Google has revised the rules for in-app purchases in the Play Store. With this, Google wants to ensure that apps no longer circumvent the Play Store’s in-app payment system.
Both Google and Apple require a share of 30% of all in-app purchases in their respective app stores. This is not new; so far, Google has been comparatively lenient and has allowed companies not to use the payment system in the Play Store. Now, this is going to change.
Google has revised the Play Store guidelines. The new set of rules will apply from January 20, 2021. In a recent blog post, Google gives companies a transition period until September 30, 2021. Google did not provide any information about what happens to apps if they don’t use the Play Store’s in-app payment system by the deadline.
The change affects all apps that offer the purchase of in-app content — be it additional goods in games but also subscriptions for video streaming or music streaming. So far, most subscription service providers have avoided this, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+.
With the tightening of the Play Store guidelines, Google has also announced that Android 12 will make it easier to install alternative app stores. Google did not provide any further information. Since it always takes many months in the Android ecosystem until a new major version of Android is available on a large number of devices, this will probably only be relevant for many in two years.
Apple and Google make billions of dollars every year because they get a 30% stake when an app is purchased or in-app checkouts are used through Apple or Google’s billing system. Some providers see this as an unfair fee and describe it as an unjustified tax.
Epic Games and Apple are currently arguing about the App Store fee. Epic Games wants to use its own payment option, but Apple insists on compliance with the app store rules. It is still unclear whether there will be a dispute between Google and various providers.