Google has reached a settlement with the FTC agreeing to fully refund consumers charged for their children’s in-app purchases. The decision is hardly a surprise, considering Apple reached the same agreement in January, and Amazon did the same in July. The issue arises from Google’s requiring a password for purchases every 30 minutes and “blurring the lines” between real money purchases and virtual ones. The FTC’s issue arises from a few lawsuits filed by parents looking for retribution after giving their children free reign over their devices.
In the Android world, the third-party keyboard apps segment is a crowded one for app developers. That has not stopped developers from Fleksy from continuing to work on their version of a keyboard. The latest update that takes it up to version 3.0 introduces some new features and according to Fleksy, positions them to transition the keyboard to the iOS world when iOS 8 is released later this year.
Everyone loves free games, but many of them are not actually free. In-app purchases within a game can make just as much money for a developer that releases a paid one without any purchases after the initial download.
The European Union feels that this is an issue for consumers since many parents have run into an problem with children making in-app purchases after a “free” game has been downloaded. Google has listened and will no longer use the word for games featuring in-app purchases. Also, the company will have restrictions built to make it not so easy for people (but primarily children) to make in-app purchases without permission. These changes will all become official in September.
Everybody deals with those pesky in-app purchases from time to time, especially in mobile games. The in-app purchases help developers make money by luring potential customers in with a free (and often very limited) game, then hitting them with a paywall a few hours in. Sometimes levels are locked if you don’t pay for them, and sometimes leveling up your character is incredibly tedious if you don’t spend real money on in-game currency.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google by a New York mother who alleges Google is unfairly profiting from in-app purchases by permitting minors to make them without parents’ knowledge. The action is similar to an issue that Apple just recently resolved over a similar business model. According to one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff, Google has failed to incorporate reasonable controls that results in minors racking up excessive charges for “worthless in-game currency.”
Following the changes made to the Google Play Store app last year, Google has also made a little change to its web version of the Play Store as well. The Play Store will now indicate, below the ‘Install’ button, whether an application includes in-app purchases (IAP) as well . Google added an indicator for in-app purchases to its Play Store app last December, and it’s good to see that it has ported the change to its web version as well.
This is useful to decide whether an app is worth the try or not. However, it’s quite difficult to determine whether the app is a freemium model and is completely based on in-app purchases or it only includes a few in-app purchases to remove certain restrictions such as Ads.
Via: Android Police
If you’ve ever let a child play with your smartphone, then you know how worrisome that can be. A wrong tap here, another wrong tap there and your credit card might be charged for money that you’d rather keep in your account. Fortunately, Google has a hidden setting to enable password protection and prevent accidental purchases from the Google Play Store. All you need to do is follow the steps after the break and you’re golden.
Amazon has announced a new currency system, appropriately titled Amazon Coins, for its Kindle Fire lineup. The Coins can be used on the Kindle Fire (and presumably other Android devices as well) to buy apps, games, and most importantly, in-app content. And when it launches in May, Amazon’s going to be giving away “tens of millions of dollars” of Coins to users to kickstart the program. Afterwards, the coins will be available to purchase normall. All applications submitted to the App Store before April 25th will be able to exchange the Amazon Coins automatically.
This isn’t a new concept, as it’s similar to what Facebook does for their games and apps, but I think it’ll be interesting to see how Amazon puts its own spin on the idea. In their press release, they made a bold claim that they see higher revenue per user than any other Android platform. Although they didn’t give any specific numbers for us to dissect, if its true, this Coins idea is definitely going to help change the way we view application stores and markets, which is better for consumers and developers. We’ll be sure to let you know if any more details pop up between now and May.
Similar to some of the aftermath of Google I/O this past summer, as Amazon’s press event last week fades into history we are starting to discover some other changes in their ecosystem that may have been overlooked in the excitement of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD announcement. One of these new features Amazon is implementing is the ability for developers to sell physical goods “in-app.” Initially this appears to only be rolling out in games, but other uses are sure to emerge. This capability will be a point of differentiation compared to Google and Apple.
Amazon has indicated their first partner is Activision, which plans to make toys available in its Skylanders game. The toys will connect to the game using a “portal” plugged into a videogame console. Once plugged in, the toy activates a character inside the game. In order to purchase the characters, players will buy them from within the game using Amazon’s 1-Click Purchasing. Amazon indicates a player’s progression with a character in the console version of the game will carryover to the mobile version. This will likely be achieved using Amazon’s new Whispersync for games capability that was announced last week. An indication of how important games are to Amazon’s overall strategy is the announcement that the new Kindle Fire will have a separate tab to access the games category in the Appstore.
Is the ability to order physical goods something to get excited about? Can you think of any ways this could be used effectively outside of games?
source: All Things D
For one week, Google is promoting Collectibles Week, an initiative to drive in-game sales for over 20 games in the Play Store. Using the psychological and persuasive technique known as scarcity, Google hopes to get gamers to buy or unlock limited edition items within these games. After the week is over, those items will no longer be available.
The collectible items range from Android themed clothing for Stardom: The A-List to a special gilded rifle, gold knuckles, and lots of gold for Crime City. Collectibles Week ends this Friday, so get your collectible item now.
Participating games are slightly different between the U.S. and internationally. Click the appropriate source link for your list.
source: play store (u.s.), play store (international)