Apple highlights games without in-app purchases in the App Store


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All too often, freemium games in the App Store feel a little scammy. Sure, you can download them for free, but many, many freemium games then sacrifice playability to squeeze nickels and dimes out of players—forcing you to pay to get past certain levels in a timely manner, or making you purchase digital goods to advance the game in any meaningful way. Pushing against that trend, Apple is now highlighting games without in-app purchases in a new section in the App Store.


Apple's Pay Once & Play section on the App Store app for iOS.

You can see the new section in iTunes on the desktop or the App Store app on iOS under the heading "Pay Once & Play: Great Games with No In-App Purchases." The featured games range in price anywhere from $1.99 to $15.99. Most titles, however, are typically priced around $3 to $5.

Why this matters: In November, Apple changed the label for free apps in the App Store from "Free" to "Get" worldwide. While the move covered all free apps, the change came largely after pressure from the European Commission to stop advertising apps offering in-app purchases as free. Google made a similar change to Google Play in July for European Android users. Apple's new pay once, play forever section is a move in the same direction but will be far more useful to iOS users who want to avoid freemium games entirely and drop a few bucks for a full, fully unlocked gaming experience.

Perusing the catalog

Many of the more popular games on iOS use the freemium model with in-app purchases, such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Subway Surfers. Nevertheless, there are some great titles in the anti-in-app purchases section as well.

You can find major titles such as Minecraft Pocket Edition, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Final Fantasy VI.  But there's also killer independent stuff like Thomas Was Alone, Limbo, and Leo's Fortune.

Have a look around and you'll probably find a few games you won't mind paying for—especially since you don't have to worry about forking over dollars for in-game currency or digital farm animals.

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