Developers can now request a 6-month delay on Google’s Play Billing requirement
The Google Play Store, like most other app stores, takes a cut of all revenue a developer earns from in-app purchases if the Google Play Billing Library is used to process payments. That revenue cut used to be 30% for all developers using the library, but it was recently lowered to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue earned each year. Not every app on the Play Store is required to use Google’s Play Billing Library, but starting September 30, 2021, some apps that were previously exempted from the requirement will be forced to do so. At least, that’s when this policy change would have taken effect if developers don’t take advantage of the 6-month extension that Google just announced.
Back in September of last year, Google provided some “clarity” on its Payments Policy. The Play Store has always required that apps use the Google Play Billing Library whenever an app sells digital goods consumed entirely within the app. However, Google says they “heard feedback that [their] policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play’s billing system,” so they updated their Payments Policy and set September 30, 2021, as the date for when apps will need to comply with the updated policy. While Google wasn’t very forthcoming about which apps would be affected by the updated Payments Policy — only stating that a fraction of developers with apps on Play will be affected — a recent lawsuit filed by 36 U.S. states alleged that this policy change will force subscription streaming services for music and video apps to submit to Google’s payment system.
Of course, Google’s blog post from today doesn’t mention this lawsuit, instead citing the “effects of the global pandemic…making it tougher than usual for [developers] to make the technical updates related to the policy.” Regardless of the actual reason behind this announcement, developers whose apps will be affected by the updated Payments Policy can soon request a 6-month extension before they have to implement the Play Billing Library. Starting on July 22nd, developers can apply for an extension through the Help Center, giving them until March 31, 2022, to comply with the updated policy. Once the new policy comes into effect, developers can choose to implement either Play Billing Library version 3.0 or the newer 4.0, though Google will only require integrating the former in a few months.