Changes to Google Play's service fee in 2021

In March 2021, we announced a change to our service fee to help boost developer success on Google Play. Starting July 1, 2021, the service fee for each developer will be 15% for the first $1M (USD) of earnings you make each year when you sell digital goods or services.

This article explains how the 15% service fee tier will be applied and how to enroll.

Enrollment

To officially enroll for the 15% service fee tier, you must: 

To enroll for the 15% service fee:

  1. Open Play Console and go to the Associated developer accounts page.
  2. Follow these instructions to create an Account Group and let us know whether or not you have any ADAs.
  3. When you've finished setting up your Account Group, you can enroll for the 15% service fee on the Associated developer accounts page. You'll see a banner on the page with the heading, "When you've finished setting up your account group, enroll for the 15% service fee." Underneath, click Review and enroll.
    • Important: Your account group must include all of your ADAs before you enroll. You won't be able to enroll if you have requests that you haven't responded to or if some Developer Accounts haven't responded to your request to add them to your account group. Learn more about managing requests here
  4. Read and accept the 15% service fee Terms of Service.
  5. Click Accept and enroll

After enrolling, you can see your enrollment status any time at the bottom of the Associated developer accounts page. If you enroll before July 1, 2021, note that the 15% service fee will apply as of July 1, 2021. If you enroll after July 1,  the 15% service fee will apply as of the date you complete enrollment.

15% service fee for the first $1M (USD) of earnings

Starting July 1, 2021, the service fee will be 15% for the first $1M (USD) of earnings you make each year when you sell digital goods or services.

If you have multiple Associated Developer Accounts (ADAs) in your Account Group, the 15% service fee tier will be applied as long as the total earnings of all ADAs in the group are under $1M (USD), and every ADA will receive the benefit of the 15% service fee tier. Once the total earnings exceed $1M (USD), the service fee is 30% for all ADAs for the rest of the year.

Earnings will be calculated on a calendar year basis (January 1–December 31). As the program starts halfway through the year (July 1, 2021), the 2021 earning limit will be prorated to $500,000 (USD).

Note: The 15% service fee tier will go into effect on July 1, 2021 for all developers who have completed enrollment before this date. For developers who complete enrollment after July 1, 2021 the 15% will be applied starting from the date when enrollment is completed.

Understanding Associated Developer Accounts (ADAs)

Familiarize yourself with this glossary to ensure you have a full understanding of terms like “Associated Developer Account” and “Primary Developer Account.”

Account Groups are a new feature in Play Console that help us understand which Developer Accounts you’re associated with. Providing this information helps us make sure you’re eligible for the 15% service fee tier and for other Google Play developer programs and Play Console features, and to provide future benefits.

All ADAs are part of an Account Group, which represents a single enrollment in the 15% service fee tier. The group’s Primary Developer Account will apply on behalf of all ADAs in the group.

Forming a group will not create or allow any additional access to individual Developer Accounts in the group. The Primary Developer Account Holder will not have permission to view or manage any content (including apps) for any ADAs added to the Account Group, unless the admins of the individual Developer Accounts explicitly add or adjust the account users or permissions.

Creating your Account Group

Go to Create and manage your Account Group to learn more about Account Groups .

Frequently asked questions

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What is an Account Group and why is Google Play asking me to create one?

Because the 15% service fee tier is applied per developer, not per account, we need to understand which accounts are associated with you so we can apply the service fee properly. 

For developers with only one account, you will create an Account Group in Play Console with the single account you own. For developers with multiple accounts, we’ll ask that you create an Account Group that lists all your Associated Developer Accounts (ADAs). These include any accounts that you own, as well as accounts owned by your subsidiary that publish apps or games that use your brand features. The 15% service fee tier will apply to your total earnings across all of your ADAs. 

What are “brand features?”

Brand features are defined in the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA). Some examples include intellectual property users might identify and attribute to a single developer, app/game or series, such as: 

  • Developer name
  • App or game name
  • Character likenesses, character names, realm names, and plot settings
  • Unique/recognized item likenesses and names
  • Unique and distinguishable logos, fonts, and phrases
Why is Google Play using brand features to determine account association?

If you control other companies that publish apps and games to Google Play using your brand features you will need to add them to your Account Group. Google Play’s goal is to ensure we apply the 15% service fee tier to each developer appropriately. We consider brand features a clear indication of which accounts belong to a developer because these brand features meaningfully connect a developer's portfolio of apps and games for users and contribute to why they install and pay for those apps on Google Play.

How does my Account Group enroll in the 15% service fee tier?

The Primary Developer Account of the group will apply on behalf of all Developer Accounts in the group with a single enrollment. The service fee will be applied to the aggregate earnings of all accounts in the group. As long as the aggregate earnings are under $1M (USD), all accounts in the group will receive the 15% service fee. When the aggregate earnings exceed $1M (USD), the service fee will change to 30% for all accounts in the group for the rest of the year.

What if I own Developer Accounts that don’t use Google Play's billing system?

Currently, Account Groups are only available to Developer Accounts that have a payments profile in Play Console. If you own accounts that don’t have a payments profile, you don’t need to list them as Associated Developer Accounts at this time. We will offer Account Groups for such accounts in Play Console later.

Are app transfers allowed?

Yes. Note that when an app is transferred between developer accounts in separate Account Groups, that all of the app’s earnings will be included in each Account Groups’ totals for that calendar year.

For example, if a developer account in Account Group A has an app that has earned $100,000 (USD) in earnings this year that is then transferred to another developer account in Account Group B, the $100,000 (USD) earnings will be included on both Account Group A and Account Group B’s total earnings for purposes of calculating the 15% service fee tier for this year.

Can I make changes to my Account Group later?

Yes. You can add or remove Developer Accounts to your group to reflect changes in account ownership. 

Note that when a Developer Account is transferred between separate Account Groups, that account’s earnings will be included in both Account Groups’ totals for that calendar year.

On what calendar basis will the annual $1M (USD) of developer earnings be determined?

Earnings will be calculated on a calendar year basis (January 1–December 31). Because the program starts halfway through the year (July 1, 2021), the limit for the second half of 2021 will be prorated to $500,000 (USD).

Note: The 15% service fee tier will go into effect on July 1, 2021 for all developers who have completed enrollment before this date. If a developer completes enrollment after July 1st, the 15% will be applied starting the date when enrollment is completed.

How will non-USD currencies be taken into account?

The $1M of developer earnings is defined in USD. Transactions in other currencies will be converted using the appropriate foreign exchange rates which are updated throughout the day.

When will developers receive the 15% service fee?

The 15% service fee tier will be applied shortly after the developer completes the required enrollment steps in Play Console and will be reflected in the next monthly payment cycle.

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