Physical copies of video games in Europe will now feature a warning if there are in-game purchases available during gameplay.
Any of you reading this aged 25 and above will know, and have likely marveled as we have, how drastically the video game landscape has changed over the past three decades. The graphics have reached a point where they are almost unbelievable, we have gone from cartridges to discs to downloads, and some gameplay is more in-depth than we could have ever imagined.
One of the biggest differences, and we'll let you decide if it's for the better or worse, is that nowadays when you buy a game, you're not necessarily buying the whole game. There will more than likely be some extras that you can download or even in-game purchases that you can make for things like new characters and extra levels.
If you're an adult and you're paying for these yourself then it's all well and good, but what about children? That thought has obviously crossed PEGI's mind, the video game content rating system in Europe, as it is about to put a new rule in place. Physical copies of games that feature in-app purchases will soon have to feature the warning that is pictured below, with the ruling hopefully being instated before the end of 2018, as laid out on the company's website.
There is already a rule in Europe that dictates there must be a warning about in-game purchases when buying digital copies of games, but not for physical copies. Considering a parent is more likely to go out and buy a physical copy, warnings on the packaging seem pretty important. An IPOS survey discovered that 2 in 5 parents in Europe have children who make in-game purchases, and 8 out of 10 of those have a system which dictates how much their children can spend.
"Seeing this simple descriptor on the packaging of a game they consider buying should trigger the reflex of keeping an eye on the gameplay," explained Simon Little, the Managing Director of PEGI S.A. While it may be obvious to most of us that almost all games feature in-game purchases nowadays, that might not occur to a non-gaming parent and could result in them receiving a hefty bill as a consequence.