App developer forces Android users to pay more for in-app items after Apple hiked its pricing tiers

App developer forces Android users to pay more for in-app items after Apple hiked its pricing tiers
It wouldn't be fair to ask Android users to pay for Apple's price hike, right? According to Eurogamer (via Android Police), Pokemon Go developer Niantic has increased prices for in-app purchases being bought by game players using iOS or Android. The issue here is that the increase in the cost of in-app purchases for all Niantic games including Pokemon Go was the result of Apple's recent change to App Store pricing tiers, and has absolutely nothing-NOTHING-to do with Android.

Apple changes its App Store pricing tiers for in-app purchases and Android users are also being affected

Last month Apple announced that it was changing App Store pricing in Chile, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, and Vietnam. These countries' economies are tied to the Euro when it comes to overseas trade. Starting today in the aforementioned markets, App Store items that cost €0.99 yesterday are now priced at  €1.19, an increase of more than 20%. Purchases that would cost you €9.99 on Tuesday are now tagged at €11.99.

The price increases for in-app purchases made for Niantic's mobile games can now be spotted in those countries regardless of whether the game player is using an iPhone or an Android phone. Earlier this week, Niantic posted a letter on its website that said:

"We know that changes to pricing and currency are impactful to our community across all Niantic games—Pokémon GO, Ingress, and Pikmin Bloom—and we wanted to provide proactive notice that some players will experience an increase in in-game currency prices starting as early as Oct. 5.

This update is due to changes in App Store price tiers. We will also make similar changes on other mobile platforms. The following countries and regions will be affected:

Territories that use the Euro currency include Chile, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, and Vietnam. While we will not be taking any immediate action in response to this change, we’ll be monitoring its impact and discussing how to navigate changing conditions globally. Thank you for your understanding."

Considering that Pokemon Go remains popular (it is the seventh-highest grossing mobile game worldwide), the price hike applied to Android users alone could bring in tons of cash for the developer. And if other developers follow in Niantic's footsteps (and why wouldn't they?), Android users are going to be upset. And in this case, it isn't Apple that should get the blame because it has the right to change its pricing tiers whenever it feels like it.

Niantic is the bad actor with this issue, not necessarily Apple

The bad actor in this is Niantic and any other developer with cross-platform games who decide to hike their Android pricing for in-app purchases alongside their iOS pricing. What Niantic doesn't seem to understand is that many Android users prefer the platform because it helps them escape Apple. But what Niantic is saying with this move is that for Android users, there is NO escape from Apple.

As one Reddit subscriber wrote, "That Apple is increasing their prices of in-app purchases doesn't mean that Niantic also has to affect other mobile platforms with increasing prices at those platforms."

Apple could also expand the number of markets currently hit by the price increase. For example, Apple Store pricing tiers for in-app purchases in the U.K., a country whose currency is increasingly dependent on the Euro for trade, have not yet been slapped with the price hike.

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We will have to wait and see what other developers decide to do. The options are pretty simple as they could decide to raise pricing for in-app purchases made on iOS only or follow Niantic and raise these prices on both platforms. There really isn't much that game players on Android can do if a developer takes its cues from Niantic other than pay the higher prices, or stop buying in-app items for affected games.

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