Earlier in the week we learned that UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had begun investigating free-to-play models in mobile and online games that used questionable practices to highlight (to children) buying upgrades in-games. Today we have learned the contents of the public survey that the agency is using to get information from UK consumers.
The investigation began after several incidents where parents of children in the UK were stuck with ridiculously high charges on their credit cards when their children made in-game purchases - sometimes hundreds or thousands of dollars worth.
The survey ask some general questions of parents like how old their children are, what games they have played in the last few months, and more. It then moves on to in-game purchases habits and more. You can check out all the survey questions below:
1. How old is your child? (Please complete one of these forms for each of your children, if you have more than one.)
2. Which web and/or app games has your child played in the last two months?
3. Have any of those games invited your child to make a purchase?
4. When you first downloaded those games – or allowed your child to create an account to play them – did you expect that in - game purchases might be a feature of the game? Did you expect the game would invite your child to make a purchase?
5. Have you, your child or another adult made an in - game purchase for your child? Or made any other form of purchase to allow your child to progress further in the game or access additional content?
6. If you answered yes to question 5, how many of those purchases have been made in the last two months?
7. Thinking about the most recent of the purchases mentioned in question 5, what was the value of that purchase and how was it made (for example, by credit/debit card, gift card, iTunes account or similar, etc)? 8. Is there any other information you would like us to consider as part of our investigation?
You can find the questionnaire here in PDF format as well.