Mobile app stores are choc full of freemium apps which cost nothing to download… but which have functionality that can only be unlocked through in-app purchases.

Soon Android users will be able to get an idea of how much money you’re expected to spend on one of these “free” apps. Starting September 30th, the Google Play Store will show price ranges for in-app purchases available in Android apps.

google play logo

Sometimes in-app purchases let you do things like remove advertisements, or unlock new features. But there are plenty of games that require you to pay money to upgrade a race car, get more lives, more ammo, a bigger gun, or other stuff that you might need in order to actually play a game. Sometimes entire game levels are locked away behind in-app purchases.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing… developers need to make a living. But it’s be nice to know whether apps and games are truly free before you download them.

Apple already offers prices for popular in-app purchases for games in the App Store.

via Android Central and Android Police

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8 replies on “Google Play Store to show price ranges for in-app purchases (starting Sept 30th)”

  1. In-app purchases are a legitimate business model in some cases. Selling people an app that requires additional in-app purchases to do what it was supposed to do in the first place is slimy. Making a game that has been intentionally crippled so that you can’t get the in-game currency to do anything without constantly having to pay money to buy more is slimy. Offering a free app that has an in-app purchase to remove advertisements or to add additional features that aren’t part of the core of the product is not. App developers need food too.

  2. App developers are just going to figure out how to skew the numbers. Game devs are just going to sell ingame currency in smaller amounts, to give them a lower “cost” rating in the Play store. Its not going to change the dynamic of the game, or the greediness of the developers.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if that makes some of the app developers drop their most expensive in-app purchases, but they also might move to a model where more frequent purchases are required, to compensation. A cost-per-hour of playtime metric would be nice, but I doubt there is any practical way to do it.

  4. That’s neat I guess but you know what would be a better Play enhancement? Letting users roll back updates– sometimes new isn’t better and it’s even more frustrating when you’re stuck with a broken version. Along those same lines, allow us to exclude individual apps from the “Update all” button. Manually updating each app to avoid updating a single app is time consuming (read: not smart).

    1. Rolling back is never going to happen. Not only would it complicate customer support for the app developers, it would leave them unable to close exploits that they might have accidentally left in there.

      1. I see your point however they already support the older versions by way of customers who haven’t/can’t upgrade. This isn’t a new thing either, PC software devs have been supporting multiple versions of software for decades. Not too long ago I had a problem with Skype not launching on 64bit Windows but whenever I rolled back to a certain version the problem was resolved. The thread re: this issue at the Skype forums was pages long and months unresolved– Skype would have lost users had I not been able to use the older version.

  5. I enable and disable my google payment information whenever I want to make a purchase. I don’t want my kids (or myself) to make an incorrect in-app purchase. I average about 4 purchases a year. I don’t automatically pay my ebills either. I am a push-only type person.

  6. Good move. Itunes already does this. In app purchases often feel like bait and switch.

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