"Free-To-Play" Games Face Tougher Regulation In Europe

"Free-To-Play" Games Face Tougher Regulation In Europe

European Commission logo

The European Commission is meeting with member states and technology companies to come up with more stringent protections for consumers who use free-to-play games.

It's no great secret that free-to-play games generally are not, in fact, free. Some are fairly gentle, allowing users to pay for personalization or "convenience" items that don't directly affect gameplay, but a great many of them place significant obstacles in the paths of gamers who don't want to pony up. It's a simple formula: If you want to play the game "properly," you're going to have to take out your wallet.

It's that bait-and-switch approach that has attracted the attention of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. "At present over 50 percent of the EU online games market consists of games advertised as 'free,' although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases," it said in a press release. "Often consumers are not fully aware that they are spending money because their credit cards get charged by default. Children are particularly vulnerable to marketing of 'free to download' games which are not 'free to play'."

To address the issue, the EC is holding meetings with "national enforcement agencies and large tech companies" including Google and Apple to discuss creating "proper consumer protection for apps customers." The discussions will focus on four particular issues:

  • Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved
  • Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them
  • Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements and purchases should not be debited through default settings without consumers' explicit consent
  • Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints

"Europe's app industry has enormous potential, both to generate jobs and growth, and to improve our daily lives through innovative technology. For the sector to deliver on its potential consumers must have confidence in new products," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said. "Misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection. The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organizations."

The EC said the meetings will provide an opportunity for all parties to reach a "common understanding" on the matter, and that it would continue to follow up in conjunction with individual enforcement authorities as necessary.

Source: Europa

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Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

Because unless they just want to kill every single free to play game or force the in game ads to sound like a stereotypical anime girlfriend (It's not like I wanted you to buy anything anyways!) I'm not sure how you avoid getting hit with the claim that you were suggesting a purchase in a way a child would see it.

Hmmm...I wonder how this will affect future EA and Molyneux statements. I am honestly interested.

What about the games you pay full price for but have to pay extra to have the "full experience"? *cough* Dead space 3, AC3 and 4, Battlefields, dragon age, NFS most wanted *cough*

Ahem

Falterfire:
Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

While it says children i suppose it actually references any ingame popups that encourage the "players" to buy the premium currency.

I'll mock the EU at length at times but fair play to them for this.

Hopefully it will at least make the worst perpetrators pause.

gigastar:

Falterfire:
Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

While it says children i suppose it actually references any ingame popups that encourage the "players" to buy the premium currency.

So that just goes back to his point, right? They can't advertise that you can buy stuff in-game. That should be allowed, so people know where to go to get it. Maybe they should warn that yes this is real money you're using for it. Which is on the same level as warning people not to put their dogs in the microwave.

Falterfire:
Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

Because unless they just want to kill every single free to play game or force the in game ads to sound like a stereotypical anime girlfriend (It's not like I wanted you to buy anything anyways!) I'm not sure how you avoid getting hit with the claim that you were suggesting a purchase in a way a child would see it.

It may come to that, but I think (hope) they just want to kill stuff such as Dungeon Keeper Mobil or Facebook games. In-game obstacles that can be circumvented (even partly) with the use of money should never be encountered.

I'm okay with developers selling things that don't alter the gameplay, but I would honestly rather pay a fixed price for a game than encounter some paywall.

Either that or they should just call it Free to Pay instead.

Sofus:
I'm okay with developers selling things that don't alter the gameplay, but I would honestly rather pay 60 euro for a game than encounter some immersion breaking paywall.

I kinda disagree, but it depends on the sort of game - In a single player game where I don't care at all about cosmetics, I'm okay with the things you pay for being level packs or new stuff that does affect gameplay, provided the free portions are balanced in such a way that the money isn't necessary. I'm not going to pay them $5 for a hat in a single player game, but I will pay $5 to get access to more content.

Multiplayer games are different though, just because it's so difficult to balance stuff to begin with and you don't want to have a situation where the guy with the $5 gun is always better than the guy with the free gun. Plus there are other people to look at the shiny so cosmetics feel more valuable (Even if the other player's don't care).

I suppose that still comes down to personal preference though, especially the single player bit.

The EU will also hopefully take action on the larger problem of microtransactions and premium currencies. If they could legislate that in app purchases need to be shown in how much REAL money they cost and not just gems or gold coins etc that would go a long way towards giving consumers a better frame of reference.

A digital item is digital goods; Digital games, DLC and micro-purchases should have a refund policy like everything else does.

Unfortunately the wheels of EA law tend to move at a glacial pace and since this is only in the consultation phase this could be many years in the pipeline.

I definitely agree with the initiative being pursued by the lawmakers, even if it is going to have to go through some draft work to be specific enough to not step on the wrong toes. There is a lot of ethical problems with the sales practices exhibited in games like Star Trek Trixels and Dungeon Keeper Mobile.

Holy Christ, the EC doing something that benefits someone else than the ridiculously wealthy establishment. That explain that squadron of pigs flying past the window.

(I'm being a bit mean, the EC is not as useless as it sounds, and these are honestly very good news as far as quality control is concerned.)

OK so this time the EU is wading in causing everyone to change everything for a soon to be obsolete reason 5 years too late as oppose to 10 years too late as they did with internet cookies.

At least they are improving.

Scrumpmonkey:
The EU will also hopefully take action on the larger problem of microtransactions and premium currencies. If they could legislate that in app purchases need to be shown in how much REAL money they cost and not just gems or gold coins etc that would go a long way towards giving consumers a better frame of reference.

A digital item is digital goods; Digital games, DLC and micro-purchases should have a refund policy like everything else does.

Unfortunately the wheels of EA law tend to move at a glacial pace and since this is only in the consultation phase this could be many years in the pipeline.

I think the problem is more directed to what iOS/Android games are doing, for I find they are a lot more predatory then a PC/Console game. In the PC/Console front I find EA is actually trying to give customers more support for their return policy on digital sales on Origin to me is fair and I have used it with Battlefield 4. I think it might expand to DLC if they can figure a way to track how much of the content was consumed by the player, for I fine with them not wanting to give a refund if someone played the entire DLC.

Sanunes:

Scrumpmonkey:
The EU will also hopefully take action on the larger problem of microtransactions and premium currencies. If they could legislate that in app purchases need to be shown in how much REAL money they cost and not just gems or gold coins etc that would go a long way towards giving consumers a better frame of reference.

A digital item is digital goods; Digital games, DLC and micro-purchases should have a refund policy like everything else does.

Unfortunately the wheels of EA law tend to move at a glacial pace and since this is only in the consultation phase this could be many years in the pipeline.

I think the problem is more directed to what iOS/Android games are doing, for I find they are a lot more predatory then a PC/Console game. In the PC/Console front I find EA is actually trying to give customers more support for their return policy on digital sales on Origin to me is fair and I have used it with Battlefield 4. I think it might expand to DLC if they can figure a way to track how much of the content was consumed by the player, for I fine with them not wanting to give a refund if someone played the entire DLC.

Digital refunds are a tricky one i agree and we are making some progress on the PC front. I've widened the topic a bit here when really we don't see the kind of extremes in the home console/ PC market that we do on mobile devices. You are right, the measures here need to first and foremost be addressing the iOS/ Android market.

The issues need attention. FAST. We're getting to a desperate 'stem the bleeding' -situation now. Games are becoming more and more predatory as a matter of design in staggeringly large numbers. And predatory was a good word to use, the unregulated practices on show here are dubious at best and will no doubt be criminal once the law caches up. This has also driven down overall visibility of quality games. Not only is the consumer side of the market in crisis but the store end is also suffering as it gets buried in torrents of simply unacceptable quality games. Trust is at an all time low.

The massive, ugly cash grab has created a touch market that is lead by companies devoid of morality. There is zero consumer protection.

Falterfire:
Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

Because unless they just want to kill every single free to play game or force the in game ads to sound like a stereotypical anime girlfriend (It's not like I wanted you to buy anything anyways!) I'm not sure how you avoid getting hit with the claim that you were suggesting a purchase in a way a child would see it.

It means that they are not allowed to lay "traps" for kids so to speak. They have to make it very clear to both the kid and the adult that real money is involved.

This whole article seems to be focused alot more on the app market for iphones and other mobile devices where such scummy tactics seem to run rampant.

I have yet to see a f2p MMO for PC or Console charge your credit card without explicitly telling you that youre actually paying money for whatever premium stuff youre getting. (However i dont doubt that they might exist out there)

Apps on the other hand.. there seem to be alot that ask for your credit card info and people (or kids that snagged their parents credit cards) are gullible enough to enter it... and then wonder why the hell their credit card gets billed so much.

Reason that its such a problem on the app market? They are piss easy to produce (flappy bird for example) so every shady figure out to make a quick buck has jumped on the bandwagon.

This is seriously starting to piss me off. Every time natural selection is starting to make a comeback in our society someone comes and ruins it. It's always the same, I get my hopes up, then someone starts to regulate away whatever new thing stupid people have started to lose money on. First they took away payday usury loans and now this!

i've been waiting patently for them to get round to online gaming (and specifically MMOs) for a while...

it is needed because even though i loves me some mmos the industry has basically grown up in a business space with no regulation and thus consumers of these services (and that's what they are) lack even basic and "normal" statutory rights.

gigastar:

Falterfire:
Although I in general agree with what they're trying to achieve here, I do take issue with one specific point:

Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them

This seems like a really difficult specification to comply with since there are quite a few games that are played by both children and adults. Does this mean that before advertising anything they have to put in an age gate? Or does this just mean "Hey, buy this" is okay but "Hey kids, buy this" is not?

While it says children i suppose it actually references any ingame popups that encourage the "players" to buy the premium currency.

It might, but I wonder if this has less to do with European regulators still thinking all gamers are children, and more to do with things like the Smurf Berry fiasco, where a game clearly marketed towards children had in app purchases that didn't make it especially clear involved real money. Apple actually changed the way linking credit cards to the App Store worked to make it harder for small children to accidentally rack up multi-thousand dollar credit card bills on their parents' phones because of that incident.

My heart always sinks when i read about regulation. Now let me be clear, I am not opposed to what they are trying to achieve, I just don't think it is an effective or well thought out approach. In my opinion the law is at it's best when it is simple, i.e. it draws a clear dividing line between right and wrong. In instances of micro-regulation such as this it only serves to clutter the production process with bureaucracy which ultimately drives up development costs and in the end only serves as a real barrier to small developers who might want to use a f-2-p title as their first foray into commercial games development. Large scale producers such as King, with armies of lawyers, are always miles ahead of this kind of move, and are always ready to sidestep such measures through legal loopholes or outright obscurification of practice.

To be honest with you, I've been hoping the US would get on board with some things like this. I'd also like to see the government crack down on online gambling through MMOs and the like. In general it seems like more and more MMOs are embracing an asia-inspired "chance box" system where when they add new content to the game, anything worth having is put in as the prize in a random number generator, and you basically wind up paying $1 or more for every chance at taking a spin. Oftentimes dressed up as a lockbox dropping as loot, but which you require a key bought for real money in order to open. It was cute the first time I saw it, and I figure "ah well, they need to make money somehow, new expansions are expensive and a raffle to raise money with online prizes is no big thing" but now it's continuous and I have a hard time finding ANY games that don't participate in this nonsense. I mean it's one thing to sell someone an item outright but when you want people in an MMO to gamble for it? I did it myself before I realized how obnoxious it was going to get, but I'm increasingly getting to the point where they can pretty much fuck right off with it since I see games that don't seem to be having any real financial problems in funding their content doing it (yes Cryptic, I love your games, I've bought keys from you, but your going too far with it now).

Now you can say that this isn't real gambling, but I have to say the line is blurred when you can exchange in-game currencies for real money (whether the company supports it or not). To put things into perspective in a game like say Neverwinter the cost of Astral Diamonds per Zen is roughly at a rate of 350 to 1 (though it fluctuates). You buy 1000 Zen for $10, so your looking at 350000 Astral Diamonds roughly having a value of about $10. There are sites out there that sell Astral Diamonds for real money, they will generally buy them for about half that and then sell for 75% to undercut the value. Similar breakdowns can happen with the dilithium exchange in Star Trek Online, but get more complicated because unlike Neverwinter items can be sold via their exchange for Energy Credits as well, which means another non-premium currency gets involved. The thing is that some of these very rare items wind up having what amounts to a real world value, because they can be reliably exchanged for millions upon millions of Astral Diamonds, which have a value based on the value of the premium currency, which can in turn be traded to farmers for real cash. Depending on the drop rate of an item, you have people already figuring out how many boxes on average a person is likely to need to open before it becomes profitable based on the exchange rates, not to mention the timing of things based on the market and wanting to sell big ticket items while there are still relatively few of them in circulation to get the best possible deal in order to exchange it for real money (with the diamonds them resold by the diamond seller for real
money at a somewhat higher rate, and ultimately taking most of the risk).... so basically it becomes akin to real gambling and a real business which has very real effects on the game. Albeit in Neverwinter in particular this problem manifests in other ways as well, if an artifact called "Shard Of Valindra's Crown" drops it's previously held prices akin to $200 worth of ADs which means you could turn it into half that much in real money easily. Needless to say it's lead to a lot of drama with people getting kicked from groups so they couldn't roll on it and such. It's also why I have yet to run Valindra's Castle, I'd like to, but as I typically PUG (as a tank, as opposed to a mage which is odd for me) the horror stories have generally kept me away.

The point here is that it's nice to see the UK looking into online games and real money, and truthfully I think other countries need to do the same, but at the same time they ALSO need to broaden things as well. I'm mostly mentioning this because while I spend a decent chunk of money on FTP games, it would take me months to spend $300, but I've actually run into a couple of people spending that much on keys not because they could afford it for fun, or because they wanted some extra-cool ship to play with (you know, like the biggest fan of Voyager's Voth in the world, who must have the ship set, already having made a custom alien a year ago to look just like one... this being like the ultimate climax of his personal fandom... STO in particular has people like this, and it's not what I'm talking about) but because they fell behind playing the exchange game and are hoping for some luck with rare items to catch up and make their money back or at least break even... just like a real gambler. This is by the way why on some exchanges you'll see one particular character at times apparently selling 10 of the ultimate lockbox prize (although in some cases that's some dude buying out the lower priced ones to try and corner the market... playing MMORPG markets and decimating their economies is annoying, but not something for RL legal action).

It's nice that they actualy started to take an interest in this practice. But I'm sorry to say, this all sounds too old and antiquated to me. The problem has allready been sidesteped by most of the big offenders. All this legislation is aiming at is removing the advertising from games and the moments when money MUST be used to progres, even though the game was advertised as free. In esence this is a LABELING and ADVERTISING law, as oposed to a law that would forbid such predatory practices as most in-app purchases are. They want those practices labeled, not removed. Sorry for sinking your boats, but Trexels will still require weeks of grinding to progress (unless you fork-out cash), Dungeon Keeper stays the same only now the advertising for in-app purchases gets toned down and the game is labeled as "money can be used to progress faster". And even IF they say "free to play mmo games must not offer paying customers unfair advantages over non-paying customers" you want to know how this is a;;ready side-steped? Any World of Tanks veteran will tell you: you make every premium item available for normal in-game currency and just set absurdly high prices for it. So you can say to the lawyers: "Everyone can buy it whether they pay us money or not" but in truth those not paying need to grind several hours or days for just 10-15 premium shells. To put it in perspective some tanks have upwards of 100 shell capacity.

IMO what needs to happen is this: they make a law that states "No item purchasable with real money either directly or indirectly should have any major effect on the gameplay balance" THERE! PROBLEM FUCKING SOLVED. Tank painting and decals and logo pictures? Yeah sure. Gold auto-pen ammo? NO! Costumes for your character in an mmo? Ok, go for it. Stat boosts, some uber sets, legendary weapons? NO! Decorative items for your dungeon or starship? Here is my money. Special curency needed to progres, premium rooms and any other such bs? NO NO NO!

jus my 2 cents on the issue. Of course by the time these old farts rulling us wake up to this it will allready be to late and the major problems would have evolved to a new stage. This is how it's allways been: they try treating the illness only after it has allready mutated to be imune to their treatment. Comopanies keep skirting the law and fucking the consumer, the law-makers get good rep for trying to fix the problem and killing some of the weaker small guys, the consumer keeps getting dicked but now he is happy because they added some lube. And don't fucking tell me big companies don't pay good cash for the law to allways be some 5 years behind them, because i will laugh at your ignorance. There is reason the word lobbying (aka fancy and legal way of bribing) exists!

Well it sounds like they are trying to combat the extortionist Pay2Win model.

However with lawyers being so hung up on exact wording, and no companies being stupid enough to actually label their F2P Pay2Win, I think this might need a bit of revision before it gets ratified.

Excellent!

More consumers protection is a good thing. Make it a little harder for those bastards.

this would just affect members of the EU and most likely the EEA-treaty, not all countries in Europe...

Good stuff tho, glad to see they're clamping down on bullshit-advertisement.

About damn TIME! finally somebody is doing something about this mess of a business model. After trying a few free to play games on the iphone I now avoid them like the plague.

I wish that they would regulate "paid" games on the appstore to have NO micro transaction AT ALL, because most of them are money cheats. You paid you get in game money. And alot of developers are designing their games around this system which ultimately destroys their games because it directly affects the game's balance.

Imagine them while testing their games: "hmmm punching that guy 20 times while using skills seems balance and fun....but we wouldn't make any money that way........let's make a glove that sell for $1 that does that while in default you have to punch him 100 times." <---- this is basically how all free to play games are right now, broken.

This business model shit! just charge us fairly, honestly and out right like it always been and be done with it.

TallanKhan:
My heart always sinks when i read about regulation. Now let me be clear, I am not opposed to what they are trying to achieve, I just don't think it is an effective or well thought out approach. In my opinion the law is at it's best when it is simple, i.e. it draws a clear dividing line between right and wrong. In instances of micro-regulation such as this it only serves to clutter the production process with bureaucracy which ultimately drives up development costs and in the end only serves as a real barrier to small developers who might want to use a f-2-p title as their first foray into commercial games development. Large scale producers such as King, with armies of lawyers, are always miles ahead of this kind of move, and are always ready to sidestep such measures through legal loopholes or outright obscurification of practice.

In other news, regulation often works when it manages to successfully put the greater interests above the corporate interests.

The nations with well regulated banks fared off a lot better economically than those with deregulated banks, for instance.

Moreover, if your argument is 'Some companies will find ways around the regulations, so don't put in regulations' you've made the exact same argument as 'some people don't get caught stealing cars, so stealing cars shouldn't be illegal.' It's a nonstarter of an argument.

DracoSuave:

TallanKhan:
My heart always sinks when i read about regulation. Now let me be clear, I am not opposed to what they are trying to achieve, I just don't think it is an effective or well thought out approach. In my opinion the law is at it's best when it is simple, i.e. it draws a clear dividing line between right and wrong. In instances of micro-regulation such as this it only serves to clutter the production process with bureaucracy which ultimately drives up development costs and in the end only serves as a real barrier to small developers who might want to use a f-2-p title as their first foray into commercial games development. Large scale producers such as King, with armies of lawyers, are always miles ahead of this kind of move, and are always ready to sidestep such measures through legal loopholes or outright obscurification of practice.

In other news, regulation often works when it manages to successfully put the greater interests above the corporate interests.

The nations with well regulated banks fared off a lot better economically than those with deregulated banks, for instance.

Moreover, if your argument is 'Some companies will find ways around the regulations, so don't put in regulations' you've made the exact same argument as 'some people don't get caught stealing cars, so stealing cars shouldn't be illegal.' It's a nonstarter of an argument.

To start with i dispute your assertion that countries with supposedly "well regulated banks" fared better than those without. While you have not specified your frame of reference for this comment I am assuming you are talking about during and post the 2008 financial crisis?

Before looking at this you have to remember that generally speaking, countries with less banking regulation generally have larger financial sectors as a percentage of the overall economy. As such these countries would be disproportionately affected by a downturn in overall global financial sector, regardless of the strength of the individual sector within that country.

However, even putting this aside, it is easy to evidence that your assertion is incorrect. France for example has some of the most extensive banking regulation in the world, even to the point of some quite restrictive practices relating to how people are allowed to manage their own money. However, France's overall economy and in particular it's financial services sector has been among the worst performing in western Europe for the past five years.

Hong Kong on the other hand has the least regulated banking sector of any developed economy. The past five years have barely represented a speed-bump for Hong Kong, with its growth outstripping that of mainland China.

If you wanted a further example the U.S has considerably more extensive banking regulation (not to mention a much more punitive system of enforcement) than the UK does. However, even adjusting for the relative size of the U.S compared to the UK, the U.S. had to pump far more money into supporting their financial system as it was in considerably worse shape.

Now, for your example of people not being caught stealing a car. The comparison you draw is non-sensical, I was not talking about someone breaking a law and getting away with it. I was stating that the regulation will be ineffective because companies will legally avoid them, while adding additional cost which will be recovered from the end user and making things disproportionately difficult and costly for smaller players in the market.

Now don't misunderstand me. I am not opposed to restriction per se, and I am immensely sympathetic to the goals of this regulation. However, I genuinely don't believe it will be effective. To achieve something like this effectively, rather than drawing up a regulatory framework what is actually required is a very simple piece of legislation. Rather than standard setting and instructing companies how to label/sell their products simply introduce a law that states a digital purchase is only valid if there is reasonable expectation that the person making the purchase had an understanding of what they were agreeing to and the cost incurred. Companies would scramble to sort themselves out lest they fall foul of lawsuits and the processes would be much tighter because there is far less wriggle room when things are black and white.

The really ironic thing is that 90% of this is already covered under existing legal provisions in most countries it just needs tying up in a single clear directive.

Let me give you an example of where legislation in this vein has been effective as opposed to wider regulation. In the UK a piece of legislation was passed requiring all restaurants to display or make available at request the calories in their dishes. As a result if you walk into a branch of burger king or KFC you can look at their price list on the wall and right their next to each product is the Kcal figure for the dish. Yes there is usually a note at the bottom of the poster which explains the given figure assumes you opt for the diet drink with your meal, but overall, this is hugely effective and allows people to better understand what they eat.

Now if we look at rood retail in the UK the picture is very different. For retail there is a complex regulatory framework developed and enforced by the Food Standards Agency. Under this scheme all products must have their full nutritional information printed on their packaging, and there are dozens of rules relating to how this information must be presented, all of which is designed so that people should be able to accurately compare what they are buying. Unfortunately it is this complexity which it this systems flaw, the extent of the regulations have allowed large corporates to find loopholes. If you ever find yourself in the UK, walk into your nearest supermarket and pick up three comparable products, chances are you will find one gives you the nutritional information per 100g, one will give you per recommended portion size, and one will give you per pack. Without a calculator it can be impossible to make an effective comparison.

TallanKhan:
Unfortunately it is this complexity which it this systems flaw, the extent of the regulations have allowed large corporates to find loopholes.

Well, fortunately, there's only three options to look at, and thus the situations are easy to sort out.

1--Same regulations
2--Less regulations
3--More regulations

Same regulations---Well, the problem is as it is now IS a problem. The industry is NOT in a good state. Something has to be done, and having it police itself has not been effective, nor have app providers such as Apple, Steam, etc. done much to curtail the more predatory practices--they still make their bank and they're not interested in being police.

Less regulation won't make these companies better, they'll just save money on legal fees they won't have to pay because previously illegal acts are now legal.

That leaves more regulation as the only remaining course. The question remains what do you make contraband, how do you determine it, and what will be the standard of judgement.

DracoSuave:

TallanKhan:
Unfortunately it is this complexity which it this systems flaw, the extent of the regulations have allowed large corporates to find loopholes.

Well, fortunately, there's only three options to look at, and thus the situations are easy to sort out.

1--Same regulations
2--Less regulations
3--More regulations

Same regulations---Well, the problem is as it is now IS a problem. The industry is NOT in a good state. Something has to be done, and having it police itself has not been effective, nor have app providers such as Apple, Steam, etc. done much to curtail the more predatory practices--they still make their bank and they're not interested in being police.

Less regulation won't make these companies better, they'll just save money on legal fees they won't have to pay because previously illegal acts are now legal.

That leaves more regulation as the only remaining course. The question remains what do you make contraband, how do you determine it, and what will be the standard of judgement.

Much in the same way square pegs won't go through round holes regulation will never solve these problems. Whether you use more, less, or the same number of pegs is irrelevant. You have simply reiterated one of the most common conceits in politics, the idea that "It would be good to do something about situation X, this is something, therefore doing it is good".

You've also made a claim, which if true, actually show regulation WORKS.

You claimed that some companies will find loopholes around the regulations. This has two corollaries:

1) Some companies won't bother trying to defy the regulations. Already the regulation has done its job!
2) Some companies will find defying the regulations to be more costly, thus increasing the costs of doing business outside regulation. This will act as a dissuader to many companies to defying the regulations who find they can reduce costs more by adhering to regulation than they will gain in revenue gain by evading them.
3) The few companies that are left will find loopholes in the regulation, and in doing so and challenging the regulation will identify the loopholes, which will cause changes in the regulations to close them.

I can understand if you live in a country where government doesn't get shit done where regulation can lead to corruption instead of adherence, but most countries that pass these sorts of laws actually want to maximize adherence to these laws and so will change them as weaknesses are exposed.

So to sum up the fallacies in your argument:

1--You presuppose no companies will adhere to regulation due to a lack of desire to challenge laws.
2--You offer that there is a cost to non-adherence but do not admit that non-adherence costs are inherently a deterrent to non-adherence
3--You presuppose that regulations cannot be changed to close loopholes.

Therumancer:
Oftentimes dressed up as a lockbox dropping as loot, but which you require a key bought for real money in order to open. It was cute the first time I saw it, and I figure "ah well, they need to make money somehow, new expansions are expensive and a raffle to raise money with online prizes is no big thing" but now it's continuous and I have a hard time finding ANY games that don't participate in this nonsense.

wait, they still do that? the last time i encountered it my reaction was "yeah your not letting me open my loot im uninstalling this game now". Then again ive been skipping on MMOs lately as i found two that i like and sticked to them.

XDSkyFreak:

IMO what needs to happen is this: they make a law that states "No item purchasable with real money either directly or indirectly should have any major effect on the gameplay balance" THERE! PROBLEM FUCKING SOLVED. Tank painting and decals and logo pictures? Yeah sure. Gold auto-pen ammo? NO!

Ah, a fellow tanker i see, i think first of all they should fix the economy so a supervictory in a tier 10 wouldnt result in a negative net income at least. but WG has been slowly going away from magic gold only ammo. gold items are now almost fully pruchasable via ingame money, and gold ammo is not magical anymore and can and do bounce. Im going by perfectly fine without them (except clan wars of course, but i dont participate in those anymore for time being).

llagrok:
this would just affect members of the EU and most likely the EEA-treaty, not all countries in Europe...

which is whole europe except Russian control zone. And with what is happening in Ukraine lately it does not seem like a good idea to regulate these things atm, they have more pressing matters.

llagrok:
this would just affect members of the EU and most likely the EEA-treaty, not all countries in Europe...

Good stuff tho, glad to see they're clamping down on bullshit-advertisement.

Well, truth be told, non-members of the EU/EEA are quite rare in Europe. I mean, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and that's about it. And several of those have EU aspirations...

I kind of wish someone would jump on Paypal before all of this stuff. One would think that'd be much easier, no? A business behaving as a bank that isn't regulated as a bank? Slam-dunk.

 

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