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UKIE explains OFT's in-app purchase principles in digestible guide

Law firm Harbottle & Lewis has the answers
UKIE explains OFT's in-app purchase principles in digestible guide

Following the unveiling of the Office of Fair Trading's in-app purchase principles, trade association UKIE has published a digestible two-page document explaining the ins and outs of the rule-set.

The guide, which has been put together by London law firm and UKIE associate member Harbottle & Lewis, suggests the underlying focus of the principles is transparency for consumers.

The idea is to enable them to make informed decisions before choosing to buy or download games. This includes whether or not a game is freemium rather than pay to play, and forcing game subscription services to be opt-in rather than opt-out.


The summary points out that only principles six and seven relate directly to children's online games, where studios are told not to partake in "practices which put pressure on or urge children to make purchases or pressurise other people to make purchases for them."

The rest of the principles apply to all online and app-based games.

While these principles are technically already law, they will be enforced by the Competition & Markets Authority from the 1 April. Failure to comply with them could lead to investigations into or even court proceedings against offending studios.

The explanation of the Office of Fair Trading's principles for online and app-based games is available to read here. The full principles, including examples, can be read here.