Games industry faces crackdown over ‘aggressive commercial practices’

The games industry has been told it faces enforcement action if it fails to explicitly tell gamers if games feature in-game advertising and whether their personal data could be used for marketing purposes.  

Mobile Apps

The warning has been issued by the Office of Fair Trading following a lengthy investigation into online and app games. The OFT claims some games include “potentially unfair and aggressive commercial practices to which children may be particularly susceptible” such as making children feel bad if they fail to make an in-game purchase and a lack of transparency over costs.

Eight draft principles have been published that the industry must comply “or risk enforcement action”, the OFT says in a statement.

Principles include a commitment not to “pressure” children into making in-game purchases and to make it clear that in-game payments are not authorised and cannot be taken unless the payment account holder has given their “informed consent” as well as boosting transparency over data capture and advertising.

Cavendish Elithorn, the OFT’s executive director, says: “This is a new and innovative industry that has grown very rapidly in recent years, but it needs to ensure it is treating consumers fairly and that children are protected. The way the sector has worked with us since we launched our investigation is encouraging, and we’ve already seen some positive changes to its practices. These principles provide a clear benchmark for how games makers should be operating.”

The OFT is inviting comment from parents, consumer groups and the industry on the principles before they are finalised later this year.   

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here