A CDE Definition
A free mobile application that encourages the user to make in-app purchases in order to take the program to the next level and enhance the experience. The term became popular in 2011 when children racked up large in-app charges on their iPhone game apps. See in-app purchase.
Making a purchase from within an application after it is installed and running rather than going directly to the online app store. Typically found in mobile apps, an in-app purchase is made to add enhancements or extend a subscription.
Concerns with Gaming Add-Ons
In the case of game apps, in-app purchases add extras such as more currency, clues or battlefield armaments. Starting in 2013, regulators in the U.S. and European Union (EU) began to crack down on this method, claiming children have spent inordinate sums making in-app purchases without their parents' knowledge. In 2014, EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) officials declared that if a game is advertised as free, it must be playable in a reasonably normal manner without further requiring in-app transactions. See online app store and gaming.
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