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South Korean FTC examining consumer regulations surrounding in-game purchases

Government body currently investigating issues surrounding minors making purchases and "unfair" limitations on refunds

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing to conduct a review of consumer regulations for mobile and computer games, with a focus on in-game purchases.

According to The Korea Herald, ten companies have been contacted by the FTC so far for their opinions, including Nexon, NCSoft, Blizzard, and Riot Games.

The FTC will be going over a number of clauses related to consumer purchases in games, particularly focusing on issues involving minors making those purchases. Examples of what will be reviewed include unclear or vague clauses with mentions of parental approval being needed for underage players to sign up, limited refunds for in-game items even when the person receiving the in-game item hasn't gotten it yet, and when gifted items have extremely limited periods of use.

A spokesperson for the FTC told The Korea Herald that the FTC sees such clauses as "unfair."

"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," he continued. "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."

Similarly, the US FTC is holding a workshop in August that will discuss similar issues surrounding loot boxes, microtransactions, and child and adolescent behavior with such transactions.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar

Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.