Apple Is Testing Promo Codes For In-App Purchases

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Apple’s app store has let developers create promo codes for ages. It’s also supported In-App purchases for ages.

But promo codes for in-app purchases? That’s crazy talk. You want to give a user a promo code for a free bag of virtual cat food to feed their virtual cat? Get the heck out of here.

But that might be changing!

While it doesn’t seem to be a widely rolled out feature just yet, Apple looks to be letting EA generate and distribute promo codes for a free allotment of gold (usually valued at 2 bucks) in their latest racing sim, Real Racing 3. As MacRumors points out, 148Apps’ Jeff Scott has a few screenshots of the process:

real racing

The most interesting part? You can use the code whether or not the user has the original app installed. If they already do, they unlock the in-app purchase. If they don’t, the relevant app is automatically installed.

rr download

Why that matters, of course, is because it’s a damned good form of promotion. Giving someone a code and saying “Here, have an app!” is one thing. But saying “Here, have an app plus some free stuff that other people don’t get that may or may not give you some sort of advantage!“? That’s an easy pitch.

The bad news, of course, is that this really just further encourages the nickel-and-dime freemium model that has turned many an App Store chart topper into a matter of smashing your wallet into your phone until you win or get bored. Alas, that ship sailed a while ago.