More than one free-to-play developer is rolling out spending caps for its players

December 10, 2013

TabTimes Games reported last week that GungHo, the Japanese developer behind the incredibly lucrative Puzzle & Dragons, has set restrictions in place that limit players under 16 to spending $50 a month and players under 20 to spending $200 per month. Now it seems Tecmo Koei, the popular developer responsible for the Dead or Alive fighting game series, is doing the same.

The restrictions should be in place by the end of the month, though unfortunately these limits apply only to Japanese gamers. There's also no way for the games to actually verify a player's age, so savvy kids will be able to circumvent them.

But developers in other regions are trying other methods of cutting down on over-spending in their games. UK studio Big Bit, for example, is limiting all players to £20 (about $32) in its new free-to-play licensed game The Snowman and the Snowdog. Once players have spent that much all the content in the game will be unlocked, and in-game purchases disabled.

Big Bit studio head Nick Baynes told Eurogamer that he thinks more and more free-to-play developers will soon be enforcing such restrictions on themselves, "which can only be a good thing for players."

The UK's Office of Fair Trading has already warned mobile developers over targeting children with in-app purchases. It's great that developers and regulators in Japan and the UK are apparently taking notice of free-to-play abuses—though that still leaves the rest of the world to figure it out as well.

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