After coming under scanner of the European regulators for the way 'free games' are marketed on the Play store, Google has agreed that titles that have in-app purchases (IAPs) will no longer be called free. Google has already begun on the implementation and is expected to complete by the end of September 2014. The regulators believe the move will help reduce inadvertent purchases by children.
"This is the very first enforcement action of its kind in which the European Commission and national authorities joined forces. I am happy to see that it is delivering tangible results. This is significant for consumers. In particular, children must be better protected when playing online. The action also provides invaluable experience for the ongoing reflection on how to most effectively organise the enforcement of consumer rights in the Union. It has demonstrated that cooperation pays off and helps to improve the protection of consumers in all Member States," says EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica.
It's notable the EU regulators had raised similar concerns for Apple's IAPs, however the company is yet to address the problem. According to regulators, Apple has not given any firm commitment or timing for the implementation.
Both Apple and Google have been widely criticised for listing of the 'free apps' that weren't truly free. The problem worsened after IAP-loaded games such as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans started to dominate the lists on the app stores. The latest move will at least ensure 'free apps' are no longer misleading.