We've had for some time now. We've recently created . Are these tags the same (and thus, should be a synonym of )?

Note that the excerpt for currently contains the text "also referred to as... in-app purchasing."

  • \$\begingroup\$ The next question is "Do we need such tags?" Can one be an expert in micro-transactions? In IAP? Or are they expert with a specific IAP implementation, as suggested by Draco18s answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's probably a separate question. I don't think "IAP" specifically refers only to Google Play's API in general, as implied (although the two uses of the tag currently do). I do think the tags should remain, as I think one can definitely be interested in the more soft-science aspects of microtransactions relating to effective strategies and display, and such. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, different question :) Maybe we'll need to revisit it when there are more questions tagged with these tags. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just realized that there is this tag which is already used in-app-purchase; you might want to merge them together and make on synonym of the other. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good find; done. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Originally, "microtransactions" implied size. That is, they are literally "micro" "transactions". They were supposed to be tiny tiny payments of like 1 cent, or fractions of a cent. I don't think that anybody doing IAP is using "microtransactions" at all, at least by the original meaning of the word. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2017 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


I think microtransactions and IAP are two different concepts:

  • microtransactions deals with the business model
  • iap deals with an implementation of the business model.

You can very well create a game that has no in-app-purchase but has microtransactions (what if you need to go on the website of the MMO to do the transaction), and you can have in-app purchase without it being a microtransation (you can buy the full game).

They should not be synonyms, and the text of microtransactions should be modified to remove the part about in-app billing.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good point; I was originally leaning towards the idea that they're fundamentally the same, but now I do think it might be premature to merge them. We don't really have the distinctions you've defined in actual practice, yet, but merging them would make codifying that distinction much harder. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. Further, I think it's possible to be an expert in each of these topics, making both relevant tags. An expert in microtransactions would be someone like a monetization designer, with experience in designing mechanics to work with purchasable content, and in pricing/balancing this content. An expert on In-App Purchases would be someone like a developer with experience in store APIs & payment platforms, or a UI/UX designer with experience developing storefront interfaces. While these skillsets can often overlap, I think it's good to distinguish "what can players buy" vs "how do they buy" \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory Mod
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see the distinctions you make but I do think the words are used interchangeably in many cases. Would a new user posting a question or searching for answers make such a distinction? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 15, 2017 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TartleWizard If there is potential confusion, I suppose we could make the distinction clear in the tag usage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 22:31


In-App Purchases (IAP) should be a synonym of as there is no way to do one without doing the other (although a $100 price tag might not be considered micro the code, apis, and so on involved are identical).

The only case I can see for having them be separate is is is referring to a specific microtransaction API, in which case it should be renamed (assuming we want the tag) to accurately reflect that, e.g. or .


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