After many complaints, and in order to abide by laws set up by the European Commision, Google will no longer be labeling games with in-app purchases (IAP) as free. The complaints are due to children charging up their parent’s credit cards, without parents knowledge, from games that were labeled as free, however offer IAP.
As gamers on the Android platform, we are all familiar with how some of these “free” games work. While some can be played in their entirety with the purchases being completely optional, other games have a pay wall, or a pay to win model where the game becomes extremely difficult or tedious to play without spending money.
Google’s plans to prevent children from making IAP and follow laws set up by the European Union goes into effect at the end of September. On the other side of the fence, Apple has yet to give a solid plan on how to deal with the issue on the App Store, but did issue a response concerning the matter after a scolding of sorts from the EU.
Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We’ve also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.
These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we’re adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.
Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns.