Google won’t call games with in-app purchases free anymore


The European Commission has said that while Google addressed its concerns around games with in-app purchasing, Apple has yet to offer a strategy. Following hordes of complaints by outraged parents, the EU asked both companies to implement changes to the way they sell such apps in their stores. Those include not misleading consumers about supposedly “free” games, not “directly exhorting” children to buy in-game items, thoroughly informing customers about payment arrangements and forcing game-makers to provide contact information.

Google has already said it would implement several of the changes starting at the end of September. For instance, it won’t use the word “free” for in-app purchase games; it’ll come up with targeted guidelines for games to prevent encouragement of children to buy items; and will implement measures to monitor breaches of EU law.

Meanwhile, the EU said that Apple has “regrettably” not provided any firm solutions or timetable to address its concerns, though it added that Cupertino has promised to attack the problem. Apple was already forced to implement alerts in iOS 7.1 warning users of in-app buys, following lawsuits and a scuffle with the FCC. Meanwhile, the European Commission said that enforcement is now in the hands of individual EU nations, which will need to decide on their own how to punish developers currently facing legal action.

[Image credit: Philippe Hugen/AFP/Getty Images]



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