Google Europe to End Calling Microtransaction Titles "Free"

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Google Europe to End Calling Microtransaction Titles "Free"

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Google Play games that have in-app purchases will now also require payment verification before each purchase.

We've all dealt with the frustration of free games that aren't actually free, and usually pretty much require players to drop some real-world cash in the form of microtransactions in order to make any real progress, and the European Commission feels our pain. The commission has laid out a series of guidelines concerning "free" mobile games, mostly in the interests of protecting children from racking up huge credit-card bills, and Google has happily obliged.

By the end of September, Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase. For now, these changes only apply to European versions of the Google Play store, but it may eventually apply to the store's other regional variants.

Apple also agreed to make some changes of its own at the commission's request, but, much to the commission's disapproval, it hasn't agreed to any specific actions or any time line. In defense, it said it already does "more than others" to protect consumers from in-app purchases.

The new guidelines state that games advertised as free should en devour to not mislead consumers about their true costs, that games don't directly ask children to make in-app purchasers, that games make it very clear about how these payments are made, and that games provide an email address that consumers can raise queries with.

"In-app purchases are a legitimate business model," EC vice president Neelie Kroes says, "but it's essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models."

Source: The Verge

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About frigging time, some of the worst titles don't even deserve to be called games let alone 'free'.

At least, with Android, you can work out some... alternative solutions to the payment options.

i am very happy about the need for verification each purchase. my sistem often misclicks on the "special money" items in games and some games are so agressive in trying to sell you then that the only reason she does not end up buying them is because i blocked that access (shes 6, dont have account of her own yet). She understands the concept and know to avoid these items, but they are not always as obviuos as they should be.

capcha(after telling me i entered wrong one): a wild capcha appears!

I think its making fun of me now.

Hopefully this will at least slow the growth of that horrible practice by letting the user identify the honeypot "game" before it's even downloaded.

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

Strazdas:
i am very happy about the need for verification each purchase. my sistem often misclicks on the "special money" items in games and some games are so agressive in trying to sell you then that the only reason she does not end up buying them is because i blocked that access (shes 6, dont have account of her own yet). She understands the concept and know to avoid these items, but they are not always as obviuos as they should be.

capcha(after telling me i entered wrong one): a wild capcha appears!

I think its making fun of me now.

Strazzy, one question. How does a game even start charging you without information to siphon currency from?

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

Frostnatt:

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

Fancy Pants:

Frostnatt:

Fancy Pants:
This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

"Here's a game for free. Oh you did everything possible for now? Wait 24 yours of give us some money!"
Yea... Free.

vonSanneck:

Fancy Pants:

Frostnatt:

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

"Here's a game for free. Oh you did everything possible for now? Wait 24 yours of give us some money!"
Yea... Free.

Being a shit game and being made easier or better with money doesn't mean it can't be free, though.

Fancy Pants:

vonSanneck:

Fancy Pants:
I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

"Here's a game for free. Oh you did everything possible for now? Wait 24 yours of give us some money!"
Yea... Free.

Being a shit game and being made easier or better with money doesn't mean it can't be free, though.

That's not free though. At best, it's a free trial or demo of the actual game, which you can only access by paying money.

Ark of the Covetor:

Fancy Pants:

vonSanneck:

"Here's a game for free. Oh you did everything possible for now? Wait 24 yours of give us some money!"
Yea... Free.

Being a shit game and being made easier or better with money doesn't mean it can't be free, though.

That's not free though. At best, it's a free trial or demo of the actual game, which you can only access by paying money.

If the game puts a hard stop up and says no, you can't play more than this one level without paying, then sure, that's a demo and the game is not free. But only being able to do a level a day or some such thing is still free.

I'm not arguing these are good things or that I wish to support them. I just find it odd that something that does let you access all of it, albeit slowly, can't be called free.

Halle-fucking-lujah. I hate false marketing.

Rufus Shinra:
At least, with Android, you can work out some... alternative solutions to the payment options.

Android is not a fully closed platform. With the move to functionality more like PCs there is also a movie towards modability. Most F2P games on the PC are multiplayer based and even then the best examples push the model more lightly. Why? Well because of, not really piracy, but content modding. If Dungeon keeper mobile was on the PC people would simply mod the content files to get around the waiting as the game as little or no online functionality beyond being a store front.

Android users are getting more savvy; there are going to be mods and cracks for more and more games with more and more people using them to bypass this crap. The free to wait model only works if you completely eliminate a user's ability to fix your game. Hopefully the balance of power will shift back into the hands of users.

Many people decry this as 'piracy' but when you have content locked off in an artificial way in any sense you open yourself up to being ripped apart.

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

**Rolls eyes** yes because consumer labeling and protection is always health and safety gone mad. This mentality towards consumer projection is baffling. This is for our benefit and plugs gaps in our laws.

I have some experience with consumer product labeling and advertising regulation in the UK and EU and if someone advertised a physical product or service as "Free" and then used that as merely a shell to try and get you to pay they would fall foul of consumer protection laws. It would be singled out as a con. I HATE the weaseling "Well technically if you wait 7 days and grind the same item every 15 minutes to progress it's technically free" No. It is in no way free. The experience you get as a free player in no way reflects a full experience and is out of line with the word "Free". The term is merely a means to an end to get users to download your store-front. The game makers only make you able to progress at all as a thin fig-leaf against being regulated and brought into line with what everyone else has to do.

Games like cash of clans, Dungeon keeper mobile, the fucking surfs game and Candy Crush take every opportunity to trick, frustrate and cajole the player into paying. We have consumer projection laws for a reason. It's so con-men can't get away with swindling people. These games function in a dishonest way that no other industry or sector would get away with. This is merely the existing spirit of the law catching up to digital products.

Scrumpmonkey:

Rufus Shinra:
At least, with Android, you can work out some... alternative solutions to the payment options.

Android is not a fully closed platform. With the move to functionality more like PCs there is also a movie towards modability. Most F2P games on the PC are multiplayer based and even then the best examples push the model more lightly. Why? Well because of, not really piracy, but content modding. If Dungeon keeper mobile was on the PC people would simply mod the content files to get around the waiting as the game as little or no online functionality beyond being a store front.

Android users are getting more savvy; there are going to be mods and cracks for more and more games with more and more people using them to bypass this crap. The free to wait model only works if you completely eliminate a user's ability to fix your game. Hopefully the balance of power will shift back into the hands of users.

Many people decry this as 'piracy' but when you have content locked off in an artificial way in any sense you open yourself up to being ripped apart.

Yep, this is what I was talking about and what I did with my MLP Android game. Not going to pay dozens of euros for Celestia, thank you very much.

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

**Rolls eyes** yes because consumer labeling and protection is always health and safety gone mad. This mentality towards consumer projection is baffling. This is for our benefit and plugs gaps in our laws.

I have some experience with consumer product labeling and advertising regulation in the UK and EU and if someone advertised a physical product or service as "Free" and then used that as merely a shell to try and get you to pay they would fall foul of consumer protection laws. It would be singled out as a con. I HATE the weaseling "Well technically if you wait 7 days and grind the same item every 15 minutes to progress it's technically free" No. It is in no way free. The experience you get as a free player in no way reflects a full experience and is out of line with the word "Free". The term is merely a means to an end to get users to download your store-front. The game makers only make you able to progress at all as a thin fig-leaf against being regulated and brought into line with what everyone else has to do.

Games like cash of clans, Dungeon keeper mobile, the fucking surfs game and Candy Crush take every opportunity to trick, frustrate and cajole the player into paying. We have consumer projection laws for a reason. It's so con-men can't get away with swindling people. These games function in a dishonest way that no other industry or sector would get away with. This is merely the existing spirit of the law catching up to digital products.

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

Fancy Pants:

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:
This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

**Rolls eyes** yes because consumer labeling and protection is always health and safety gone mad. This mentality towards consumer projection is baffling. This is for our benefit and plugs gaps in our laws.

I have some experience with consumer product labeling and advertising regulation in the UK and EU and if someone advertised a physical product or service as "Free" and then used that as merely a shell to try and get you to pay they would fall foul of consumer protection laws. It would be singled out as a con. I HATE the weaseling "Well technically if you wait 7 days and grind the same item every 15 minutes to progress it's technically free" No. It is in no way free. The experience you get as a free player in no way reflects a full experience and is out of line with the word "Free". The term is merely a means to an end to get users to download your store-front. The game makers only make you able to progress at all as a thin fig-leaf against being regulated and brought into line with what everyone else has to do.

Games like cash of clans, Dungeon keeper mobile, the fucking surfs game and Candy Crush take every opportunity to trick, frustrate and cajole the player into paying. We have consumer projection laws for a reason. It's so con-men can't get away with swindling people. These games function in a dishonest way that no other industry or sector would get away with. This is merely the existing spirit of the law catching up to digital products.

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

Unfortunately all to many 'games' don't even meet your standards of playability, let alone most average people.

There is a reason the gambling terminology of 'whales' is creeping into the verancular of these peddlers.

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

I see your point. I disagree, but I see where you're coming from.

Thing is, as with all good things in life, Google is now putting into motions the consequences that will effect all games, wether their business strategy is fair or not, because some companies just did not want to play fair.

Now all F2P games will suffer because EA and all the other scum could not restrain themselves.

Citizen Graves:

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

I see your point. I disagree, but I see where you're coming from.

Thing is, as with all good things in life, Google is now putting into motions the consequences that will effect all games, wether their business strategy is fair or not, because some companies just did not want to play fair.

Now all F2P games will suffer because EA and all the other scum could not restrain themselves.

EA owns the Old Republic MMO I love a lot and do in fact put a lot of money into (hundreds of dollars, probably). Hmmm.

Ed130 The Vanguard:

Fancy Pants:

Scrumpmonkey:

**Rolls eyes** yes because consumer labeling and protection is always health and safety gone mad. This mentality towards consumer projection is baffling. This is for our benefit and plugs gaps in our laws.

I have some experience with consumer product labeling and advertising regulation in the UK and EU and if someone advertised a physical product or service as "Free" and then used that as merely a shell to try and get you to pay they would fall foul of consumer protection laws. It would be singled out as a con. I HATE the weaseling "Well technically if you wait 7 days and grind the same item every 15 minutes to progress it's technically free" No. It is in no way free. The experience you get as a free player in no way reflects a full experience and is out of line with the word "Free". The term is merely a means to an end to get users to download your store-front. The game makers only make you able to progress at all as a thin fig-leaf against being regulated and brought into line with what everyone else has to do.

Games like cash of clans, Dungeon keeper mobile, the fucking surfs game and Candy Crush take every opportunity to trick, frustrate and cajole the player into paying. We have consumer projection laws for a reason. It's so con-men can't get away with swindling people. These games function in a dishonest way that no other industry or sector would get away with. This is merely the existing spirit of the law catching up to digital products.

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

Unfortunately all to many 'games' don't even meet your standards of playability, let alone most average people.

There is a reason the gambling terminology of 'whales' is creeping into the verancular of these peddlers.

There are genuinely games that bad? Really? Wow. I consider my rules, as they were, pretty fair, so if you manage to fail even them, you need to take a step back and maybe rethink what you are contributing to society.

Fancy Pants:

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

I don't really care if 'you're not feeling it' the reality on the ground is that "Could be free" =/= Free. Giving people lots of hoops to jump through and trying to force them to pay negates their right to call anything 'free'. Consumer projection law already covers instances like this for all other non digital goods. That is one of the best things about manufacturing and trading in Europe; the standards in place are very high. the UK ASA and the EU commission have finally brought the rules and the law into the 21st century and they have given a resounding thumbs down to companies like EA or Zynga or Supercell mislabeling their games.

Perhaps you need to look up consumer projection laws because the pathetic defense of "Well i COULD argue it is free" hasn't help up for decades. Imagine if a company advertised a hair-dyer as 'free' but it cut-out after 20 seconds and demanded 15 or it wouldn't function for the next 24 hours. They wouldn't be allowed under existing rules to practice like that and call their product 'free'. Sure you COULD dry your hair for free with it, i mean it would be difficult but you COULD do it.

Trading law sees through tissue thin defenses like that. You're technicality does not work. You can't get around consumer projection law like that. That's why it exists. "Free to play" is a Euphemism. When you are dealing with customers you can't talk in eupamhsims. It's clear as day under existing laws governing physical goods that, when applied to digital ones, adverting a monetized product as "Free" is illegal. It simply just is.

Things you need to look up:

UK trading standard laws
EU trading standards laws
"The spirit of the law" as well as "The letter of the law" and how that is applied.
The various tests and measures EU and UK law uses to discover if a practice is deceptive or misleading.

I've had experience working within UK and EU directives on products and servicing. I had to learn about them and a working knowledge is essential to any kind of manufacturing and selling operation. There are specific and stringent rules governeing what you can and can't label and labeling something as "FREE" carries with it a whole raft of measures you must live up to as not to be seen to be misleading a customer.

The words you put on a spanner, a washing machine or a video-game are legally tested and constitute legal language. Your product descripition is tantamount to a ontract bewtwen you and the buyer that what you are saying is accuare. Here let me just quote the actual law at you since you don't seem to get it:

"Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, all products must be 'fit for purpose', be of satisfactory quality and fit its description. This means that your products must fulfill the purpose the customer has been led to expect and the reasons that led them to buy it."

These laws were drawn up before digital products existed. These digital products existed in some kind of wild west outside of this law because they were new. Now they are simply having to abide by the law, which if they were a PHYSICAL product they would have fallen foul of decades ago. Look at my example of the physical product. That would fall foul of almost every part of the law, especially the "Fit for purpose" clause. Digital products must now abide by similar rules.

Fancy Pants:

Frostnatt:

Fancy Pants:
This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

Yea, but they aren't called "Free to Obtain" though, now are they? They are called "Free to Play", which just isn't the case. And before we go in to technicalities, let's define what "play" actually mean:

Play
verb (used without object)
to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation.
to do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously.
to amuse oneself; toy; trifle (often followed by with).
to take part or engage in a game.
to take part in a game for stakes; gamble.

And, most (not all) "free to play" games seems to be quite far of the mark in most applicable descriptions of the word without putting in at least some money. Either way, you void one of the definitions: Free if you pay or Play if you don't.

Simple really, the term "Free to Play" is a lie.

Fancy Pants:
EA owns the Old Republic MMO I love a lot and do in fact put a lot of money into (hundreds of dollars, probably). Hmmm.

I was thinking more along the lines of Dungeon Keeper Mobile, rather than typical MMORPG business practice (which, frankly, I can't comment on because I have never played an MMORPG in my life).

However, I have sunk considerable amounts of cash into Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and I regret it to this day. Live and learn, I guess.

Captcha: knock at the door

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

I don't really care if 'you're not feeling it' the reality on the ground is that "Could be free" =/= Free. Giving people lots of hoops to jump through and trying to force them to pay negates their right to call anything 'free'. Consumer projection law already covers instances like this for all other non digital goods. That is one of the best things about manufacturing and trading in Europe; the standards in place are very high. the UK ASA and the EU commission have finally brought the rules and the law into the 21st century and they have given a resounding thumbs down to companies like EA or Zynga or Supercell mislabeling their games.

Perhaps you need to look up consumer projection laws because the pathetic defense of "Well i COULD argue it is free" hasn't help up for decades. Imagine if a company advertised a hair-dyer as 'free' but it cut-out after 20 seconds and demanded 15 or it wouldn't function for the next 24 hours. They wouldn't be allowed under existing rules to practice like that and call their product 'free'. Sure you COULD dry your hair for free with it, i mean it would be difficult but you COULD do it.

Trading law sees through tissue thin defenses like that. You're technicality does not work. You can't get around consumer projection law like that. That's why it exists. "Free to play" is a Euphemism. When you are dealing with customers you can't talk in eupamhsims. It's clear as day under existing laws governing physical goods that, when applied to digital ones, adverting a monetized product as "Free" is illegal. It simply just is.

Things you need to look up:

UK trading standard laws
EU trading standards laws
"The spirit of the law" as well as "The letter of the law" and how that is applied.
The various tests and measures EU and UK law uses to discover if a practice is deceptive or misleading.

I've had experience working within UK and EU directives on products and servicing. I had to learn about them and a working knowledge is essential to any kind of manufacturing and selling operation. There are specific and stringent rules governeing what you can and can't label and labeling something as "FREE" carries with it a whole raft of measures you must live up to as not to be seen to be misleading a customer.

The words you put on a spanner, a washing machine or a video-game are legally tested and constitute legal language. Your product descripition is tantamount to a ontract bewtwen you and the buyer that what you are saying is accuare. Here let me just quote the actual law at you since you don't seem to get it:

"Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, all products must be 'fit for purpose', be of satisfactory quality and fit its description. This means that your products must fulfill the purpose the customer has been led to expect and the reasons that led them to buy it."

These laws were drawn up before digital products existed. These digital products existed in some kind of wild west outside of this law because they were new. Now they are simply having to abide by the law, which if they were a PHYSICAL product they would have fallen foul of decades ago. Look at my example of the physical product. That would fall foul of almost every part of the law, especially the "Fit for purpose" clause. Digital products must now abide by similar rules.

That's a well constructed argument and you made your point well, but I simply don't agree with you. I think it's just one of those things were people don't see eye to eye. It's not because you didn't make a solid argument, I just don't agree with it.

To me, a free game doesn't really have to do anything. It's free. You don't pay for it, so if you don't like it, you don't play it any more. I don't really see how anyone can care that something given to them for free is not free to play the amount they want of it. That's just me.

Joos:

Fancy Pants:

Frostnatt:

It's more like someone selling you a cup of coffee without the cup (and no you cant bring your own)... The problem is when games like this are designed to be almost impossible to play without microtransactions. It is one thing to have free to play games where you can buy items to customize your character, but free to play games like this is one tiny step from actually being a scam. With full disclosure of how the microstransactions work with the games internal economy most of the problems with it will go away.

I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

Yea, but they aren't called "Free to Obtain" though, now are they? They are called "Free to Play", which just isn't the case. And before we go in to technicalities, let's define what "play" actually mean:

Play
verb (used without object)
to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation.
to do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously.
to amuse oneself; toy; trifle (often followed by with).
to take part or engage in a game.
to take part in a game for stakes; gamble.

And, most (not all) "free to play" games seems to be quite far of the mark in most applicable descriptions of the word without putting in at least some money. Either way, you void one of the definitions: Free if you pay or Play if you don't.

Simple really, the term "Free to Play" is a lie.

Could you show me an example of a game that is marketed as free but doesn't allow the player to play with it? You seem to be confusing limitless play with the ability to play with it at all.

Fancy Pants:

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:

I'm not feeling it. As I said in a comment after the one you quoted, if we are talking about a game that locks you out of large portions of the experience without paying and giving you no other options, then yeah, that's a demo and not a free game. But if the game can be reasonably played* without ever paying, then I don't see the problem. Not being able to play for more than an hour a day or having it take twice as long to finish doesn't make the game not free. It can be shitty, poorly made or greedy, but it can still be a free game.

*By reasonable I mean what a person could honestly and properly expect to gain from the experience without paying a cent. So locking the player out of the next level for a week at a time is not reasonable, but only being able to do a level a day would be, for example.

I don't really care if 'you're not feeling it' the reality on the ground is that "Could be free" =/= Free. Giving people lots of hoops to jump through and trying to force them to pay negates their right to call anything 'free'. Consumer projection law already covers instances like this for all other non digital goods. That is one of the best things about manufacturing and trading in Europe; the standards in place are very high. the UK ASA and the EU commission have finally brought the rules and the law into the 21st century and they have given a resounding thumbs down to companies like EA or Zynga or Supercell mislabeling their games.

Perhaps you need to look up consumer projection laws because the pathetic defense of "Well i COULD argue it is free" hasn't help up for decades. Imagine if a company advertised a hair-dyer as 'free' but it cut-out after 20 seconds and demanded 15 or it wouldn't function for the next 24 hours. They wouldn't be allowed under existing rules to practice like that and call their product 'free'. Sure you COULD dry your hair for free with it, i mean it would be difficult but you COULD do it.

Trading law sees through tissue thin defenses like that. You're technicality does not work. You can't get around consumer projection law like that. That's why it exists. "Free to play" is a Euphemism. When you are dealing with customers you can't talk in eupamhsims. It's clear as day under existing laws governing physical goods that, when applied to digital ones, adverting a monetized product as "Free" is illegal. It simply just is.

Things you need to look up:

UK trading standard laws
EU trading standards laws
"The spirit of the law" as well as "The letter of the law" and how that is applied.
The various tests and measures EU and UK law uses to discover if a practice is deceptive or misleading.

I've had experience working within UK and EU directives on products and servicing. I had to learn about them and a working knowledge is essential to any kind of manufacturing and selling operation. There are specific and stringent rules governeing what you can and can't label and labeling something as "FREE" carries with it a whole raft of measures you must live up to as not to be seen to be misleading a customer.

The words you put on a spanner, a washing machine or a video-game are legally tested and constitute legal language. Your product descripition is tantamount to a ontract bewtwen you and the buyer that what you are saying is accuare. Here let me just quote the actual law at you since you don't seem to get it:

"Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, all products must be 'fit for purpose', be of satisfactory quality and fit its description. This means that your products must fulfill the purpose the customer has been led to expect and the reasons that led them to buy it."

These laws were drawn up before digital products existed. These digital products existed in some kind of wild west outside of this law because they were new. Now they are simply having to abide by the law, which if they were a PHYSICAL product they would have fallen foul of decades ago. Look at my example of the physical product. That would fall foul of almost every part of the law, especially the "Fit for purpose" clause. Digital products must now abide by similar rules.

That's a well constructed argument and you made your point well, but I simply don't agree with you. I think it's just one of those things were people don't see eye to eye. It's not because you didn't make a solid argument, I just don't agree with it.

To me, a free game doesn't really have to do anything. It's free. You don't pay for it, so if you don't like it, you don't play it any more. I don't really see how anyone can care that something given to them for free is not free to play the amount they want of it. That's just me.

Joos:

Fancy Pants:
I get you, about some games requiring money to do more than, say, one minutes worth of play a day or what have you. But they are still actually free to obtain and you can play them without paying for anything.

I agree that full disclosure as to the nature of their limitations could be a good thing, but I find it strange to now allow companies to call their game free, when it actually is free. See where I'm coming from?

Captcha: captcha in the rye

Yea, but they aren't called "Free to Obtain" though, now are they? They are called "Free to Play", which just isn't the case. And before we go in to technicalities, let's define what "play" actually mean:

Play
verb (used without object)
to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation.
to do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously.
to amuse oneself; toy; trifle (often followed by with).
to take part or engage in a game.
to take part in a game for stakes; gamble.

And, most (not all) "free to play" games seems to be quite far of the mark in most applicable descriptions of the word without putting in at least some money. Either way, you void one of the definitions: Free if you pay or Play if you don't.

Simple really, the term "Free to Play" is a lie.

Could you show me an example of a game that is marketed as free but doesn't allow the player to play with it? You seem to be confusing limitless play with the ability to play with it at all.

Not at all. You seem to be confusing 'frustration-inducing' and 'paywall' with play.

The word play means that the game has been made to enjoy, not to induce a headache where the aspirin can only be obtained by plonking down cash. It is deceptive, immoral and a lie. Hopefully the rest of the world follows EU's suite, and this plague of "Free to Play" games will be history.

And that's really all I have to say on the subject. If you don't get it, well, I suppose you are entitles to your opinion.

Fancy Pants:

That's a well constructed argument and you made your point well, but I simply don't agree with you. I think it's just one of those things were people don't see eye to eye. It's not because you didn't make a solid argument, I just don't agree with it.

To me, a free game doesn't really have to do anything. It's free. You don't pay for it, so if you don't like it, you don't play it any more. I don't really see how anyone can care that something given to them for free is not free to play the amount they want of it. That's just me.

**Facedesk**

It's not what you think is free, it's about what the EU commission and what the labeling and trading laws says can be advertized as 'Free'. It's about labeling. They can still get people to download their games, no one is banning them or attaching warnings to them. As i've explained In painful detail the way you label something and advertise is subject to stringent legal checks. It's a technical function of the law. Yes they are free to download BUT the intent behind you downloading them is to pressure you into buying things. The game may be free to download but the actual play of it encourages and even stresses payment. Free is a powerful and loaded term, in marketing terms it really grabs people's attention and promises something for nothing. Using it as a snag for a model of timers and strong-arming them into micropayments is dishonest.

In the legal terms set out by the rules products must abide by they are saying that they can't be marketed as free, as this is misleading, because once you download the game there is great emphasis from many of these games on making you pay. Disagreeing with it is disagreeing with the entire premise of EU and UK labeling, selling and adverting law. Within their own framework F2P games have revoked their right to be called free.

It is of little consequence that you can download and get limited play for free; The law is recognizing that the intent behind these games is not to give you a free experience. It is to make you pay through in-app purchases. The fact that they have an in-game store that solicits real money is what makes the jump from "Fully free" to "Micro-payment based"

Surely you must see how the definition of "Free" is being eroded when a game like DKM can be listed alongside a game that has no payment model, that is fully 100% free, yet they can both label themselves as "Free". I think it is very important that actual free games are able to stand out. There HAS to be a labeling difference between them because there is a tangible product difference between a micro-paytment games and an actually FREE game.

In the legal world and in the world of consumer protection having confusing distinctions like two games being called "FREE" with one actually being fully free and the other one pushing time-out micro-payments and merely being a vehicle for a real-money store runs counter to what regulators want. it misleads the public.

Even if you just 'disagree' with all the other facts i have put forward you can't deny this: "A micro-transaction based game is different from a game that is completely free and does not include any in game or out-of-game real-money economy"

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:

That's a well constructed argument and you made your point well, but I simply don't agree with you. I think it's just one of those things were people don't see eye to eye. It's not because you didn't make a solid argument, I just don't agree with it.

To me, a free game doesn't really have to do anything. It's free. You don't pay for it, so if you don't like it, you don't play it any more. I don't really see how anyone can care that something given to them for free is not free to play the amount they want of it. That's just me.

**Facedesk**

It's not what you think is free, it's about what the EU commission and what the labeling and trading laws says can be advertized as 'Free'. It's about labeling. They can still get people to download their games, no one is banning them or attaching warnings to them. As i've explained In painful detail the way you label something and advertise is subject to stringent legal checks. It's a technical function of the law. Yes they are free to download BUT the intent behind you downloading them is to pressure you into buying things. The game may be free to download but the actual play of it encourages and even stresses payment. Free is a powerful and loaded term, in marketing terms it really grabs people's attention and promises something for nothing. Using it as a snag for a model of timers and strong-arming them into micropayments is dishonest.

In the legal terms set out by the rules products must abide by they are saying that they can't be marketed as free, as this is misleading, because once you download the game there is great emphasis from many of these games on making you pay. Disagreeing with it is disagreeing with the entire premise of EU and UK labeling, selling and adverting law. Within their own framework F2P games have revoked their right to be called free.

It is of little consequence that you can download and get limited play for free; The law is recognizing that the intent behind these games is not to give you a free experience. It is to make you pay through in-app purchases. The fact that they have an in-game store that solicits real money is what makes the jump from "Fully free" to "Micro-payment based"

Surely you must see how the definition of "Free" is being eroded when a game like DKM can be listed alongside a game that has no payment model, that is fully 100% free, yet they can both label themselves as "Free". I think it is very important that actual free games are able to stand out. There HAS to be a labeling difference between them because there is a tangible product difference between a micro-paytment games and an actually FREE game.

In the legal world and in the world of consumer protection having confusing distinctions like two games being called "FREE" with one actually being fully free and the other one pushing time-out micro-payments and merely being a vehicle for a real-money store runs counter to what regulators want. it misleads the public.

Even if you just 'disagree' with all the other facts i have put forward you can't deny this: "A micro-transaction based game is different from a game that is completely free and does not include any in game or out-of-game real-money economy"

A game that costs nothing and allows you to play it, but limits your play time each day unless you play it is free and should be labeled as such. Of course the people making it want you to give them money. But you don't have to and you can still play the game for free.

In your argument you stress it is a matter of advertising, but there is no distinction to be made. If a game can be obtained for free and you can play it without paying any money, it's free. I'd rather retain the seller's right to label something accurately, than I would make it harder for someone to suffer through finding out a game they got for free would be easier if they paid for it.

Fancy Pants:

Scrumpmonkey:

Fancy Pants:

That's a well constructed argument and you made your point well, but I simply don't agree with you. I think it's just one of those things were people don't see eye to eye. It's not because you didn't make a solid argument, I just don't agree with it.

To me, a free game doesn't really have to do anything. It's free. You don't pay for it, so if you don't like it, you don't play it any more. I don't really see how anyone can care that something given to them for free is not free to play the amount they want of it. That's just me.

**Facedesk**

It's not what you think is free, it's about what the EU commission and what the labeling and trading laws says can be advertized as 'Free'. It's about labeling. They can still get people to download their games, no one is banning them or attaching warnings to them. As i've explained In painful detail the way you label something and advertise is subject to stringent legal checks. It's a technical function of the law. Yes they are free to download BUT the intent behind you downloading them is to pressure you into buying things. The game may be free to download but the actual play of it encourages and even stresses payment. Free is a powerful and loaded term, in marketing terms it really grabs people's attention and promises something for nothing. Using it as a snag for a model of timers and strong-arming them into micropayments is dishonest.

In the legal terms set out by the rules products must abide by they are saying that they can't be marketed as free, as this is misleading, because once you download the game there is great emphasis from many of these games on making you pay. Disagreeing with it is disagreeing with the entire premise of EU and UK labeling, selling and adverting law. Within their own framework F2P games have revoked their right to be called free.

It is of little consequence that you can download and get limited play for free; The law is recognizing that the intent behind these games is not to give you a free experience. It is to make you pay through in-app purchases. The fact that they have an in-game store that solicits real money is what makes the jump from "Fully free" to "Micro-payment based"

Surely you must see how the definition of "Free" is being eroded when a game like DKM can be listed alongside a game that has no payment model, that is fully 100% free, yet they can both label themselves as "Free". I think it is very important that actual free games are able to stand out. There HAS to be a labeling difference between them because there is a tangible product difference between a micro-paytment games and an actually FREE game.

In the legal world and in the world of consumer protection having confusing distinctions like two games being called "FREE" with one actually being fully free and the other one pushing time-out micro-payments and merely being a vehicle for a real-money store runs counter to what regulators want. it misleads the public.

Even if you just 'disagree' with all the other facts i have put forward you can't deny this: "A micro-transaction based game is different from a game that is completely free and does not include any in game or out-of-game real-money economy"

A game that costs nothing and allows you to play it, but limits your play time each day unless you play it is free and should be labeled as such. Of course the people making it want you to give them money. But you don't have to and you can still play the game for free.

In your argument you stress it is a matter of advertising, but there is no distinction to be made. If a game can be obtained for free and you can play it without paying any money, it's free. I'd rather retain the seller's right to label something accurately, than I would make it harder for someone to suffer through finding out a game they got for free would be easier if they paid for it.

at the end of the day this, disagreement shall we call it, all comes down to how you are defining what the word free means. on the one side you have several regulatory bodies in europe and most of the people in this thread and on the other side you have you.

the thing with words in law, and to the same extent medicine, is you cant have ambiguity in what things mean. one word for one thing so there is no wiggle room no chance to be misled or deceived.

to go back to the last point made by monkey, you may persist that they should be able to call themselves free but a micro transaction based game is a different beast to a totally free game with no limits on what you can do in any given time frame.
before a game could be called free but with a massive asterisk after it listing all the times it was only kinna free and you had to do x, y and z to be able to play the game in a timely manner.

now they will have to list it differently. it will still give the consumer a clear picture of what it can do in its listing just instead of being listed as free it will be listed as micro transaction based or something along those lines. if anything a more apt description of the game as they were always in a kind of grey area where the title never gave a clear picture of its true nature.

Fancy Pants:
A game that costs nothing and allows you to play it, but limits your play time each day unless you play it is free and should be labeled as such. Of course the people making it want you to give them money. But you don't have to and you can still play the game for free.

In your argument you stress it is a matter of advertising, but there is no distinction to be made. If a game can be obtained for free and you can play it without paying any money, it's free. I'd rather retain the seller's right to label something accurately, than I would make it harder for someone to suffer through finding out a game they got for free would be easier if they paid for it.

I'd say calling these games free is like calling coke a lemon drink.

Just because it includes lemons (trace amounts) and is a drink doesn't quite make it a lemon drink.
Likewise, just because it contains free parts (trace amounts) and is a game doesn't quite make it a free game.

rodneyy:
at the end of the day this, disagreement shall we call it, all comes down to how you are defining what the word free means. on the one side you have several regulatory bodies in europe and most of the people in this thread and on the other side you have you.

Appeal to majority - a logical fallacy. Which you don't even have - see the entire rest of the world outside of Europe.

rodneyy:
the thing with words in law, and to the same extent medicine, is you cant have ambiguity in what things mean. one word for one thing so there is no wiggle room no chance to be misled or deceived.

Medicine and video games are not the same thing. Free medicine and free video game have vastly different implications.

rodneyy:
to go back to the last point made by monkey, you may persist that they should be able to call themselves free but a micro transaction based game is a different beast to a totally free game with no limits on what you can do in any given time frame.
before a game could be called free but with a massive asterisk after it listing all the times it was only kinna free and you had to do x, y and z to be able to play the game in a timely manner.

The fact that one game has the ability to spend money in it and one doesn't, does not change the fact that one is free.

rodneyy:
now they will have to list it differently. it will still give the consumer a clear picture of what it can do in its listing just instead of being listed as free it will be listed as micro transaction based or something along those lines. if anything a more apt description of the game as they were always in a kind of grey area where the title never gave a clear picture of its true nature.

Europe is asking a seller of a free product not call it free, because it gives you the option to pay them. Not exactly a stunning victory.

Fancy Pants:

Steven Bogos:
Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase.

This line confused me a little. Because a game that costs no money to acquire and play, but allows for in game purchases is still free, right?

I don't like a lot of what these free games do and the way they market themselves, but they are still free. Restrictive, limiting, asking for money they might all be, but free.

Hm. Although unrelated, it's starting to feel like the "caution, hot" warnings on coffee.

Yes they're technically free, but they aren't free in spirit. What Google is doing is separating games that aim to take money directly from users and games that make their money from advertising/are actually completely free and even without ads.

Joos:
Yea, but they aren't called "Free to Obtain" though, now are they? They are called "Free to Play", which just isn't the case. And before we go in to technicalities, let's define what "play" actually mean:

Play
verb (used without object)
to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation.
to do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously.
to amuse oneself; toy; trifle (often followed by with).
to take part or engage in a game.
to take part in a game for stakes; gamble.

And, most (not all) "free to play" games seems to be quite far of the mark in most applicable descriptions of the word without putting in at least some money. Either way, you void one of the definitions: Free if you pay or Play if you don't.

Simple really, the term "Free to Play" is a lie.

By your definition, then Zork isn't a game, and the creators should be sued for selling it as one. "Play" is a purely subjective term, and whether you like it or not, DKM (and other games like it) has plenty of gameplay.

Scrumpmonkey:
The game may be free to download but the actual play of it encourages and even stresses payment.

Wrong. The game brings it up once, and then pretty much never mentions it again outside of the option just being there. If you consider the mere option to spend money as "stressing", then that's on you. I have no problem playing these games without giving a second glance to the payment options unless I find something that's at least vaguely intriguing. Sometimes I decide that the game is worth tossing a few bucks, usually I don't; my ability to play and enjoy the games is rarely effected either way.

Oh, and here's the big twist: Dungeon Keeper isn't even the most intrusive of these games about "forcing" you to pay. There's plenty of games that full-on roadblock you until you pay to unlock the rest of the content[1]. Meanwhile you can get into Dungeon Keeper's endgame perfectly fine without spending a single cent. Heck, Dungeon Keeper doesn't even force you to watch ads to continue playing, something that games which have gotten nothing but praise do!

[1] And I would still argue that they're right to advertise as "free to play" as long as the games are free up to that point.

Okay, since some of you non-Europeans don't seem to get how these are marked:
The apple app-store already marks these "Free to play, but not really, gimme your money!" games.

It says "Free download with in-app purchases" And adds a list of all in-game purchases with a description before you download it, so you can see if it's worth it.

It's very handy! =D

WhiteTigerShiro:

Scrumpmonkey:
The game may be free to download but the actual play of it encourages and even stresses payment.

Wrong. The game brings it up once, and then pretty much never mentions it again outside of the option just being there. If you consider the mere option to spend money as "stressing", then that's on you. I have no problem playing these games without giving a second glance to the payment options unless I find something that's at least vaguely intriguing. Sometimes I decide that the game is worth tossing a few bucks, usually I don't; my ability to play and enjoy the games is rarely effected either way.

Oh, and here's the big twist: Dungeon Keeper isn't even the most intrusive of these games about "forcing" you to pay. There's plenty of games that full-on roadblock you until you pay to unlock the rest of the content. Meanwhile you can get into Dungeon Keeper's endgame perfectly fine without spending a single cent. Heck, Dungeon Keeper doesn't even force you to watch ads to continue playing, something that games which have gotten nothing but praise do!

No "*yawn*" this time?

I was talking about Free to Wait games in general. Plenty of people have made very valid points as to why you are wrong. Even official bodies like the UK ASA and now the EU commission.

Your point is becoming less and less tenable as more and more regulators come out against these practices.

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