Google Bends on In-App Payments Yet Again

Posted on July 19, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google with 10 Comments

It’s happening, sort of. Google announced today that it would allow Android apps (but not games) to use third-party billing systems in the European Economic Area (EEA), another step forward in ending the nightmare of platform provider overbilling of developers.

“We recognize that the recent passage of the Digital Markets Act will require Google Play and other industry players to adjust their current operating model for users in the European Economic Area (EEA),” Google director Estelle Werth announced. “We are committed to meeting these new requirements while ensuring that we can continue to keep people safe on our platforms and invest in Android and Play for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.”

To meet this legal requirement, Google will support “billing alternatives” for in-app payments for EEA users. This means that developers of non-gaming apps can now offer EEA users alternatives to Google Play’s billing system when they are paying for digital content and services.

It’s not entirely open, unfortunately. Providers of alternative payment systems can only offer fee structures that are 3 percent lower than Google’s. So these fees will be 12 percent or 27 percent, depending on the size of the developer. And Google Play’s billing system is still a requirement for games because that’s where the vast majority of in-app payments—and Google’s Play Store revenues—come from. Likewise, all apps and games distributed outside the EEA will continue to have to use Google’s payment system until regulators elsewhere wake up and put a stop to that.

Developers interested in this change can learn more from the Google website.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google Bends on In-App Payments Yet Again”

  1. rm

    Wow, Google requiring the within 3% is a big middle finger to EEA. They have no right to dictate how much the third party is charging. This is a non-compete requirement.

  2. davidblouin

    I can't wait to have to subscribe to dozens of third-party billing systems...

  3. nbplopes

    Google proposal is to reduce its fee by 3% on digital services payed through alternate payment systems. This does not address in anyway DMA.

    To put it simply the DMA will not allow OS and devices to be sold in the EY with Agency model strings attached to it when it comes to large OS and Device manufacturers. The model Apple is pursuing and Google is coward copy-cat has no future in the EU. Yes these companies will be able to license they OSs and SDKs at the fee they feel entitled to ... but will not be able to control the digital service marketplace in any form or shape through either of these things. They can compete for a presence in the digital service market place like any other player.

  4. toukale

    This is such a non-event, the 3% is just shy of the 2.5%/3% most processing payments charges. Which will not save developers any money and in some case cost them more time to implement another payment system with little to no gain. Like I said, the platform owners will get their money, one way or another. The only way not to pay them is to not be on their platform.

    • anoldamigauser

      So, if Google takes 3% for the store fee, and the other payment method takes an additional 3 or 4%, then the developer is looking at losing 7%. Unless my arithmetic is off, that is a lot better than the current options of Google taking 15% or 30%.

      • toukale

        Nope it just means they will reduced their cut to (12%-27%) not much movement if you ask me, and certainly not what Epic wants. Epic wants a free ride or better yet to be able to have their own store within iOS/Android and cut the platform owners out completely. The nerve of that guy/company.

  5. lvthunder

    When will people learn these stores offer more than just payment processing?

    • anoldamigauser

      Care to elaborate on what else it is they provide for the usurious fees they charge?

      • toukale

        Here are a few, bandwidth, storage, api's, etc... to name a few. Those things are not free... it takes a lot of resources to even maintain those things at the scale Apple/Google operates. Those platform owners are also the OS developers which gets yearly updates and advancements. Folks can argue all they want about the 15%/30% but its not going to be nothing like epic wants to argue. Epic charges 5% for using their unreal engine but forego that if the game is listed in their store to which they take 12%, either way Epic is getting a cut (5%/12%).

  6. wshwe

    I will never buy apps that use 3rd party billing systems! I don't want my credit card info on such systems. App publishers that engage in these practices are evil.