Yeah, right. The OFT's gonna maybe issues guidelines that essentially warn people they may be ripped off when playing freemium games.
So, yeah. I'm not a fan of the 'freemium' games model. I can see how it was developed in the Far East to get some revenue for games devs who'd otherwise lose out to apparent normalised piracy where copyright laws didn't effectively exist but it's not really a model I like to see becoming standard for the West. I'm not completely against it at all but there's gotta limits and I think you can only trust some form of regulation to do that. GTA Online is gonna have micro transactions in it but will these be value for money or not? I expect BF4 will have more ways for players to continue paying out for the game after they've purchased a copy on release and yeah, hopefully it'll be superfluous stuff like face paint and custom dog tags but really? Where will it stop? And, it's about making a whole LOT more money than simply game studios merely surviving.
When it comes to guidelines I'd like them to have some force in them too like some oversight that stipulates the maximum spend one game title can squeeze out of users. I'd limit it at say £60 top which must be reflective of how much 'value' there is in a title. So, we're used to seeing AAA rated titles with huge multimillion pound budgets charging a lot on release (£50-60) but that's value compared to spending the equivalent on a mobile phone game with blocky graphics and very limited scope.
Someone very recently introduced me to a game called Zombie Frontier or something and though I well enough suspected it was a freemium game and was reluctant to install it on my phone I did so anyway just to satisfy them really. It's a social experience sometimes (peer pressure eh?) I'm old enough and sensible enough to make my own choices but still. Anyway, I'm not great at the game (but not dire either) which is a kind of FPS and there's enormous pressure to pay out for extra ammo and upgrades to take some of the pressure off. Again, my decision but the prices are ridiculously high in my view. I can't access the game right now but the top value pack was close to £80 or something. The other cheaper options I could see would quickly expend themselves so they didn't look very good value at all.
But... hang on? A mobile phone FPS that's not exactly on par with today's console/PC shooters. I mean, there's a lot lot less entertainment in it than even BF1942 and BF2 and games from yonks ago. And they want £80??? And that's good value too compared to a lot of the other schluck I've read about in similar articles on in-game micro transactions.
I'd hate to be a parent and especially one who wasn't tech/game savvy enough to keep their kids away from what I see is a very morally dubious form of making a living through in game payments. Yeah, it can be done right and more can be done to secure payments through having adult level payment authorisations but this won't stop kids whining and putting pressure on parents to unlock such and such in their iOS/Android games will it?
Read the BBC article and you'll see some of the (underhand) tactics devs use to illicit money from their target gamers. Pretty disgusting in my view but you may feel differently. I'm not saying ban in-game transactions but man, there's gotta be a whole lot more that needs doing to properly protect consumers. It's no surprise the top app earners are often the free ones.
Yours more than slightly annoyed at this
Spook of Tunbridge Wells