EU Pushes Apple, Google to Drop "Free" from Games with In-app Purchases

The European Union's European Commission thinks free games with in-app purchases shouldn't be called "free," and has been pushing Apple and Google to change how they represent those apps to buyers. Google has capitulated, and now the EU is calling out Apple for failing to take action, although Apple thinks it's already doing more than other companies to keep consumers well informed.

EU wants Apple to stop calling games with in-app purchases EU wants Apple to stop calling games with in-app purchases "free"

The EU's concerns stem from complaints that free games often include on-app purchase options that trick children into spending real money. With real money changing hands, the EU doesn't think the games qualify as truly free and shouldn't be labeled as such.

Google's new app store policies will change at the end of September when the company drops the term "free" from games that include in-app purchases, and a new system will go live to help monitor for potential EU law violations.

Apple, however, has not announced any changes to its App Store in EU member countries. Instead, the company issued a statement to Engadget today saying,

Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We've also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.

These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we're adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.

Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns.

The European Commission doesn't plan to take any action against Apple, at least for now, and instead will leave that up to EU member countries.