TIGA, the trade association representing the UK videogame industry has called for UK and other European games businesses to take note of tech giant Apple’s settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Apple has agreed to refund customers at least $32.5m (£19.9m) who complained over in-app purchases made by children without their parents’ consent.
The changes Apple will be making to its billing process, which means express consent must be obtained before in-app charges are made, will be of great help to UK developers who want these issues resolved but have no control over how users pay.
Other aspects of the settlement are also very much in line with TIGA’s response to the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT’s) investigation into in-app purchases (IAP) and free to play games (F2P) as well as how the UK industry has been responding to this issue. TIGA has called for transparency around IAP, and just as Apple has taken a proactive approach in speaking to those customers affected, so has the industry in the UK responded in a positive and constructive fashion, as pointed out by the OFT itself.
In the UK, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will be publishing a final set of industry wide principles to clarify the games industry’s obligations under consumer protection law in late January/early February 2014. After April 1st 2014 enforcement action will be taken against businesses in breach of consumer protection law.
Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, comments:
“The UK development community and TIGA want to build a sustainable video games development industry. All UK video game developers want to be in full compliance with the law and keep their customers happy. The steps that Apple is taking at the platform level to resolve the issue of unauthorised in app purchases are welcome.
“TIGA and its members take the potential issues surrounding the free to play (F2P) business model very seriously indeed. TIGA trusts that the OFT’s final set of industry wide principles will indicate where primary responsibility rests: with platform holders or with developers/digital publishers. In critical areas, for example, in respect of unauthorised payments, the key responsibility will typically lie with platform holders.
“It is important that the OFT continues to take into consideration the consistent global approach needed for both child protection and for the export-driven nature UK video game industry.”
“It is also important to recognise that F2P games can be of great value to consumers and developers alike. This is because it allows consumers to play extremely high quality games entirely free or to try games before buying them. A report published by TIGA in 2013 showed that typically 95% of consumers playing a F2P game don’t spend any money at all. Developers benefit from being able to reach a massively increased potential market size, with considerably lower barriers to entry.”
TIGA is the trade association representing the video game industry. We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice.
We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.
Since 2010, TIGA has won 16 business awards.
TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:
· Political representation
· Media representation
· Business services
This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.
It also means our members’ voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video game trade media.
Get in touch:
Tel: 0845 468 2330
For further information, you can also contact:
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: 07875 939 643, or email: email@example.com
Drew Field, TIGA Communications Director on: 07720 643 344, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org