Apple added a ‘Pay Once and Play’ section to the front page of its App Store, promoting ‘great games with no in-app purchases’ – titles that users only pay to download, and including Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto.
The company has offered traditional paid-for games for a number of years, but many developers have gradually shifted to a freemium model – free to download, but with in-app purchases, for example to progress in the game faster or gain extra lives.
But freemium apps have come under scrutiny for many reasons, including children making purchases without the knowledge of their parents.
App Store’s new section is divided into three categories: blockbuster games, recent releases and app store originals, for users to “enjoy hours of uninterrupted fun with complete experiences”.
The download button for freemium apps, which used to say ‘free’, was recently changed to ‘get’, and the App Store also features ‘learn more about in-app purchases’ and ‘parents’ guides.
Last year, Apple settled a dispute concerning in-app purchasing with the US Federal Trade Commission, in which it agreed to refund a minimum of $32.5 million for in-app purchases made by children without parental consent.
Last month, Apple, Amazon, Google and Gameloft agreed to remove the word ‘free’ from freemium app promotions in Italy, following an investigation by the Italian competition authority.