People buying mobile games on Android will now have a better idea of what they could end up spending on microtransactions.
Google updated its Play app market today to reveal more information in response to the European Union cracking down on free-to-play mobile games. The biggest change is that customers downloading apps on Google Play will now see a price range for in-app purchases. For example, if you go to download the free Just Dance Now game from publisher Ubisoft, you will see that you can spend anywhere between 99 cents and $63.92 on digital goods. This change is to help give consumers more information and to help protect Google and developers from liability. The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, held meetings earlier this year to discuss what to do about what it considers the shady practices of mobile games.
In the U.S. earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission forced Tiny Monsters developer TinyCo to pay a $300,000 fine for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPA). This is something that Google and other companies involved in mobile-gaming transactions are acutely aware of and want to avoid.
The price range isn’t the only thing that Google Play shows now that it didn’t before. Consumers will now also have the mailing address of the developers that make their games.
For Just Dance Now, we can see that the developer (listed as Ubisoft Mobile Games) is located at 28 rue Armand Carrel Street in a suburb of Paris. We’ve contacted Ubisoft to ask if this address is for the actual location, a post office box, or something else. We’ll update with its response.
Ubisoft isn’t the only developer with its address visible on Google Play. Just about any studio that has in-app purchases has its full mailing address out in the open now.
Again, this is about Google making customers feel safe. If players feel cheated by a game or if a kid accidentally buys $1,000 in microtransactions, having a physical address could give consumers another avenue to resolve their issues.
Regulation may continue to come down on mobile gaming, but Google at least seems determined to implement what measures it can before it comes to that.