Google recently announced that they are considering adding In-App Purchase price ranges to the Play Store. This comes on the heels of Google’s loss in court that forced them to pay $19M in IAP refunds as well as the fire Google and Apple have been receiving for the poor control users have over their IAP payments especially when it comes to children. Apple also faced the same problems and were forced to add more controls and more transparency and today it’s Google’s turn.
Google already made one change earlier this year. They improved the control users have over In-App Purchases by adding more configuration options regarding the password requirement. This week Google also hinted that they are going to display the price range of virtual goods offered in any app in the store.
One impact of this change on developers is that these moves by Apple and Google potentially increase users’ trust in their stores. Developers that considered alternative stores should check to see where the wind is blowing with regards to store download volumes.
The more important change is how the new change might impact users’ decision to download the game or not. Parents might not allow their kids to download games with IAP items that reach $99 so savvy developers might limit the items in their in game store to $19.99 or $29.99. The change unintentionally gives advantage to games that focus on selling consumables. Even when the biggest item in the store is $9.99, payments can accumulate quickly if the game allows the user to purchase them over and over again. I expect to see more developers adopting a virtual economy model that includes single use items, resources and other consumables such as: lives, shots and fuel.