UKIE and Tiga back OFT's in-app purchases guidelines

UKIE and Tiga back OFT's in-app purchases guidelines
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

September 26th 2013 at 11:00AM

Trade bodies say members fully committed to legal obligations, but Jo Twist warns against inadvertently isolating UK consumers

UK game industry trade bodies UKIE and Tiga have expressed their support for guidelines proposed by the Office of Fair Trading to tackle unfair use of in-game purchases.

Today the OFT published its report on the use of IAPs, highlighting concerns about a lack of information on microtransactions and whether they are aggressively pushed onto children.

It laid out eight principles developers, publishers and platform holders should follow to inform their users on their business practices, including more transparency on whether titles are truly free and detailing extra costs a title may include.

Both UKIE and Tiga have welcomed and commended the proposed principles, and have said they will continue to consult with their members and the OFT on how the final guidelines should look.

UKIE’s Jo Twist said however that any guidelines should not inadvertently isolate UK consumers from accessing certain titles.

“All UKIE members take their responsibility to their players, particularly children, very seriously and are fully committed to complying with all legal obligations,” said Twist.

“We welcome any guidance from the OFT to clarify how they are interpreting the law and shall be taking our time to digest the proposed guidelines before responding fully to the OFT’s consultation.

“It is vital that any final guidelines, whilst primarily considering the best interests of children, do not inadvertently isolate UK consumers from accessing the games that they want to play, stifle the creativity of games developers or prevent the growth of the UK games industry.”

Tiga CEO Richard Wilson said he was pleased about the principles of transparency from the game industry and the OFT’s plan to create a consistent global approach on how in-app purchases for mobile and online games should be implemented and monitored.

“It is absolutely vital the FTP games model provides clear protection for gamers, particularly children, and proper guidance for parents and developers alike,” said Wilson.

“Tiga has been working with the OFT to develop these principles, having submitted evidence earlier this year, and it’s encouraging to see that many of our recommendations have been taken into account, especially the principles of absolute transparency and a consistent global approach, in keeping with the export-driven nature of the UK video game industry.

“Tiga understands both the legislative responsibilities and concerns of the OFT, and the daily realities of making games in the UK today and around the world. I’m pleased to say the OFT and UK games business is leading the way in addressing these issues and helping build a sustainable future for this high tech, highly skilled, global industry.”