Tue, May 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Regulations seek to protect online gamers, app users

By Chen Yi-chia and Jonat han Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee has completed reviewing regulations that aim to protect users of online games and other applications from fraud and other predatory practices.

The proposed regulations would protect consumer rights by specifying what can and cannot be included in an end-user agreement for mobile apps, the committee said, adding that game and app developers would be required to place warning labels and publish data about the transactions that they oversee.

The regulations are being finalized and they can be promulgated as early as next month, it said.

There are 8.9 million gamers in Taiwan, 97 percent of whom play online games, the committee estimated, adding that they most commonly play smartphonebased games.

Out of 54,255 total incidents last year, the committee processed 3,102 cases of gaming-related consumer disputes, it said.

The figure shows that the gaming sector has become the most dispute-prone industry, the committee said.

The most prevalent kinds of disputes involve account cancelation, unwanted app downloads, intermittent or poor connections, and theft of accounts or in-game items, the committee said.

The proposed regulations were drafted by a panel of regulators who consulted the industry, and would address shortcomings in laws and regulations, it said.

Ministry of Economic Affairs officials have proposed articles specifying appropriate language for user agreements, it said.

The proposed regulations would be applicable to a wide range of online activities, from commercial transactions and lotteries to the purchase of in-game virtual currency, committee senior secretary Chen Hsing-hung (陳星宏) said.

The regulations would also address situations that have frequently led to legal disputes, such as minors using other people’s devices to buy in-game currency or items, Chen said.

For certain types of breaches, the proposed regulations would invoke the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法) and impose fines of up to NT$500,000, Chen said.

Online gaming has long been among the top five sectors generating consumer disputes, alongside fashion accessories, telecoms, peripheral merchandise and cram schools, Department of Consumer Protection Deputy Director Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學) said.

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