Does the game have microtransactions? It will no longer be called ‘free’

Monday, 21st July 2014 17:55 GMT By Sherif Saed

Google is taking steps to ensure games that contain microtransactions will no longer be labelled as ‘free’ on the Google Play Store. The move comes in accordance with a new set of European Commission guidelines.


Develop reported the news and MCVUK adds that titles such a Dungeon Hunter 4 and Angry Birds no longer carry a price tag.

Consumer Protection Cooperation network has chosen to go forward with the following guidelines, which were all sent to Apple, Goolge and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe:

  • Games advertised as “free” should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved
  • Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them
  • Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them
  • Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints

According to the website, Apple has not yet provided any commitment to the guidelines, while Google said that it aims to be fully compliant by the end of September. It’s also important to note that enforcement of these rules has yet to be decided by local national authorities.

Perhaps recent games like Dungeon Keeper coming under fire from the press and consumers alike, was a reason for some of these changes. Although it remains to be seen how this new classification will affect paid games and if Google will devise a new category different from ‘free’ and ‘paid’.

Do you think this will bring an end to rampant microtransactions in mobile games, or is it simply a change of paint?



  1. Mike W

    Interesting, but sorry to bring this information into this article. But did you guys know that Maya was announced for Killer Instinct? If you did, why aren’t you guys posting that?

    #1 5 months ago
  2. larasactua

    So how will we know now which games are pay to play and which free to play and which are free?
    Do i have to check each game seperately in the pay section to find a game that is free to download but with microtransactions?

    I think the EU is overreacting. They should just have said that games are not for kids, so there would be no problems.

    #2 5 months ago
  3. Sherif Saed

    @Mike W

    #3 5 months ago
  4. TheWulf


    They’re really not. One of the things that keep me away from mobile stores is the inability to filter out ‘microtransaction shit.’ If I could just see ‘games with a price, with no microtransactions’ and ‘free games, with no microtransactions.’ I’d probably buy more and play more. But I gather that mobile games aren’t really for me, just less intelligent people who’re foolish with their money.

    So… carry on, I guess.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be sticking with games that are fun to play, rather than experiences with corporate vampirism.

    #4 5 months ago
  5. jonnymelamet


    My coworker lost a nut when her kid spent a ton on a “Free to Play” game.

    It isn’t the kids fault, but at least they will understand that it costs.

    #5 5 months ago

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