Microtransactions have long been a thorn in the side of consumer advocates. It seems that the European age rating system PEGI has dealt intensively with the issue and has seen in-game purchases as a threat to players' cost control. From the end of the year, the PEGI warns of microtransactions in video games with a new symbol. For parents in particular, the innovation should lead to significantly more transparency with regard to possible follow-up costs of games.
Microtransactions targeted by consumer advocates
Like the portal VG247 berichtet, the packaging of video games will be enriched by an information symbol at the end of the year: the PEGI identifies games in which buyers will incur follow-up costs through microtransactions.
The introduction of labeling continues the path taken by consumer advocates in the fight against opaque cost structures. If game developers or publishers do not want to forego in-game purchases, they should inform potential buyers in advance about possible additional purchases.
Up until now, information on microtransactions was rather unclear: a small text box on the back of the packaging explains possible follow-up costs. Especially for inexperienced video gamers - or buyers from outside the industry such as parents or grandparents - the information was too hidden on the packaging.
Microtransactions are particularly popular in so-called free-2-play games, i.e. in games that can be played free of charge in the basic version. Players can purchase virtual items such as skins, emotes or logos by using real money.
The great success of in-game purchases has led publishers to increasingly rely on microtransactions, even for full-price titles, in order to increase the profit margin of video game productions. Because virtual items like Loot boxes have long been controversial, the introduction of a new information symbol by the PEGI is consistent.
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