Nov, 23 2009

One advantage the iPhone OS has over Android is the capability of in-app purchases. Want to buy weapons, credits, add-ons, extensions or anything WITHIN your game or application that goes above and beyond the initial free or paid application? Too bad… until now. While this feature isn’t SUPPOSED to be enabled within Android, developer of the game Ringz found a way to bypass the limitation, even taking into consideration tricksters trying to download/save/return add-ons to get the goods for free.


Ringz is a puzzle game that is FREE but you can buy more levels from within the application. The folks at MobileCrunch pinned down the Ringz developers who made a detailed map of exactly how the work-around is deployed (click to enlarge):


I’m wondering if Google is going to pull this from Android Market. The main problem with allowing this is it sets precedenet – if you let Ringz in you’ve got to let all that employ this work around in. All those additional transactions pass through Google servers bet never get taxed/charged the percentage which Google and the Carrier partner are supposed to share. Lost revenue.

This is especially bad for an application like Ringz which is essentially offering a “Free Demo” of the game and allowing you to buy the full version but bypassing the market and earning more revenue for each add-on. Tisk, tisk. I’m not sure Google will look too favorably upon this although they’re much more accommodating than some other application markets of which we know. At some point Android will need a system to facilitate in game/app purchases so it will be interesting to see how the company approaches this delicate issue.

UPDATE: Those voicing their concern in the comments are absolutely right – I articulated this news in haste and the work around does NOT bypass the market but rather utilizes links TO the market to download the added levels. Still newsworthy as an innovative system of including in-app purchases for your own stuff and apologies to the developers of Ringz to jumping to the false conclusion. Shame on me!