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Office of Fair Trading Going After Predatory In-App Purchasing

The Office of Fair Trade has started looking very closely at in-app purchasing to ensure it is not deliberately predatory towards children.

We have all heard stories by now about kids spending thousands and thousands of dollars on in-app purchases, generally without realizing they were doing it.  If you are like me, you were probably wondering when this would start getting more official attention.  According to the Office of Fair Trading, that time is now.

The Office of Fair Trading has released a statement cautioning mobile game makers about targeting children with in-app purchasing advertising.  The more aggressive the in-game marketing is, the closer they will be looking at it to determine if such is predatory.

This announcement comes after an investigation which looked in-depth at the marketing and in-app purchasing mechanics of 28 different mobile games, eventually concluding that some used marketing tactics and devices which the Office of Fair Trading found exceedingly unfair to have targeted at children.

Hopefully having a government agency looking over these games and their purchasing mechanics will at least limit the number of cases we see in the future.

Published Sep. 26th 2013

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