Google has announced that app developers in Europe — and only Europe — will be able to implement alternative billing systems for apps and games listed in Google Play.
On top of this, the company says that although any developer that does choose to use a different billing system will still be required to pay a service fee, it will be a reduced fee. The changes are in response to the recent Digital Markets Act.
Announcing the change, Google says: “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). 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”.
“As part of our efforts to comply with these new rules, we are announcing a new program to support billing alternatives for EEA users. This will mean developers of non-gaming apps can offer their users in the EEA an alternative to Google Play’s billing system when they are paying for digital content and services”.
Developers who choose to use an alternative billing system will need to meet appropriate user protection requirements, and service fees and conditions will continue to apply in order to support our investments in Android and Play. When a consumer uses an alternative billing system, the service fee the developer pays will be reduced by 3%. Since 99% of developers currently qualify for a service fee of 15% or less, those developers would pay a service fee of 12% or lower based on transactions through alternative billing for EEA users acquired through the Play platform.As of today, Google will not remove, or reject updates of, non-gaming apps from participating developers for offering alternative billing systems for EEA users.
The company goes on to explain:
Google Play’s billing system will continue to be required for apps and games distributed via Play to users outside the EEA, and for games distributed to users within the EEA. We expect to expand billing alternatives to developers of gaming apps for their users in the EEA, in advance of the DMA’s effective date.
Google continues, pointing out that it is not going to wait until DMA kicks in:
Although the DMA does not take effect for some time, we are launching this program now to allow us to work closely with our developer partners and ensure our compliance plans serve the needs of our shared users and the broader ecosystem.
Any developers who are interested in learning more about the program and signing up can do so in Google’s Help Center. Google promise that more details will be made available in the coming weeks.