Google’s Play Store has seen some major changes recently and especially in terms of their rules towards how apps are now to be listed. Back on September 18th it was reported Google was implementing an ‘address required‘ by developers who list their apps on the Play Store. This policy meant all developers would have to list an actual physical address which was connected to their apps. A day later it was also reported that Google were introducing a price-range for IAPs (in-app purchases). In short this change meant apps would have to list the prices of IAPs on the app’s Play Store listing. This in effect would give potential buyers a clearer image of what they are actually buying. An app might claim to be free but once downloaded and opened, users could find themselves paying almost anything for the actual features they were expecting or to continue gameplay. Both new policies were expected to be implemented on September 30th.
Well, the 30th is here and we can now confirm that the price-range policy has definitely began being implemented. Now if you head over to the Play Store and click on any app you should see the changes. The new IAP price information is now dispalyed under the ‘Read More’ section near the top. Once the link is clicked and the information expanded the range of prices are listed. Although this does provide users with more information on the real cost of apps it is worth noting that the information is still pretty limited and does not provide users with information on specific IAPs. For instance with the new FIFA 15 app the range is simply listed as $0.99 – $99.99 per item. This is a rather large gap between the two costs and doesn’t really advise what is available for $0.99 or the whopping $99.99. In terms of straight in-app upgrading (i.e. when an app charges one set price to unlock the full version) this is much clearer. Now apps that offer a one-time unlock simply state the cost of the unlock. In the image shown below you can now see that Brink of Consciousness by Big Fish (which is free to download) will cost $2.99 to fully unlock. So in this respect the new information is quite useful.
If you are on the Play Store today and an app you are thinking of downloading does not show any prices under the ‘Read More’ section then don’t assume it is a free app. It seems not all apps have been updated yet. The popular streaming app Allcast does offer a one-time unlock upgrade from within the app although the new price information does not seem to be appearing on the Play Store listing yet. So it seems they are still rolling out the changes. It’s also worth noting that when checked this morning the new prices are not currently being displayed on desktop versions of Play Store. At the moment this seems only available on smartphones and mobiles. What do you think of the new changes? Are they helpful or would you like even more clarity with the infamous IAPs