fraud in thier marketing campaigns.

 

 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4745

2/28/14 10:05:32 AM#107

Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

What's worse than people who misrepresent themselves to make money?  People who misrepresent themselves because they know better than you what's good for you.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  Mr.Kujo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/23/12
Posts: 392

“Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.”

2/28/14 10:09:01 AM#108
Originally posted by Elikal

Which I fully support! I am glad to see how the EU often sides with the customers. *waves EU flag* :)

 

If you support it, explain me this. I played SWTOR for a month until I played enough for my satisfaction and moved on to another game. I haven't paid one dime for that experience. Explain to me how am I wrong saying it was free to play for me? Maybe I sold my soul to satan or something, and just don't realize it yet, enlighten me.

 

Well, it is EU after all. Every mobile company straight out lies about their services in commercials, putting asterisks in every possible place, but this is fine. Saying game is free when it is free appears to be wrong. And carrot is a fruit, welcome to EU.

  thinktank001

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1858

2/28/14 10:26:04 AM#109
  Developers have had this coming a long time.  In fact, the EU commission has been working on this for 3 years to come up with guidelines to protect consumers.  April will bring transparency to the microtransaction model for all developers.  
  CazNeerg

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 2220

"So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Dark Helmet

2/28/14 10:47:23 AM#110

 

Originally posted by Zadawn

Stepping into that new zone is part of playing and i can't do that unless i pay. Riding the sparkly pony is part of playing, unless i pay i will not have access to it. So on and so forth.

They aren't marketed as "Free to Play Everything," only as "Free to Play."  If a restaurant had marketing that said "Free to Eat" that would simply mean that if you showed up wanting free food, they would have to give you something.  It doesn't mean they have to give you anything on the menu, because as long as they give you something that is technically food they have fulfilled the letter of their promise.

Originally posted by FinalFikus

So then you agree that play should be defined?

I would argue that play is already defined.  It means you are able to engage in activities in a game.  If there are activities that can be experienced without paying anything, then the game is Free to Play.

Originally posted by tyfon

This is just a way for the customer to have all information regarding the purchase ahead of time.

Just like a bank is required to inform about effective rate including all fees and not just the regular interest rate for loans. 

If the companies business plans can see the light of day then this is no problem for them. If it can't.. well that is what this proposed law is all about :)

You can't make proper decisions without all the information. 

Customers do have access to the relevant information.  Anybody who has two brain cells to rub together already understands that Free to Play doesn't mean that everything about the product is completely free, there is no need for any labeling changes.

Originally posted by John_Grimm

I read all the comments and have to totally agree with the EU Commission investigating the predatory practices of some F2P gaming establishments.

And for people saying you have to be a retard to not get that F2P means that you have to pay at some point for “content/items/bling”. Don’t you drooling idiots get it that a lot of parents/grandparents are NOT IT savvy, I have relatives who have issues logging into a computer!

This is the majority of people, not the minority, people who vote, that is why this is being looked into, because it is predatory and f****** dishonest!

I don’t have problem with F2P as is, but I can tell when a game is a cash grabbing bog and make some distinction between it and a good F2P game, most people cannot do this as they do not know better.

So, do a lot of your relatives who have trouble logging into computers play F2P games and "accidentally" spend money in them?  They accidentally enter their credit card information?  They accidentally click "buy" or "purchase" buttons?  

The only people who can't figure out that F2P doesn't mean the same thing as Free are people who are too stupid to protect, no matter how much you try they will find a way to waste their money, so all attempting to protect them from the consequences of their mental deficiency accomplishes is a lot of wasted time, effort, and resources.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

  iridescence

Elite Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1231

2/28/14 10:59:26 AM#111
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

Just because you and I know that if you really want to enjoy  most "free to play" games you're going to have to pay a significant amount of money doesn't make deceptive marketing OK. Companies are using the word "free" deliberately knowing that it will attract a lot of people who will then get invested in the game and be willing to pay.They're basically lying to people to get them to try their product in some of these cases.

 

Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

 

 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4745

2/28/14 11:09:37 AM#112
Originally posted by iridescence
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

Just because you and I know that if you really want to enjoy  most "free to play" games you're going to have to pay a significant amount of money doesn't make deceptive marketing OK. Companies are using the word "free" deliberately knowing that it will attract a lot of people who will then get invested in the game and be willing to pay.They're basically lying to people to get them to try their product in some of these cases.

 

Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

 

 

What I am saying is that Govt. involvement will break more than it fixes.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

2/28/14 11:23:23 AM#113

@Cazneerg,

Alot of this is actualy targeted at the mobile/tablet market and games that are heavly targeted toward children. The thing is alot of these Apps get away with bypassing the standard parental controls for paid applications because they label themselves as free and they find ways to allow kids to incurr charges without requiring password approval for those charges. So the parent ends up owing money even though the parent implimented the standard parental controls that should prevent the child from downloading any App that has a fee or doing anything in an App that should require a fee.

The parent expects the kid can't download any App that can incurr a fee because doing so requires the parents password....but the App bypasses that...... The parent expects that the App can't allow a purchase without inputting the parents password....the App bypasses that because instead of direct cash it charges "Smiley Face Points" which then get converted to cash later.

The 8 year old playing the game see's "Free" and thinks it actualy is Free...this gets confirmed when he's allowed to download the App without Dad's password. He then see's 4 "Smiley Face Points" for that snazy new sword...he doesn't realize that actualy means cash....and that gets confirmed when he doesn't get prompted for Dad's password when he makes the purchase, like he would with any other purchase that would be cash.

 

 

 

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16683

2/28/14 11:36:35 AM#114

To me it sounds reasonable. The industry needs to replace the term "free" because too many con companies have made crap like "Smurf village"that parents think is free until they get the bills.

And there are some MMOs that seems to be free in the beginning but it more or less unplayable after a while if you don't buy plenty of stuff.

Sure, games that actually have a fair model gets to suffer as well but I don't think a renaming will hurt them.

And no this is not like getting a free car but have pay for the gas, in many cases it is more like "wheels not included and only our expensive fits".

  Aeonblades

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/12/12
Posts: 2123

2/28/14 11:48:40 AM#115
Originally posted by Elikal

In a staggering move, the European Commission currently debates to disallow companies calling games "free" which apparently are not, since they have paywall of certain kind, and only games are allowed to call themselves "free to play" which are free in it's entirety.

Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-02-27-free-to-play-misleading-advertising-in-europe

Quote:

"The Consumer Protection Cooperation and EC member states have released a list of common positions on the subject, with misleading advertising at the top.

"The use of the word 'free' (or similar unequivocal terms) as such, and without any appropriate qualifications, should only be allowed for games which are indeed free in their entirety, or in other words which contain no possibility of making in-app purchases, not even on an optional basis," the group said."

 

Which I fully support! I am glad to see how the EU often sides with the customers. *waves EU flag* :)

God I hope they do this in the US too. No more F2P games that are really Cash 2 Actually Play the Game.

Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
Have played: You name it
If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  emperorwings

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/25/06
Posts: 1358

2/28/14 12:38:18 PM#116
Free to grind and get a 1 in 1000 chance of a drop to upgrade your stuff that $8 in the cash shop can get you.

This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  User Deleted
2/28/14 12:40:39 PM#117
Originally posted by CazNeerg

It's amazingly sad that the grasp of the English language in the EU is that poor.  I can't think of one F2P game that can't be played for free.

EDIT: If they can't see that "to play" is an appropriate qualification, they are the ones lacking in appropriate qualifications.

I don't think this is about semantics.  It's more about misleading marketing practices.  There are a number of "F2P" games (especially in the mobile industry) that offer such a poor experience when playing for free, that it's misleading to suggest they are such.  The recent Dungeon Keeper game is a good example, where you have to buy gems for a remotely playable experience.

  Amana

MMORPG.COM Staff

Joined: 1/03/11
Posts: 2365

2/28/14 12:59:10 PM#118
Guys, keep this to gaming and not politics/ethical issues or a 'who's better' contest. It's getting away from the topic at hand.

To give feedback on moderation, contact community@mmorpg.com

  Reklaw

Elite Member

Joined: 1/07/06
Posts: 6164

The adult I am takes care of most things real life. However my inner-child is a GAMER!!

2/28/14 1:06:39 PM#119
Originally posted by RealmLordsKen

This will be interesting to watch.  Good post, thanks.

 

May I ask what's good about the OP's post?

It seems to be posted in a MMO dedicated section. Yet the article was about App(s)

Or did I misread the article?

  Stizzled

Tipster

Joined: 9/13/07
Posts: 1048

Kill Your Heroes

2/28/14 1:37:17 PM#120
Originally posted by iridescence

Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

 

 

Of course it wouldn't be bad, though it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like F2P does. But, just to be fair, other games should have to do the same thing.

 

Buy to Play doesn't really tell the whole truth, almost every B2P game has microtransactions, I guess we can start calling those "box fee with optional microtransaction funded".

 

Again, same thing for Pay to Play, it doesn't really tell you what it's charging for, pay could simply mean the initial box fee. We'll start calling P2P games "box fee plus required monthly subscription along with optional microstransactions funded".

 

Or, and I know this is crazy, we could just continue to call them exactly what they are, F2P, B2P and P2P.

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