One of the big features for iPhone OS 3.0 is in-app purchasing. The feature allows you to buy expansion packs for games and applications while in the application. It’s a way to extend the game a little while not requiring you to purchase a whole new application.
Now that 3.0 has gone live, we’ve got first looks at a couple games that have been upgraded to take advantage of these features.
Flick Fishing from Freeverse
Freeverse have launched an updated to Flick Fishing today that takes advantage of in app purchasing by allowing you to buy a new level called Private Island for $0.99. This island adds both a new location to fish in the game along with some new fish and a new game mode, Fish Jack.
One thing that is interesting is that the Flick Fishing app is currently $0.99 itself. Unfortunately developers can’t offer in-app purchasing for less than $0.99. It has to be the same price points as apps in the app store ($0.99 – $999.99, in increments of $1.00). Another requirement is that the apps that utilize in-app purchasing must be paid apps — free apps can not offer in-app purchasing.
Enigmo from Pangea Software
Pangea has updated Enigmo to allow you to purchase level packs directly in the game. The expands their previous offering that allowed you to download user-created level packs. Currently available are 2 different kids level packs that are specifically designed simple levels for kids. Each of the 2 packs contains 25 new levels and costs $0.99.
One special feature that Enigmo exposes right on the level purchase screen is the ability to restore previous purchases. This requirement from Apple is a fairly recent development. Apple has told developers that they need to provide a way for users to get back anything they have purchased in-app in case of data loss. In other words if you purchase something in the app and your phone needs to be restored, there needs to be a way for you to get back the items that you purchased. It will be interesting to see how different developers handle this requirement.
I think we’ll quickly see lots of games add options for in-app purchasing. While these two games have done it correctly, we’ll see lots of developers do it the wrong way — provide too little value for the money. While developers are trying to increase revenue in an app store with slowly dropping prices, consumers used to those lower prices are going to be hesitant to make in app purchases without a great incentive to buy.