TOS for a Typical “Free to Play” Online Mobile Game

You will be aware of the rapidly growing number of “free to play” on-line games, especially targeted at customers using mobile devices. And we frequently see long terms of service popping up on devices when some change in terms occurs, such as for Apple’s iTunes Store. Often obscure very deeply buried privacy settings change as the service providers seek more ways to monestize their platforms and products… usually by selling some of your data or information about you to third parties. If this was put to you as a straight question you would likely answer “no”, so it often has to be hidden at least from casual checks by users. On mobile devices this is especially hard to check and as you want to get to the information, product or trial quickly and may not have the time or the facilities to print out such terms of service for a proper check

I looked at Electronic Arts “Real Racing 3” on the iPad recently, a free to play game, for which large bills can be racked up for “add-ons” if you are not careful. Such games have been in the press a lot recently especially with children unknowingly racking up enormous bills for such add-ons. So, I thought I would check out the terms of service. It comprised three parts, ALL of which you had to read and agree to before you could continue.

In total this involves 34 pages of very fine text, and includes a long list of third party advertising and product companies they will share your data with as an appendix, and for which they advise you to separately check the privacy and terms and conditions for each of those.

The terms of service say if you do not agree to use of your data in such a way “do not play”.

Extreme examples of enforced additional terms of service for mobile users are the necessity to agree to your real time 3D position being given to Google and their use of that for third parties. Agree once for any Google service and that applies thereafter. Google have now started showing that this is something you must agree to specifically rather than just mentioning the “extra” mobile terms and conditions which you had to agree to.

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1 Response to TOS for a Typical “Free to Play” Online Mobile Game

  1. bat says:

    See also some comments by @PhilOnEdTech on Adobe’s Cloud Computing Agreement..

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