Recent changes to subscriptions in Play Console

In May 2022, we introduced changes in the way subscription products are defined and managed in Play Console. These changes provide you with greater flexibility in how you sell subscriptions, and reduce the complexity of managing subscriptions. If you haven’t already, read this article to understand how subscriptions work. 

All your existing subscriptions, apps, and backend integrations function as they did before these updates. There’s nothing you need to do immediately – you can adopt the new subscription features over time. 

Workflow changes

If you previously used the Play Console, you’ll notice there’s many changes on the Subscriptions page (Monetize > Products > Subscriptions). Most of these changes allow you to create and manage subscriptions, base plans, and offers. There’s a few different ways to do things:

  • When changing the price of a subscription, it only applies to new purchases. You change the price existing subscribers are paying by using legacy price cohorts.
  • Country availability – you can create multiple offers, each available in locations you choose. You can also enable or disable offers as desired.

Working with older subscriptions

Subscriptions created before May 2022 included the subscription benefits and a single billing period, price, and free trial/intro price setting. Additional subscriptions were required if you wanted multiple billing periods or pricing.

Starting in May 2022, when creating new subscriptions, its benefits (in other words, “what” the subscription provides) are separated from base plans and offers (“how” the subscription is sold). This makes it easier to sell your subscriptions in various ways. 

When this functionality launched, any existing subscriptions were converted into the new model. The results are: 

  • Each subscription now has a single base plan with the old subscription’s billing period. As prepaid plans didn’t exist, these base plans are all auto-renewing.
  • Any free trial or intro price was converted into an offer.

The image below shows how subscription object types are currently structured (right) and how they were previously structured (left).

The resulting subscriptions, base plans, and offers are functionally identical to newly created subscriptions. The same capabilities and restrictions apply when editing, managing, and creating additional base plans and offers.

Previously, Play Console and developer APIs defined a subscription as having a single price. Now there can be multiple base plans and offers for a single subscription. In order to maintain compatibility with legacy apps and backend integrations, in the Console UI there is a single “backwards compatible” base plan or offer per subscription. 

Backwards compatible offers

When your app or backend uses older API methods, this base plan or offer is used for the billing period, price, and any free trial or intro price. If a subscription has other base plans or offers, they are only available to apps using the newer API methods.  

Marking a base plan or offer as backwards compatible

When older subscriptions were converted into the new model, if the subscription contained a free trial or intro price, the resulting offer and base plan was marked as backwards compatible. Otherwise, just the base plan was marked as backwards compatible. 

If needed, you can change which base plan or offer is the backwards compatible one. Before changing the backwards compatible base plan or offer, consider what impact that could have on older versions of your app, and on any other features that use it.

You can only mark an offer or base plan that contains functionality previously available. Prepaid plans, upgrade offers, developer-determined offers, and tags are not supported.

Important: For any subscriptions in which you’re using these features, we recommend you do not change the backwards compatible offer without carefully considering how it affects your use of these features.

Country/region targeting

You can now control availability and pricing individually for each country or region, and configure whether your base plan or offer should be made available to any new locations which Google Play may support in the future.

We’ve back-filled all your existing subscriptions so that if you previously targeted “Other countries/regions,” you’ll continue to target all countries within this group. If you didn’t previously make your base plan or offer available in “Other countries/regions,” nothing has changed.

When creating or editing base plans or offers, you can select Manage country / region availability and make your base plan or offer available in all locations, or configure them individually. You’ll also see the “New countries / regions” option. If you specify “New countries / regions,” when Google Play adds support for additional countries/regions, we will use these availability and price settings. If support for these new countries/regions includes a local buyer currency, we’ll do a one-time currency conversion. If you do not specify “New countries / regions,” by default your subscription will not be available in these countries/regions. After new countries/regions are supported, you can edit your subscription in Play Console to make them available if desired.

When editing prices, you can select all locations, price locations individually, and set the price for any countries/regions Google Play supports in the future.

Working with promo codes and special features

Currently, several subscription features only support the backwards compatible offer. These features are:

  • Subscription promo codes
  • Featured subscriptions
  • Subscribe with Google 

In the Play Console, these features only allow you to select a subscription, not a base plan or offer. When you select a subscription, that subscription’s backwards compatible offer will be used.

Important: For any subscriptions in which you’re using these features, we recommend you do not change the backwards compatible offer without carefully considering how it affects your use of these features.

Managing your subscription catalog with APIs

If you manage your subscription catalog using the inappproducts API, you can continue to do so. However, this will result in subscriptions with a single backwards compatible base plan and offer, and you will not be able to use any of the new subscription features. Your subscriptions will still be available in the Play Console in a read-only mode.

We recommend you migrate to the new Monetization Subscriptions APIs and manage your subscriptions using the new monetization.subscriptions, monetization.subscriptions.baseplans and monetization.subscriptions.offers endpoints. These new APIs will allow you to manage all available base pans and offers (instead of backwards compatible only).

If you wish to edit your subscriptions in Play Console, you can click Make subscription editable under the message displayed at the top of each subscription.  

Important: Once you've made a subscription editable in Play Console, you will no longer be able to use the inappproducts API to read, configure, or update the subscription, and must migrate to the Monetize Subscriptions APIs to continue to manage the subscription programmatically. This change cannot be reversed.

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