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When I launch the successful iOS game "Clash of Clans", right in the beginning I get the following message in an iOS info pop-up:

"Clash of Clans is free to play, but you can speed up your progress with in-app purchases. If desired, purchases can be disabled in the general settings of your device."

What's the reason the developer shows this message right in the beginning? Is there any legal obligation to do so?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's pretty obvious that there's no legal obligation, otherwise all the games would do so? It's probably just a nice thing to have for concerned parents? \$\endgroup\$ – bummzack Jun 11 '14 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ You do not mention which country you're targeting so answers will at best be misleading, and at worst be for an insufficient number of countries. Do some research. \$\endgroup\$ – Lars Viklund Jun 11 '14 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I play that game, US, I do not get that. Perhaps it's because I've purchased things. Sounds like a marketing tactic. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Swindell Jun 11 '14 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lars: well, this is what I'm doing right now. Regarding country, I know that clash of clans shows the message at least when played in the US and in Switzerland. I've seen other games showing such a message. What I wonder is whether there is really a good reason for this, or whether just game developers started copying the practice because they deemed it necessary because other games were doing it \$\endgroup\$ – user1282931 Jun 12 '14 at 14:59
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There is no legal obligation to do so. There is no Apple TOS obligation to do so. And I will disagree with the other answer and say: There is no moral obligation to do so.

The only way to know why they decided to put this message up would be to ask them. But I suspect it is to let people know that they can buy IAPs to speed things up. It's advertising.

On the iOS app store, any game that contains In App Purchases will say so on the screen where the user buys the app...

iOS Store sample with IAPs available

As far as I'm concerned this is enough notice to the user. The game doesn't force you to buy them. So the way I see it, Apple puts these hints here to say something similar to "batteries not included".

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This is simply a bit of advertising and a warning mixed in to one. They're promoting the fact that you can speed up your progress in the game with purchases. Further, they're letting you know that if you don't want to spend any money, even accidentally, you can disable in-app purchases in the general settings of your device.

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There's no legal obligation to do so (only a moral one, if you want to look at it that way). Further, Apple does not mandate that your application include such a notice either (at least not at the time of this writing). Clash of Clans is probably just doing this to be respectful of its player base.

If Apple did ever change their policy to mandate such a thing, it's likely they'd just force it on you (they can tell if you application has the potential for IAP; they do display this information on the App Store when you are purchasing/downloading an application) and display the prompt when you call into one of their APIs. Much like they do with the permission prompts for accessing your contacts, et cetera.

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