According to a Times Of India report, Apple, Google and Amazon, with French game developing company Gameloft have came under the scanner of the Italian antitrust and competition authority. If found guilty, they may face fines of up to €5 million (USD 6.8 million) each.
The gaming companies have been accused of taking advantage of the freemium model by misleading customers by giving out mobile app games that are advertised as free, but purchases are required to continue playing after a certain level.
The antitrust watchdog proclaims that the customers should be apprised of any additional or further costs required to continue playing a game, beforehand. Purchases in freemium apps can include access to new levels in a game or virtual objects, such as a sword, to make the player more powerful.
In a notice to the four companies, they have also been accused of insufficient information to consumers regarding the settings required to stop and limit purchases within the app, especially since the games are for children.
Source – YouFeed
The investigation is on the same lines of the European Commission, which asked companies to revise their rules on apps that can be downloaded for free, but later require purchases that get charged to consumers’ credit cards by default.
Other game developers using “freemium” model for their apps are Glu, Gamevil, Electronic Arts and Rovio have also released free games that rely on in-app purchases.
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