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Google to stop calling games with in-app purchases, "Free" in Europe

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Google to stop calling games with in-app purchases,
As part of an agreement between Google, the European Commission and its Member States, Google is no longer labeling an app as being free if it contains an in-app purchase. The tech titan is also changing its default setting to make sure that payments are authorized before each in-app purchase is made, unless there is a change made by the phone's user to the default setting.

EU Vice President Neelie Kroes, who is charge of the Union's Digital Agenda, said, "The Commission is very supportive of innovation in the app sector. In-app purchases are a legitimate business model, but it's essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models."

Besides not calling games "free" when they contain in-app purchases, Google will author guidelines aimed at its developers, telling them not to promote apps and in-app purchases directly to children. Changes are expected to be made before the end of September. It is not clear whether Google plans on making these changes to its Google Play Store sites outside of the EU.

"This is the very first enforcement action of its kind in which the European Commission and national authorities joined forces. I am happy to see that it is delivering tangible results. This is significant for consumers. In particular, children must be better protected when playing online. The action also provides invaluable experience for the ongoing reflection on how to most effectively organise the enforcement of consumer rights in the Union. It has demonstrated that cooperation pays off and helps to improve the protection of consumers in all Member States."-Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy

Apple also is expected to agree to similar changes for the App Store. Unlike Google though, Apple has yet to commit to making changes, although it has said that it will address the EU's concerns. Obviously then, there is no time frame for when we might see action from Cupertino. The EU and its Member States have also invited game developers to join in the conversation.

source: Europa via AndroidCentral

22 Comments
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posted on 19 Jul 2014, 20:14 10

1. Hammerfest (Posts: 369; Member since: 12 May 2012)


"In-app purchases are a legitimate business model"

and camping is a legitimate strategy in any FPS...

Sorry but Ill take PAYING for a WHOLE game over in-app pruchase's anyday...

"you bought the fork, but you now need the spoon to continue, $9.99!" (oh noez soup monstar!)

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 21:01 2

4. steedsofwar (Posts: 285; Member since: 07 Oct 2013)


Too right mate. BTW, i don't mind camping in FPS games.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 12:51

16. Scott93274 (Posts: 1123; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


Yeah... I'm a camper. lol

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 21:02

5. kaboom (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Jul 2014)


Not me though

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 16:39

20. Totse2k15 (Posts: 266; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)


Agree OP. I'd rather pay for whole game instead of in-app [s]hit.

Rusher (rambo style) for me, btw.

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 20:15 2

2. vincelongman (Posts: 1203; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Google/Apple/MS should classify IAP, e.g. ad removal/donate vs cheats/shortcuts
Then have a top free apps chart, in which the apps must be free with no IAP or only the ad removal/donate type IAP
Also paid games shouldnt have IAPs, except maybe extra donate or expansion packs IAPs

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 20:44 3

3. hafini_27 (Posts: 247; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Fair enough. I hate freemium

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 21:12 3

6. Trolloftheyear (banned) (Posts: 66; Member since: 16 Jul 2014)


Do it in all over the world.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 00:09

8. techspace (Posts: 669; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


yes, they should have 3 categories....free, paid and free to install games/apps.

posted on 19 Jul 2014, 21:16 1

7. brasstax (Posts: 144; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Freemium needs to be banned globally. An app or game should be either paid or free. Developers work hard & rightly need to be paid. They can charge a one time fee for their work. Freemium is a rip off, especially pertaining to games. It's a scam to make you spend $50 to complete a game instead of charging you $5 upfront & be done with it.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 15:17

17. JMartin22 (Posts: 1137; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


Only $50? Most Freemium games will have you spending in increments of $100s, which can easily turn into a price tag of thousands.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 20:50

21. Armchair_Commentator (Posts: 181; Member since: 08 May 2014)


They can sure as hell "try to" but its ultimately the end user who has to accept it, granted kids are their target audience, but try to educate them too

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 01:00 1

9. swiekekodok (Posts: 57; Member since: 19 Jul 2014)


Beware of freemium games or app,....free at the start and must buy for anything,when u want to continue.... #damn

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 04:16

10. kanagadeepan (Posts: 669; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Good and bring this to whole world, not just EU... Further users MUST BE FORCED to type password again and again for each IAP purchase and don't ask password again option MUST BE GREYED out for IAP... So that children may not use accidently, imho...

IAP is ok for expansion pack, but for each weapon is ridiculous...

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 06:15

11. zennacko (Posts: 236; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


DLCs were (and still are!) a horrible practice, but then some horrible mind introduced IAP, the quickest way to go bankrupt because unlike their parents, the DLCs, IAP can be bought to the infinity (and beyond!) and no limits are set, especially if you or your daddy (whoever happens to be addicted to Candy Crush et al.) happens to own a Centurion credit card. (yay for unlimited lives, energy refills and whatever else I might need for as little as $10000 a month!)

I really think these should be banned, or opted out at the permissions screen, like, clicking that you DO NOT agree with In-App purchases will lead you to a "paid in full" app, or a free version with no IAP at all! If that's not doable, they should add a 2-step purchase verification (insert password again, and credit card as well, for EVERY purchase) along with a reminder of how many Lincoln bills were spent so far on that specific app (because guilty feelings are good against almost all addictions, except alcohol and drug abuse, sadly.)

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 07:40 2

12. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


In europe? This should be worldwide...Freemium/Pay-to-win/Glu/Gameloft/Gamev​il needs to be stomped out and left for dead...

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 09:21 2

13. ihavenoname (Posts: 1406; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


And worst of them all: King.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 11:07

14. geordie8t1 (Posts: 105; Member since: 18 Feb 2014)


i actually would not mind in app purchases if they were priced reasonably, i mean, i play a freemium game called megapolis and some of the virtual buildings can cost anything from 19.99 euros upto 50.00 euros, for one small building, WTF, other games cannot be played without downloading the updates and addons, games like fifa also are VERY restricted in game play unless you pay extra money to unlock the various settings, im all for people making money and games are no exception but in all fairness please eather reduce the over priced freemium content or just forget it all together and just either pay a flat fee for the game like £5 or 5euros or get the game free, any updates to the game at a later date can be sold for minimal prices but the game should be fixed price or free....

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 15:36

19. KillgoreTroutTime (Posts: 305; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


I agree. Why can't in app purchases be a dollar or less? If you end up paying more for a mobile game than you would for buying a console game, then something is wrong.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 12:47

15. Dee79 (Posts: 51; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


The issue is that the people who are actually paying the in app purchases to get faster cars or coins to buy animals etc.. if people didnt do this then company like google wouldn't bother with it.

If people are paying out then its there problem.

Yeh i agree that its to easy for kids to purchase in app stuff but then why the hell didnt the parent delete the bank details from google wallet etc.

Dont get me wrong i think its a total con, but what do you expect from company's if they know people will pay out.

posted on 20 Jul 2014, 15:21

18. KillgoreTroutTime (Posts: 305; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


I completely agree. The companies see profit and they go for it. There is nothing wrong with that. People just need to be educated on what Freemium actually is.
This is just like those auction sites that claim to auction of expensive things for cheap. The catch is that you have to pay a dollar every time you bid and the auction time ticks up 10 seconds every time a bid comes in. I personally find this sales tactic to be brilliant and I wish I had thought about it, lol, but it is still devious as hell. People just need to be educated consumers and the ones who are educated consumes should voice their opinions but also be accepting of others ignorance.
As far as children go, that is completely on the parents.

posted on 21 Jul 2014, 03:10

22. JMartin22 (Posts: 1137; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


I remember dropping over $1,000 on one of those Korean Free-to-play money pits, I still couldn't complete my game playing experience without shelling out even more. That's how most F2P games are structured nowadays. I'd rather just pay $20 for a full game without any of the content being gouged out. It's far cheaper in the long run if you care about a wholehearted gaming experience without IAP currency and barriers getting in the way

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