Developers are subject to a Google Play service fee based on a percentage of the purchase price or digital purchases in their app.
Developers receive significant value from Android and Google Play, and our service fee reflects this value. The service fee is also how we earn money as a business and supports our investment in Android and Google Play – including enabling us to distribute Android for free and provide the suite of tools and services that help developers build successful businesses, all while keeping our platforms safe and secure for billions of users worldwide.Why does Google Play charge a service fee?
The service fee is how we support our ongoing investments in Android and Google Play, reflects the value provided by Android and Google Play and is how we earn money as a business. Just as it costs money to develop, launch and market an app, it costs money to develop, launch and market an operating system and app store. This is a common business model for app and game shops run by Microsoft, Apple, Steam, Nintendo, Amazon and others.
There isn't a single service fee as developers operate in different situations that require different levels of support to build sustainable businesses. Of the developers who are subject to a service fee, 99% qualify for a fee of 15% or less. Learn more about our service fees in this Help Centre article.
Only the 3% of developers who charge for their apps or offer digital goods are subject to a service fee. This means that 97% of developers can distribute their apps and utilise all of our developer tools and services at no cost.
The service fee supports our investments across Android and Google Play, reflects the value provided by Android and Google Play, enables us to deliver an affordable and innovative user experience, helps developers reach users and build sustainable businesses and keeps the platform safe and secure.
Major investment areas include:
- Android and the Google Play Store: The free Android operating system enables hardware manufacturers to build a wide range of devices at different price points that gives users unprecedented choice. And the Google Play Store delivers the world's largest selection of apps and games, available in over 190 countries with personalised recommendations and easy discovery of high-quality apps.
- New Android platforms: We build platforms for new form factors such as Auto and TV to help developers increase their reach in new ways.
- Security: Consumers trust Android and Google Play because of its security, the reviews of apps to ensure that they comply with policies around safety and privacy, and with automated security of Google Play Protect that scans over 100 billion apps per day.
- App distribution: Developers can instantly reach over three billion Android users with the ability to optimise delivery by device and functionality and provide ongoing updates.
- Developer tools: Developers can run experiments, beta test, optimise store listings, analyse performance and more.
- Billing system: Users enjoy safe and trusted payments, while developers can easily transact with 700 million users using Google Play gift cards and locally relevant forms of payment.
Helping developers innovate and grow is core to our mission and we keep investing in our platform, tools and services to support them. We make it easy for developers to distribute their apps to billions of Android users and earn money from people around the world in their preferred local form of payment.
Additionally, we provide tools and services to help developers manage their app releases, promotional and re-engagement opportunities in the Play Store, tools to run experiments and optimise performance, data analytics, technical support, free training with the Play Academy and more.Want to learn more about some of the services provided to developers?
We provide tools and resources to help developers build experiences that people love, faster and easier, across every Android device. For example, Android Studio is the official integrated development environment for Android development, and includes everything that you need to build Android apps, including an SDK index for popular dependencies, app quality insights from Firebase Crashlytics and virtual device emulators.
Google Play Academy
We provide free training through Google Play Academy to developers, business people, and marketers of Google Play apps and games. Play Academy enables opportunities for new and aspiring app makers, knowledge sharing and best practices to build a successful app or game business, and developers to stay updated on changes in our tools. Developers also learn about how to design apps, prepare for launch and increase user visibility. Google Play Academy also provides training for developers looking to expand to new markets with our Go Global courses: Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Western Europe.
We offer developers the ability to beta test their apps with a subset of users that developers can gather private feedback or reply directly to app testers through the Play Console. This includes testing new versions of apps prior to their release. In addition, developers can make test versions of their app available to users on Google Play to obtain early feedback or monitor in-app metrics prior to launch.
Where a developer has run app testing either to a small or large group, developers can set up and run pre-launch reports to identify any issues with the app before release. The pre-launch report identifies potential issues with apps which may affect the user experience, such as the stability, performance and security of an app.
App performance optimisation
We provide a performance insight tool designed for developers to measure and optimise the performance of apps and games so that they have higher-quality video and less lag. This service allows developers to analyse data across many Android devices.
User privacy and security
We provide a safe and secure environment to download apps, which in turn increases the trust of app users. All apps distributed through Google Play, including Google’s own, are subject to the Play policies. Google’s Play policies include policies relating to the use and handling of user data. We publish information to help users understand what information is collected, why it is collected and how users can update, manage, export or delete their information.
App scans to prevent malware installs
Google Play Protect scans Android devices to warn users if an app contains known malware, regardless of whether they have been downloaded through Play, a third-party app store or side-loading.
We additionally provide developers with an API to help them ensure that their servers are interacting with a genuine version of the developer’s app on genuine Android devices. This helps protect developers from fraud and security threats through SafetyNet.
Through Google Play, developers can distribute apps and app updates to more than three billion users on thousands of devices from hundreds of OEMs in 190+ countries, as well as being able to distribute apps to specific countries. For example, developers can create as many as 50 custom store listing pages to tailor or customise their app listing to specific countries. Developers can also personalise apps by customising store listings and target specific audiences by changing the appearance of apps.
Developers are further able to efficiently and safely distribute updates to their apps with new features and functionality. App updates help developers keep users engaged, and also support ecosystem security as new threats emerge.
App downloads by country
Developers can gain insights on top countries where apps have been installed as well as insights on language-specific downloads. Through Play Console, developers can review reports on app installs, uninstalls, ratings, revenue and crashes to help track the performance of their app.
Developers can use Google’s interactive research tool ('Think with Google') for:
- guidance on how to understand consumer behaviour;
- tips for marketing;
- developer tools to grow app audience by understanding the demographics of the app users; and
- developer statistics on the interests of users in a specific region or country, among other things.
Translation services to help localise international apps
Through Google’s translation services, apps can be translated into up to 48 languages. We also provide developers with recommendations on where in the app developers may want to prioritise localised translations. We have created a page with tips to succeed in specific regions (APAC, EMEA, Latin America and North America). These articles explain how to localise an app by publishing in one of the local languages and offering promotions during holiday events.
App ratings and reviews
We provide tools for developers to optimise their apps using feedback from users through ratings and reviews. For example, we provide developers with an overview of the app's ratings, individual user reviews, and clustered data about the app's reviews. We also provide guidance for developers to set up automatic user prompts to leave ratings and reviews within the app to provide feedback. We additionally provide tools to help developers test this feature.
User engagement analysis
In March 2021, Google Play Console launched new metrics to evaluate apps and games. This ensures that developers can evaluate their app or games’ engagement and monetisation trends against benchmarks. These metrics include statistics on the number of users who open an app each month and statistics on the number of growing users each month. This is in addition to the other data and reports that developers have access to in Google Play Console.
We provide tips for getting apps discovered on Google Play, including how to build a store listing, make an app stand out through graphics and diversify the audience. We also provide information on how apps can be more discoverable and how apps are ranked in search results.
We further assist app discovery by targeting the promotion of apps and helping users to discover apps and games that they may enjoy from the millions available on Google Play. We consider several factors when organising and ranking apps and games, including user relevance, user experience and editorial value.
We also help users by providing relevant app recommendations when they visit Google Play. This, in turn, helps developers reach new users.
Google Play’s billing system helps developers to seamlessly sell digital products and content within their app, including in-app content, such as in-game currency or subscriptions.
Clear and reliable pricing information
We provide developers with tools to help set up their app price, allowing developers to easily set global or country-specific app pricing and use pricing templates to simplify pricing for apps in Play Console.
For instance, developers can set app pricing, change app pricing and create any sales or promotions for apps. Developers can also set up subscriptions and change the price for in-app items. This gives developers the flexibility to tailor their offerings and adapt to change.
Play subscription management
We allow users to conveniently cancel, pause or change a subscription on Google Play. This is one of the services integrated in Google Play’s billing system.
Google support for payment refunds
Developers can easily manage app orders and swiftly issue refunds to users. Using the Play Console website or app, developers can view app orders, issue refunds and manage subscription cancellations for items that users have purchased.
App updates overview
Through Google Play Console, developers can view data based on the app versions by distribution channel. Developers can also get an overview of the update history of their app and use this information to continuously improve their app offerings.
Customised Play Console dashboard
Based on developer feedback, we created a way for developers to customise the display of metrics available in Play Console to measure the performance of their app. Developers can pin metrics of their choice. This provides a quick and convenient mechanism for developers to track and respond to the metrics that they care about.
Globally consistent developer interface
Google Play Console provides a globally consistent interface for developers to upload and manage their apps. Developers benefit from features that help improve app quality, engage app audiences, earn revenue and more.
App peer group comparison tools
Developers can easily compare their apps to other apps of their choosing. They can do this by setting custom peer groups, by selecting a specific group of apps and comparing their app to the apps of that specific group. Developers can edit the custom peer group to compare Android vitals up to three times a month. This provides developers with a valuable tool for responding to their peers.
We also provide suggestions on how to use app comparison statistics to analyse app performance.
We are committed to having a business model that allows us to continue to invest in Android and Play, but we understand that all developers aren’t the same and a 'one size fits all' approach doesn’t work. For the majority of Google Play’s revenue, that business model is our service fee. Only developers who sell paid apps or in-app access to digital content or services are subject to a service fee, and more than 99% of those developers are eligible for a service fee of 15% or less. A small number of developers that invest more directly in Android and Play may have different service fees as part of a broader partnership that includes substantial financial investments and product integrations across different form factors. These key investment partnerships allow us to bring more users to Android and Play by continuously improving the experience for all users, and creating new opportunities for all developers.
Additionally, there are some instances where we do not apply a service fee to in-app transactions or require the use of Google Play’s billing system, for example, sales of physical goods or services, peer-to-peer, tax-exempt donations or gambling transactions.
As a result of legislation, we offer all developers the ability to offer an alternative billing system alongside Google Play's billing system for South Korean users making in-app purchases within Play-distributed apps on mobile phones and tablets.
Developers are still subject to a service fee for transactions using an alternative billing system, but the service fee is reduced by 4%. For example, when the service fee is 15% for transactions through Google Play's billing system, it is 11% for transactions made through an alternative billing system. Learn more about offering an alternative billing system for users in South Korea in this Help Centre article.
As a result of the order by the Competition Commission of India, starting in February, we will offer all developers the ability to offer an alternative billing system alongside Google Play's billing system for India users making in-app purchases within Play-distributed apps on mobile phones and tablets.
Developers will still be subject to a service fee for transactions using an alternative billing system, but the service fee is reduced by 4%. For example, when the service fee is 15% for transactions through Google Play's billing system, it is 11% for transactions made through an alternative billing system. More details will be provided soon.