Monday, October 3, 2022

Bypassing IAP With In-Game Currencies

Florian Mueller:

One of the world’s largest games companies, China’s Tencent (which is also Epic’s largest shareholder besides founder Tim Sweeney), has just doubled down on its efforts to circumvent the infamous app tax. Finland-based Supercell is an almost-wholly-owned Tencent subsidiary. Its Supercell Store, which since late June has already been offering digital items (named Gold Pass and Gold Pass Bundle) for the Clash of Clans strategy game, now also comes with a section related to the Hay Day farming game, which has been an enormous commercial success for about a decade.


The leading Hay Day YouTuber, R3DKNIGHT (Ricky Burnett), released a video yesterday that shows how one can purchase digital currencies (diamonds and gold) as well as a premium feature called Farm Pass (which is purchased for a given month, accelerates one’s gameplay progress, and provides access to additional decorative and entertaining elements) through the web-based Supercell Store, where Apple and Google can’t tax purchases[…] On the web store, they cost approximately 10% less than inside the app.

It seems like this is allowed by the guidelines, so long as IAP is also offered and the Web store isn’t linked. Some other games are also allowing Web purchases of gold/credits, but this technique doesn’t seem to be widespread elsewhere. Amazon lets you buy Audible books using credits, which you can purchase online. They also have a deal to make in-app video purchases from a credit card. And you can purchase stuff other than digital content directly from the Amazon app. But there is still no way to purchase Kindle books from an app.


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Amazon Kindle has section called "Kindle Vella" which uses a token mechanism you can use to buy Vella stories. You can buy the tokens with IAP or on the web and the balance is stored on your account.

Well done Tencent/Supercell

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