South Korea’s antitrust regulator or Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday says it will carry out an “extensive review” campaign of the consumer regulations of game firms. The FTC has contacted around ten game companies in said country, which includes Nexon, NCSoft, Blizzard, and Riot Games.
In a recent write-up on the koreaherald.com, it sees an FTC rep expressing that in-game purchase policies, refund restrictions, lack of required parental permission to purchase in-game items, and the use of conduct clauses to silence players who complain are “unfair” practices.
The rep also states that game companies could make changes to their policies on their own right now, or they could be forced to do so since they won’t do it willingly.
It is said that both computer and mobile games’ clauses are subject for review. Additionally, part of the review(s) includes — but not limited to — clauses regarding “underage users’ in-game purchases.”
According to one section of the report, it suggests that it may become easier for people to get refunds for in-game purchases if their children used credit cards without (parental) permission. In addition, if an underage user actively deceives parents, that is said to be “on the kids,” and he or she will be held accountable:
“Some news reports suggest that it may become easier for people to get refunds for in-game purchases if they can prove that their children used credit cards without permission, but if an underage user actively deceives parents, that’s on the kids. If a minor spends more than the legally allowed amount of 70,000 won ($62) a month, he or she will be held accountable.”
The letter continues:
“The FTC is reviewing the matter on a much wider scale. Some clauses hint that parental approval is needed when teenagers sign up for a game — de facto parental permission. Some game companies limit refunds for in-game items and cash presents, even when the receiving party has yet to accept the gift. Gifted items sometimes have an unfair limited period of use. When a player publicly states inconveniences, a company should consider the “misappropriate conduct” and limit that player’s game use.”
The U.S. FTC will hold a workshop discussing the same things surrounding loot-boxes, microtransactions, in-game purchases, and child and adolescent behavior with said transactions this August.
Lastly, you can read the full report of the aforesaid investigation by heading on over to koreaherald.com.