Last December, the European Commission called for companies like Apple and Google to reevaluate their handling of free-to-play titles. It asked that consumers not be misled about the “true costs involved” with free games, and children not be urged to make in-app purchases. It then met with the companies in February to discuss the requests.
The European Commission has now announced in a press release that Google has agreed to make changes to its Google Play Store by the end of September, including the removal of the word “free” to describe games with in-app purchases.
Apple has not offered a concrete plan to address the issues, but has “proposed to address those concerns”.
In addition to no longer using the word “free” to describe games with in-app purchases, Google will tweak default settings so that user authentication is required each time a purchase is made. It will also invoke developer guidelines to disallow “direct exhortation to children,” which means they could no longer strongly appeal to children to make in-app purchases.
It remains unclear whether Google will only be making these changes in Europe, or if it will make them worldwide.