The definition of Free to Play is under dispute

By Tam Mageean
definition free

One of the biggest booms in mmo gaming, and gaming in general, over the past few years, has been in free to play games. More often than not, the rise and success of free to play gaming comes from the ever-popular "freemium" business model. Developers who adopt the freemium model will typically develop a game and take a huge loss upon launch by allowing players to download and play the game for free. The stipulation is usually that additional in-game items will cost real-world money to purchase.

The concept has been around for a long time now, and rose to fame through the popularity of free to play mmorpg games, traditionally out of South Korea, such as long-standing classic, Fiesta Online. Originally, these games were met with some skepticism, but that had all died down until recently, when the European Commission placed the term under dispute.

Currently, the European Commission are debating with game developers over whether or not a free to download game, with real money purchasables can truly be classified as free. The debate has sparked over fears the young or impressionable gamers are being mislead into purchasing in-game content under the impression that it's free.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation and the European Commission have clarified;

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

In addition, they are also hoping to regulate the use of "Buy Now!" banners and similar in-game incentives in games played by children, to prevent them from feeling pressurized into making purchases.

They haven't came to a conclusion yet, but there's a chance that free to play games, as we know them, may have to make some drastic changes, or risk getting reclassified altogether.

Feb282014

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