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South Korean FTC to review in-game purchase policies

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has laid plans to review the consumer practices, particularly policies dealing with in-game purchases, of game companies. 

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has laid plans to review the consumer practices, particularly policies dealing with in-game purchases, of game companies. 

According to the Korea Herald, the FTC announced it aims to extensively review those consumer regulations, and has reached out to 10 game companies in the country including Nexon, NCSoft, Blizzard, and Riot Games for information on the subject.

It’s an investigation that comes as more and more governing bodies are starting to pay closer attention to in-game monetization practices, including organizations in the US. South Korea is ranked as one of the top four markets for video games in the world, with the large majority of paying players buying virtual goods, the sale of which could be affected by government regulation.

The proposed review would look at clauses related to underage players' in-game purchases and other policies. The Korea Herald says some companies have policies that require parental approval for teenaged players, limit refunds for in-game purchases or presents, or restrict how a gifted item can be used and the FTC plans to evaluate the fairness of such practices.

A representative from the commission notes, however, that the goal is not to make refunds easier to obtain.

“Some news reports suggest that it may become easier for people to get refunds for in-game purchases if they can prove that their children used credit cards without permission,” an FTC representative tells the Korea Herald. “But if an underage user actively deceives parents, that’s on the kids. If a minor spends more than the legally allowed amount of 70,000 won ($62) a month, he or she will be held accountable.”

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