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Google looking to add in-app purchases to Google Cardboard content

Google is reportedly looking into various methods including gaze tracking to bring in-app purchases to Google Cardboard content in the near future.

Published onMarch 7, 2016

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In-app purchases are the lifeblood of many game development companies and devs need to eat too, in the virtual world as well as the real world. So with VR on the rise, it was always only a matter of time until Google Cardboard content got in-app purchases. According to Re/Code, Google is currently toying around with gaze tracking to make the option viable in the near future.

Wireless VR vs tethered VR: which is best for you?

However, Google is reportedly struggling with exactly how to make purchases possible and still hasn’t settled on a solution. For some unknown reason, the old point-and-click solution – the same technique used for selecting items in VR menus – isn’t as foregone a conclusion as one might imagine.

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The last thing Google – or VR developers – need is a disruptive barrier to in-app purchases.

Apparently it all boils down to elegance, with one developer telling Re/Code that Google is “searching for the most elegant model”. Elegant in this case means a combination of least intrusive and most intuitive. The last thing Google – or VR developers – need is a disruptive barrier to in-app purchases.

For in-app purchases to be implemented in the best way possible, they will need to be a seamless part of the VR experience. Users won’t want making purchases to disrupt their immersion in a VR world and having to remove a phone from Cardboard to fingerprint authenticate a purchase isn’t exactly ideal. Devs should also be averse to an ungainly solution: the more disruptive it is the less likely Cardboard users are to part with their money.

The feature will likely be announced at either the Game Developers Conference or Google I/O in the coming weeks.

How do you think in-app purchases should be handled in VR?

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