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Apple Promoting Games With No In-App Purchases

Feb. 13, 2015
Personal Finance
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Tired of mobile games that appear free, only to start playing and find you need to make in-app purchases to get all of their content?

Apple, it would appear, feels your pain.

On Friday morning, the British version of Apple’s App Store prominently featured a new category called “Pay Once and Play.” Noticed by Apple blog MacStories, the section promises “great games with no in-app purchases.”

A similar addition was expected when Apple updated the U.S. version of the App Store later Friday.

Over the past few years, the “freemium” model has become increasingly popular among app developers for Apple’s iOS mobile system, Google’s Android and other systems that run games for smartphones and tablets.

The games are generally free, but offer only limited play. Extra content, sometimes including in-game items required to win the game or remain competitive with other players, can only be accessed by paying for it in transactions that developers call micropayments.

By profiling games without those transactions, Apple appears to be acknowledging frustration among some consumers at the games, which increasingly have been criticized as confusing and misleading.

Micropayments have also led to reports of children racking up hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars worth of app-store charges, not realizing that they were costing their parents money.

As part of agreements with the Federal Trade Commission, both Apple and Google have refunded millions of dollars to parents whose children racked up exorbitant app-store bills.

On  Friday, the section in the App Store was a mix of blockbuster games, like “Minecraft” and “XCom: Enemy Within,” new releases and hits by independent developers.

Image via iStock.