Google is making a very important change to its Play Store.
The Android app market, has for the first time added an option to unlock paid apps via promo codes.
Prior to this, the only way to gift apps was by sending a Gift Card. Of course we have seen multiple app services like myAppFree, AppOfTheDay hold special promos, as well as some from individual app devs.
But they were all done outside the Play Store, i.e., neither the unlocking method was done through Google Play, nor did the apps’s unlocked status. We have indeed seen some app developers tie up the email id of users, with their own licensing system too.
But Google Play’s new promo code system should help things in a better way. This will be incredibly useful for developers, to send out codes for reviewers, to promote the app, and also to reward fans directly. And the license status of the app should be tied permanently to the Play Store email id of the user.
Developers have some limits for promo codes though. They can only create up to 500 promo codes per quarter, after which a new one can be created. But the unused ones don’t carry over. These are the limits Google has posted:
500 paid app promo codes, or
500 promo codes for one in-app product, or
250 paid app promo codes + 250 promo codes for one in-app product, or
100 promo codes for five in-app products
This could severely hamper the chances of a large promo, but it also indicates that this system could be targeted mainly at app and game reviewers.
Google is actually very late to the party, Apple’s iTunes App Store has had promo codes for many years. Still, as the old adage goes, it is better late than never.