Apple and Google have begun talks with the EU to consider making guidelines on in-app purchases clearer.
Yesterday (February 27), the leading app providers engaged in discussions with consumer protection agencies from several European countries, including the UK.
The move comes as children and adults alike rack up unexpected bills from purchases made in games that are shown as 'free to download' but are not necessarily 'free to play'.
According to the European Commission, more than half of online games in the EU are displayed as free, yet carry some form of hidden charge. As the app market continues to grow, it is expected to climb to €63bn in value over the next five years in the EU alone.
In 2011, it is estimated that online gamers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium spent around €16.5bn.
"Misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection," EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said.
"The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organisations."
Solutions being discussed include providing clearer explanations about the costs involved in apps, the removal of encouraging terminology such as "Upgrade now!" and asking for explicit consent from the account holder before debiting them.
Minecraft may be heading to the big screen, it has been revealed.
The sandbox title's creator, Markus 'Notch' Persson, teased on Twitter that developer Mojang is in talks with Warner Bros to film an adaptation of Minecraft.
"Someone is trying leak the fact that we're working with Warner Brothers on a potential Minecraft Movie," he tweeted. "I wanted to be the leak!"
The original version of Minecraft - which was released in 2009 on PC - recently surpassed 100 million registered users, with approximately 14.3% converting to paid accounts.
The game is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS and Android devices.
Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita editions are in the works as well.
Feb 28 2014
The closed beta for Dead Island: Epidemic has been kicked off by Deep Silver.
The project can now be tested whenever by players, allowing them to experience the game as it approaches the final stages of development.
Newcomers can join the closed beta at Play DIE and receive exclusive in-game items and rewards that can be kept when the project is complete.
Touted as the world's first zombie online multiplayer battle arena (ZOMBA), Dead Island: Epidemic was announced in August as a free-to-play PC title that pits three teams of players against each other in a fight for survival.
It is set in the "ever expanding world of Dead Island".
The second episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two will make its PS3 and PC debut next week, TellTale Games has announced.
Titled 'A House Divided', Episode Two will be available on PS3 and PC from March 4.
The second episode will make its Xbox 360 and iOS launch shortly after. European release dates are yet to be announced.
The first two episodes will also make their PlayStation Vita debut at the end of March.
In a post on the TellTale blog, the developer recommends playing the '400 Days' expansion before picking up 'A House Divided'.
Season Two continues the story of Clementine, one of the central characters in Season One.
The first season of The Walking Dead was named Digital Spy's Game of the Year 2012.
GTA Online will introduce a new update next week, Rockstar has announced.
'The Business' update will be available as a free download for PS3 and Xbox 360 from March 4.
New weapons, aircraft, vehicles and outfits will be available in both GTA Online and the GTA 5 story mode.
'The Business' update adds the Heavy Pistol and Special Carbine, the Albany Alpha, Dinka Jester and Grotti Turismo R sports cars, and the Vestra airplane.
New suit jackets, trousers, glasses, heels and blouses will also be available, as well as business hairstyles and currency tattoos.
To mark the launch of the update, Rockstar is planning a 'Business Update Event Weekend'.
Elsewhere, the recently released 'Valentine's Day Massacre' items will be available to purchase until midnight on March 2.
The firm has promised to introduce Online Heists and Capture Creator to GTA Online soon, as well as new Assassination and Flight School missions for story mode.
Feb 28 2014
The Pokemon Company International has announced plans to bring several animations to Netflix.
From Saturday (March 1), Netflix members will be able to stream two classic Pokemon TV series and two films.
Pokemon: Black & White will be available in all Netflix territories, while the first season, Pokemon: Indigo League, will also be available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland.
Black & White is the 14th season of the Pokemon series, and consists of 48 episodes.
The classic season introduces Pokemon through Ash and his partner Pikachu on his quest to become a Pokemon Master.
Pokemon the Movie: Black - Victini and Reshiram and Pokemon the Movie: White - Victini and Zekrom will also be available to stream from Saturday.
The dual movies were first released in summer 2011.
Pokemon was first introduced in 1996 as a Nintendo game, before becoming a phenomenon worldwide. It has since spawned many video games, trading cards, 700 animation episodes and 16 full-length animated films.
Tomb Raider, Dead Nation and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons will be available as free downloads for PlayStation Plus members in March, Sony has announced.
PS3 versions of Tomb Raider and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons will join the Instant Games Collection from March 5.
PS4 users will be able to download Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition for free on the same day.
Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition contains improved visuals and controls, as well as the 'Road to Devastation' expansion.
It also adds a new score-based challenge mode with leaderboard support.
Elsewhere, PlayStation Vita owners will have free access to Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD and Smart As.
Games leaving the service include Outlast, Metro Last Light, Guacamelee, Dynasty Warriors Next and ModNation Racers Road Trip.
Feb 28 2014
OlliOlli is in development for the PC, it has been revealed.
The PC version will be shown at the upcoming EGX Rezzed event in Birmingham.
Developer Roll7 will also debut its brand new unannounced game at the PC and indie game event.
EGX Rezzed will take place at the Birmingham NEC from March 28 until March 30. Tickets are on sale now.
Traditionally focusing on PC and indie games, this year's event will incorporate many of the features associated with EGX London, formerly known as the Eurogamer Expo.
Out now on PlayStation Vita, OlliOlli is a skateboarding platformer with more than 100 levels.
A Nintendo investor has urged the company to enter mobile.
In an open letter posted on The Wall Street Journal, hedge fund manager Seth Fischer urged the company to develop mobile games with microtransactions.
"We believe Nintendo can create very profitable games based on in-game revenue models with the right development team," Fischer begins.
"Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher.
"The same people who spent hours playing Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Legend of Zelda as children are now a demographic whose engagement on the smartphone is valued by the market at well over $100bn," he added.
Following reports of poor Wii U sales, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata hinted at the use of smart devices, but admits it's not as simple as porting Mario to mobiles.
"Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business," Iwata explained. "It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone."
The company recently posted revised Wii U sales targets of 2.8 million, down from the original target of 9m.
Feb 27 2014
Google has claimed that it did not attempt to acquire WhatsApp before Facebook took over the service for $19 billion.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, a senior vice president for the company admitted that WhatsApp is an "exciting product" but insisted the Android owner never actually made an offer.
It had been claimed that Google offered $10 billion for the popular instant messaging application, with Facebook outbidding them by an extra $9 billion.
"WhatsApp was definitely an exciting product," Sundar Pichai said from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue."
Reports linking Google to a WhatsApp deal emerged as early as April last year, although WhatsApp's vice president Neeraj Arora denied the rumours at the time.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reassured users that WhatsApp will remain independent under its new parent company.
"WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View," Zuckerberg said.