Google to stop advertising games with IAPs as 'free'

In-app purchases will disqualify you from the "free" label in Europe, following new guidelines from the European Commission.


Google has announced that by the end of September, it will no longer advertise games as "free" in Europe when they have in-app purchases. It will also start requiring payment verification before each purchase.

The changes come in light of requests from the European Commission, which recently laid out guidelines for app stores. The Verge reports that among the requests, the commission has asked that steps be taken to assure games and apps do not mislead with claims of being "free," that games give clear indication of how payments are made, and that they do not directly ask children to make purchases. It also requires an e-mail address to send complaints. 

Apple has also agreed to make changes, but didn't detail specific steps. The changes from both Google and Apple could be strictly localized to Europe for the time being, however, as no American body has issued similar restrictions.

This comes follows just after the UK's Advertising Standards Authority banned Electronic Arts from advertising its game Dungeon Keeper as "free." As we noted at the time, it was a good step, but endemic of a larger problem with the way free-to-play games are marketed.

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