Google is now allowing Play Store developers to sign up for a lower 15% service fee, the company has announced. This means developers will be able to keep more of the money made from app sales on the Play Store.
In an email sent to developers today, the company is letting them know that they can now sign up for the new fee using the Play Console. Developers will have to create an account group and say whether they have any associated developer accounts before signing up. The new fee will be launching in the second half of the year, which means the rules to qualify for the lower fee have to be slightly different. When Google announced the initiative, it said that it will only take a 15% fee on revenue that’s lower than $1 million per year. Because we’re starting halfway through 2021, that threshold will be $500,000 this year.
Google wasn’t the first to announce something like this, though. Apple launched its App Store Small Business Program in late 2020 with a similarly low fee. However, there are some differences. Apple takes a 15% fee when developers have less than $1 million in revenue within the year. When that threshold is crossed, Apple takes 30% of all the revenue. Google has a similar threshold, but it only takes 30% on the additional revenue past $1 million. The first million is still under the 15% service fee.
The reason this all happened is that some developers – specifically Epic Games – started blasting Apple and Google for their high fees and closed ecosystems. Google initially responded to criticism by actually making it harder to bypass its 30% Play Store fee, making this announcement all the more interesting. Epic actually responded to the announcement back in March, saying that it “may alleviate a small part of the financial burden developers have been shouldering, this does not address the root of the issue.” The company further added: “Android needs to be fully open to competition, with a genuinely level playing field among platform companies, app creators, and service providers. Competition in payment processing and app distribution is the only path to a fair app marketplace.”