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Apple Removes "Free" Label From Free-to-Play Games

App Store now lists freemium titles with "Get."


EA's popular Real Racing 3 offers players numerous in-app purchases.
EA's popular Real Racing 3 offers players numerous in-app purchases.

Smartphone and software giant Apple no longer classifies free-to-play games as "free" on the App Store, following years of debate and scrutiny regarding the policy.

The controversy of free-to-play games, specifically how children can unknowingly be charged for in-game items, led to an investigation on the matter by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

In April 2013, a director at the OFT said "we are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase when they are playing games they thought were free, but which can actually run up substantial costs."

That statement followed numerous stories of parents being charged extraordinary sums for games their children had played, such as a five year-old Briton who ran up a £1,700 bill playing the free-to-play game Zombies vs. Ninjas on his parents' iPad.

One year later, Apple and Google met representatives for the European Commission to discuss the ethics and legality of the term free-to-play. Months later, Google agreed to remove the "free" label from the games it was vending.

In the aftermath, Apple published notes about the potential costs of free-to-play games on its App Store, but now has taken a further step by no longer classifying these games as free.

Instead, the corporation has chosen to label its free-to-play games with the word "Get"; a term which avoids referencing its monetization model.

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