UK games industry association Tiga said it intends to “discuss” the potential for a set of best practice guidelines for free-to-play games with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The move comes after criticism of how some games are monetised, including the use of in-app purchases in titles targeting children.
Earlier this year, the OFT announced an investigation into the subject, noting that 80 per cent of the top Android games in the UK use in-app purchases, for objects costing from a few pence to more than £70.
Tiga said that the watchdog should work towards a global approach to the “free-to-play” market, that platform owners such as Google, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo should create a dedicated “children’s” category for games, and that all titles should “promote payment transparency”.
The industry association noted that Apple has already implemented a special category for children’s apps, and that within this games could have a daily in-app purchase limit to prevent excessive spending.
It also said that games should “state unambiguously whether they contain in-app purchases or other forms of optional additional payment”, noting that there is currently “inconsistency in the way in which this is presented to consumers”.
Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said: “The free-to-play model is typically excellent value for consumers and could be described as a ‘pay what you want or nothing’ model: 95 per cent of players in a typical free-to-play game will play the game for free. Yet it is vital that the free-to-play games model provides clear protection for gamers, particularly children.”