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Europe wants better safeguards on in-app iOS purchases


It appears the European Commission isn't thrilled with Apple's slow movement to provide more safeguards from accidental in-app purchases made on its devices. The administration issued a press release today discussing joint action from the firm and member states to enforce better protection for consumers in regards to incidental purchases, praising Google's proposed solutions to the issue.

"Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation," the European Commission wrote, noting that Apple said it will address the issues in due time, though it did not provide a time-frame for the changes. An Apple spokesman told Reuters that "over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked," and that it will "continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns."

The changes Google will make to its app marketplace in Europe, which it expects to complete by the end of September, include not allowing developers to use the word "free" when games feature the ability to purchase additional content. Google also adapted its default purchase settings so that payments must be authorized before every in-app transaction, though mobile users will have the ability to change those settings.

The news follows the UK's Advertising Standards Agency upholding a complaint against EA earlier this month, in which it determined that the publisher misled customers by labeling Dungeon Keeper (seen above) as "free." EA received criticism from customers for diverting ratings on Google Play when players selected any rating lower than five stars from within the app, and 22 Cans head Peter Molyneux called the game's microtransaction system "ridiculous" in February. Just last week, EA Mobile head Frank Gibeau said he believed the developer "innovated too much" on Dungeon Keeper. The European Commission held a meeting in late February to discuss concerns related to free-to-play games, noting that "games advertised as 'free' should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved."

[Image: EA Games]

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