In the world of free-to-play, the term free has begun to lose its original meaning, especially given the rise of in-app purchases. The European Commission got fed up, and asked both Apple and Google to implement changes, which will result in Google preventing games with in-app purchases from labeling themselves as free.
Even though I don't really play many of these games, it's hard to argue these additional clarifications aren't desperately needed for a sector of video games that feels increasingly focused on misleading consumers about the true cost of playing. Free is no longer free.
"This is significant for consumers" said EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimic as part of the announcement. "In particular, children must be better protected when playing online."
It's unclear if these changes will be reflected worldwide, but Google promised the changes would be implemented by the end of September in Europe.
The EU wasn't happy with Apple's response, though it acknowledged the company would be tackling the problem. In a statement to Engadget, it pointed to its parental control settings, curated Kids Section on the App Store, and an upcoming iOS 8 feature where in-app purchases need to be personally approved by a parent.