Skip to main content

Google rolls out a new option to curb in-app purchases in Android games

Google rolls out a new option to curb in-app purchases in Android games

Share this story

Following a recent lawsuit, and inquiry by the European Commission about protections for in-app purchases, Google's begun offering new controls for shoppers on its Play Store to restrict how those transactions are made. A new version of the Play Store adds the option to require a password each and every time in-app purchases are made, something that provides a considerably higher amount of protection than the 30-minute window Google gives users by default. That half hour setting — which continues to be an option — means that extra purchases can be made without a password, just as long as they're within that window.

Change comes days after a fresh lawsuit

The change, which was spotted by Android Police, comes just days after Google was sued over the 30-minute window by a New York woman. That suit seeks class action, and stems from a $65.95 purchase of in-game currency the woman's child made in the game Marvel Run Jump Smash! It's also less than two weeks where Google, along with Apple, met with the European Commission to discuss reforms to so-called freemium games and apps, including how in-app payments are made. Google, for its part, telegraphed that it was working on a fix in January, saying it was "working on new features that give our customers even more information and control over their Google Play purchases."

In Apple's case, the stakes over what were viewed as lax parental controls in the App Store were high. Consumers, and later the Federal Trade Commission filed complaints against the company for its 15-minute window, eventually resulting in a settlement in January that required Apple to pay out $32.5 million to 37,000 different customers, and change how it informed consumers about the feature.

Along with the change, Android Community reports that Google's added an indicator to whether apps and games have in-app purchases right when a user gives it permission to install, on top of the mention on individual app pages. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: With mention of Google saying it was planning new controls in January.