Apple's Pay Once And Play aims to limit in-app purchases



We've all seen the headlines. "Mother faces £7,000 phone bill for son's gaming". "Parents fork out £30m on in app purchases".

It's the sort of thing that happens when five-year-old Danny invests in a worrying amount of virtual weapons on Zombies vs Ninja in mere minutes.

Apple's new Pay Once And Play feature aims to make it easier for Danny's family to be alerted when a bank account attached to a device is at risk from excessive shuriken (a type of dart, in ninja vocab) purchases.

Image caption There are several sections to the Pay Once and Play feature

The new section promotes games that don't have any in-app purchases on the front page of the App Store.

Pay Once And Play is organised into three sub-sections; recent releases, blockbuster games and App Store originals.

Apple has recently dealt with numerous complaints over the nature of so-called freemium games being advertised as free downloads while effectively hiding major features behind in-app purchases.

Users are now told if a games contains In-App Purchases
Image caption Apple recently added a specific label to indicate in-app purchases

Other companies have had issues with the way they make users aware of extra costs.

In September, Google was told to pay more than $19m (£11.6m) to settle a formal complaint over unauthorised in-app purchases.

The complaint came from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which said Google should do more to warn people about how much they were spending.

The settlement required Google to tell all those who made in-app purchases about how to get a refund.

Google pLay screen grab
Image caption Google Play also itells users if a game includes in-app purchases

Google Play users on Android devices now receive a warning that a game "offers in-app purchases" before downloading.

In-app purchases are listed next to an app's details (ratings, downloads, file size) and on "App permissions" screen.

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