Google Play Adds Support For Promo Codes, Including In-App Purchases

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Promo codes are coming to Google Play! Android developers will finally be able to market their applications, as well as distribute copies of paid apps for free, and more, by way of promo codes – a feature Apple has supported for years. Thanks to a new option spotted in the Google Play Developer Console, it appears that app makers will now be able to distribute codes for both apps and in-app content.

The addition was first uncovered by the blog Android Police, which noted that details surrounding the implementation is available in Google’s help documentation, too.

Developers will be able to distribute up to 500 free codes per quarter, says Google, and those that are not used will not roll over to the next quarter. However, developers can set start and end dates for the codes, and they can pause promotions at any time.

With 500 codes quarterly, Google’s implementation of promo codes is more generous than Apple’s, which says that developers can request up to 100 promo codes for every version of their application. In addition, Apple’s promo codes don’t work for in-app purchases, its developer documentation states. (Though it apparently made an exception for some developers at one point.)

Google’s promo codes can be used for apps and content, but not for subscriptions, however. In order to use them for in-app purchases, developers will first need to integrate in-app promotions, notes Google.

For Google Play developers, the long-awaited support for promo codes is more than welcome, as these codes are a key way to get apps in the hands of early adopters, press and the media, and can be used to market applications through promotions, giveaways, and more.

Of course, because Google didn’t yet offer its own official implementation for this, many developers already created their own workarounds for the problem in order to offer promo codes for upgrades and in-app content to their users. However, in these cases, developers would have had to implement their own systems, which takes time and effort away from working on their application itself. Using the new option in Google Play will be much less of a hassle.

Update: Google has now officially announced promo code support.