Google Play Just Changed Store Fees In A Big Way

Google has announced that it will reduce its Play Store service fee by 3%, meaning that the "99% of developers" who qualify for the platform's 15% fee will see the percentage they pay drop to 12%. The change applies to the service fee paid on Play Store transactions made by Android users in the European Economic Area (EEA), which covers 27 countries, assuming it takes place through a third-party "alternative" billing system should the developer choose to use one. Likewise, the change applies specifically to the "developers of non-gaming apps," Google explained in its blog post about the change.

The company confirmed that it won't "remove, or reject updates of, non-gaming apps" that come from devs offering their EEA users access to billing options outside of the Google Play billing system — though, mind, the latter system is still required for games and other Android apps made available to users outside of the EEA, and more to the point, games made available through the Play Store to EEA users will also still need to use the Play billing system.

Google addresses that latter point, stating that it expects "to expand billing alternatives" for gaming app devs, with that likewise eventually applying to EEA users specifically. The company indicates this expansion will happen before the Digital Markets Act (DMA) passed by the European Parliament goes into effect, noting in its blog post that this overall change is part of its "efforts to comply with these new rules."

A new way of doing business

This is not the first time Google has changed its Play Store rules to accommodate third-party billing systems. The company has an alternative billing option in South Korea that slashes 4% from fees, a move made in response to country laws forbidding app stores from restricting third-party payment options on their platforms.

Google also has launched a user billing choice pilot program that allows a small number of developers to provide an additional billing system to give users more ways to pay. The Play Store is the first major app store to offer this type of service for its creators, as Apple does not offer third-party billing in its App Store — with the exception of apps offered in South Korea, that is (via Apple). Spotify is the first developer to use an alternative billing system on Google Play, as announced in March 2022, though the support isn't available to everyone yet.