Developers must be careful of how they manage their free-to-play games. Speaking to Develop Editor Will Freeman at the F2P Summit, Peter Molyneux warned developers of the dangers that a set of regulations governing in-app purchases could have on the entire games industry in the UK.
Molyneux was speaking about the UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading’s announcement that it would be investigating the way in-app purchases are used in games that are played by children, and whether developers have been using unfair marketing tactics to encourage kids to spend money. The investigation comes on the heels of several reports of young children spending thousands of dollars of their parents’ money on in-app purchases – often without their knowledge or approval.
"If I was a betting man I'd think the platform providers will start trying to answer that question fairly soon," Molyneux said. "You can't have people racking up bills of hundreds or thousands of pounds without them knowing what they're doing."
Molyneux also warned that any regulations that could come from the OFT’s investigation could impact on developers’ ability to release games in the region.
"We've got to be careful that the OFT doesn't create a regime where us developers don't want to develop for the UK, so you have to be very careful," he said. "We also have to be careful that we don't fall into the trap of making our games the equivalent of gambling, where parents will say 'my kid must never play one of these games'."