Last month Google raised the maximum price of apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store in many markets, sometimes doubling the highest available price tier. Now they're going the other way, lowering the minimum price for a handful of countries that currently have access to paid apps on the Store. Oh, and this time they wrote a blog post, so your friendly neighborhood tech blogger doesn't have to track down each individual change and write them out. Read More
When the best thing that you can say about the latest crop of a long-running video game property is that "the tie-in children's TV show isn't completely terrible," it's not a ringing endorsement. Such is the case with Sonic Boom: after nearly two decades of hit-and-miss remixes on the familiar Sonic formula, SEGA hit a real stinker with the almost universally-reviled Wii U/3DS dual release last year. The "hip" new designs for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and the rest of the gang might have been forgiven if the game itself hadn't been one of the worst entries in Sonic's 24-year catalog. Read More
If you're not getting enough intrigue and treachery from HBO's Game of Thrones series on Sunday nights, TellTale is still pumping out new episodes in its licensed adventure game. Episode 4, Sons of Winter, is now available as a $5 in-app purchase for those who have played through the first three portions of the game. There are six episodes in total, so the first "season" of the adventure game should be wrapping up in two or three more months. Read More
Fancy a bit of customization for your Android version of Minecraft? You'll soon be accommodated by developer Mojang. According to this blog post, the Pocket Edition of the game will get a significant update later this week, with player skins being the biggest addition. If you've played the PC or console version of Minecraft, you know that custom skins for player avatars have become a big part of the game's community aspect. Read More
Auto-correcting keyboard Fleksy made headlines last month with its interesting support for Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatches, but don't let it be said that they're neglecting the standard Android app. Today the company is updating its unconventional keyboard to version 3.0, notably adding the "Fleksy Store" to the premium version. This store will offer themes for users to buy via in-app purchase. At launch (sometime this morning, US time) there will be six themes available, and anyone who's purchased the keyboard gets a free bonus theme. Read More
The World Ends With you came out on the Nintendo DS in 2008, and it quickly became a surprising hit, reviving developer Square Enix in the minds of RPG fans everywhere. With the fresh setting of contemporary Tokyo, an art style inspired by graffiti, and a unique battle system that took advantage of the DS hardware, it's easy to see why. The enhanced iOS version came out almost two years ago, but as typical with Square releases, it's just now coming to Android. Read More
You can't talk about mobile gaming without mentioning the elephant in the room: the free-to-play model. The bane of many a purist gamer and unwitting parent, an over-reliance on free downloads and hooks for in-app purchases has made mobile gaming a minefield of games based on upsell and addiction. Italy's had enough, and its antitrust authority is investigating app store owners Google, Apple, and Amazon, and game publisher Gameloft, for unfair commercial practices. Read More
Attention, parents: if you've used your Google account to buy apps, books, videos, or music on Google Play, your credit card information is stored. If you give your phone or tablet to your kids, they might be able to buy stuff that you don't necessarily want. That's a lesson that Ilana Imber-Gluck learned after her 5-year-old son spent $65.95 on Marvel Run Jump Smash. Unsurprisingly, she chafed at the experience, suing Google in a northern California court on behalf of herself and "all others similarly situated."
The central issue seems to be a 30-minute window after downloading an app, during which the user - whoever that might be - can rack up in-app purchases without supplying a password. Read More
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
This change mirrors the one made to the on-device Play Store back in December. Read More
There are a lot of apps like SwipePad, and no matter how many we cover, I keep coming back to the original. Loopr is the first app in a while that's tempted me away, thanks to both an impressive visual presentation and some thoughtful features. At its heart Loopr is a a quick app launcher/switcher with the usual side-swiping mechanism, this time launched as a semicircle of icons similar to Circle Launcher Widget. Read More