EU Demands Re-classification Of Games With In-app Purchases

By 07:19 Tue, 20 Jul 2021 Comments

In-app purchases are some of the trickiest, most annoying aspects of gaming today, and the phenomenon is becoming increasingly prevalent in the mobile landscape. Many business models of “free” games revolve around in-app purchases with sometimes key features of the game being intentionally left out to insure that players will have to fork over cash to like the game at all. Then, there is always the risk of handing your phone or tablet over to your younger sibling and child, and having to worry about them racking up a bunch of charges on your bill with these in-app purchases.

Well it looks like the European Commission is looking for a redefinition of what “free” really means when it comes to mobile gaming:

“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 recent business models.”

The changes that the EC propose are fairly simple: app developers should create games that don’t ask children, or appeal to children, to create in-app purchases, create greater clarity on how transactions are processed, and provide a specific customer service email address where questions or complaints can be made.

Google was the first company to support the EC’s proposal: the Play Store will no longer list games with in-app purchases as “free.” Also, Big G has made inputting a password for each purchase the default option in the Play Store, meaning that if you want to not put your password in every time, you’ll have to enable that option yourself. There isn’t any word as to whether or not Google's policy changes will occur globally, or will be restricted to just the EU.

Apple also promised to create changes that are more in line with the EC’s demands, but weren’t as clear as to when the changes were going to be implemented (like Google has done). Apple referred to iOS 8’s “Ask to Buy” feature that alerts parents on their phones whenever a child wants to buy something in the app store.

It turns out that the EC isn’t really excited with Apple’s approach to solving the problem, actually praising Google for being so proactive in this matter, and criticizing Apple for the company’s lack of “concrete and immediate solutions”.

Source | Via



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