Pan European Game Information (PEGI) has declared a content descriptor for in-game purchases. The new content descriptor icon will be added on the packaging of games that can be bought in retail stores. This icon will inform the parents, prior to purchase, about the possibility of spending money within a video game. “In-game purchases” is already one of the descriptors used by PEGI for digital-only games (using the IARC process.
Simon Little, Managing Director of PEGI S.A said:
“Making parents aware of the existence of optional in-game purchases upfront is an important first step. PEGI will now make this information available at the point of purchase, so that a parent can decide whether and how they want to monitor and/or limit a child’s spending,”
Simon Little added:
“While we know that parents use different methods to control spending, parental control tools is a very helpful next step in making sure that the overall online experience of the child is safe, including the possibility to control spending. Entering into a dialogue with the child about the games they enjoy is certainly a must for all parents. It will provide them with the necessary context to create a gaming environment both the children and the parents are comfortable with,”
The new in-game purchases descriptor will be appeared to all games that propose the option to buy digital goods with real currency. It will start appearing on physical releases towards the end of this year.
“Purchase offers within games has become a broad phenomenon, and it is necessary to provide the same level of consumer information on both physical and digital releases. Considering that physical releases are an important part of the market, this was an important gap to fill. For a parent who may not be fully familiar with the video games landscape, seeing this simple descriptor on the packaging of a game they consider buying should trigger the reflex of keeping an eye on the gameplay, once the game has been purchased and given to the child. It’s basic information, but that’s what parents sometimes feel they are lacking,” Simon Little said.
The decision follows a recent consumer survey conducted by Ipsos ,according to the survey, eight in ten of those parents have an agreement with their child about spending, such as requiring permission (60%), a spending limit (31%), use of parental controls (28%), monitoring credit card bills (25%), or using prepaid cards. Just 2% of parents no not monitor the in-game spending of their children.