When is a free-to-play game not so free? When it breaks out the in-app purchases, of course. Something about the "free" part of that business model isn't sitting right with the European Commission which has fielded complaints from consumers "all over Europe."
Now the EC is looking to have a word with Apple and Google this week over issues of transparency presented by such "free-to-play" titles. The EU's executive body reportedly intends to make its position clear over how the term "free-to-play" should only be leveraged on titles in their app stores which are truly "free in their entirety", and "contain no possibility of making in-app purchases, not even on an optional basis."
The EC estimates that over half the apps in the EU's online gaming market which are labelled as "free" in some form are still beholden to in-app purchases. Unexpected costs and the ability for minors to make such purchases without explicit consent and warning are major sticking points, and the EC is expected to discuss suggestions with the industry over how to better protect consumers.