Games with in-app purchases no longer to be listed as “free”

It feels like complaints about in-app purchases have been rolling in ever since the feature arrived, as users found themselves (or family members with access to their devices) inadvertently racking up excessive bills. And over the years, we’ve seen the companies behind these app stores implement additional restrictions, protections, and notifications to try and mitigate user concerns. Still, regulatory agencies have been quite critical of what they see as inadequate steps to address the problem, and continue to go after app stores that they feel aren’t doing their best to rein in unwanted spending. In a new statement today, the European Commission acknowledges the progress some of these companies are making, while criticizing those that fall short.

Google, says the EU, has been making the sort of changes it wants to see, and points in particular to a shift set to occur near the end of summer that will no longer advertise free-to-download apps with in-app purchases lurking within as “free” in the Play Store.

Apple, on the other hand, has been slower to commit to change, and while it has proposed ways it might address the EU’s concerns, has neither agreed to take specific steps nor set up a firm timeline for when action might happen.

As for Google, we’re quite curious to see what form these changes might take. How would these apps now be listed if not “free?” Will we see the addition of new tracking categories: no longer just “top paid” and “top free,” but “top freemium?” Or would the presence of “free” within “freemium” continue to mislead under this EU directive? We should find out in just a couple months.

Source: European Commission
Via: Engadget

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!