Google Europe to End Calling Microtransaction Titles "Free"

| 20 Jul 2014 21:20

Google Play games that have in-app purchases will now also require payment verification before each purchase.

We've all dealt with the frustration of free games that aren't actually free, and usually pretty much require players to drop some real-world cash in the form of microtransactions in order to make any real progress, and the European Commission feels our pain. The commission has laid out a series of guidelines concerning "free" mobile games, mostly in the interests of protecting children from racking up huge credit-card bills, and Google has happily obliged.

By the end of September, Google will cease to advertise games as "free" when they include in-app purchases and that it will also require payment verification before each purchase. For now, these changes only apply to European versions of the Google Play store, but it may eventually apply to the store's other regional variants.

Apple also agreed to make some changes of its own at the commission's request, but, much to the commission's disapproval, it hasn't agreed to any specific actions or any time line. In defense, it said it already does "more than others" to protect consumers from in-app purchases.

The new guidelines state that games advertised as free should en devour to not mislead consumers about their true costs, that games don't directly ask children to make in-app purchasers, that games make it very clear about how these payments are made, and that games provide an email address that consumers can raise queries with.

"In-app purchases are a legitimate business model," EC vice president Neelie Kroes says, "but it's essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models."

Source: The Verge

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