in-app purchases

In-App Purchases are extremely common in mobile apps and games these days. As an AT&T customer, I have the option of paying for Windows Phone IAPs by credit card, carrier billing, or Microsoft account. People with different carriers or living in other countries might not have access to those same payment methods. And you normally couldn’t use carrier billing for Windows 8 purchases.

Mobile payment provider Fortumo allows app developers to easily integrate carrier billing for IAPs into both Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT apps and games. Fortumo is so serious about getting Windows developers on-board that they’ve just launched a fund to pay advances to successful developers for integrating Fortumo payments into their apps. How successful does a developer need to be in order to get the funding? Read on to find out.

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Indie and mobile games go through various genres of the moment over time, sort of like how console and big-budget PC games have been stuck on First-Person Shooters for the last ten years or so. For the longest time, it seemed like every new small-scale release that came along was a tower defense game. Hardly anybody complained, due to the inherent joy of defending towers.

The new genre of the moment on mobile is definitely the endless running game. A slew of endless runners have recently flooded Windows Phone 8, including such high profile releases as Subway Surfers and Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Only one endless runner with 3D graphics sports Xbox Live features, though: Temple Run 2 from Imangi Studios (makers of Harbor Master). Does the only non-spin-off sequel to Temple Run stand tall above its competitors? Read on to find out.

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Location-based games and mobile are a great fit since smartphones usually have a GPS built in and people take their phones around everywhere. Why not work that into a game, right?

Israel-based developer GreenShpits recently released its own location-based/augmented reality game for Windows Phone 8 called Mossad as part of the AppCampus program. The word “Mossad” means “Institute” in Hebrew and is used to refer to the Israeli equivalent of the CIA. Mossad allows players to travel around playing spy and acting out their own missions, but some major bugs cut into the fun.

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Slowly but surely, the upcoming Windows Phone 8 games we previewed from Casual Connect a few months ago have started to appear on the Store. First came Babel Rising 3D, then Yeti on Furry (awful name!) and Nightmares from the Deep: the Siren’s Call. Now Puzzle Retreat, the first game we covered from the show, has finally become available on Windows Phone 8.

Puzzle Retreat (from Australian developer Voxel Agents) is quite clearly a puzzle game. Windows Phone owners can enjoy the first 60 levels for free, and then opt to purchase additional level packs if they like. The developers took great pains to ensure Puzzle Retreat runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM, so everyone rocking a Windows Phone 8 device can play it.

We’ve got impressions, hands on video, and new behind the scenes info from the developer – all after the break!

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It has been quite a while since Crimson Dragon: Side Story debuted on Windows Phone back in September 2012. Believe it or not, Side Story was originally intended as the follow-up to an Xbox 360 Crimson Dragon title that would have launched earlier that year. Shortly before the (seemingly complete) 360 version’s release, Microsoft delayed it indefinitely. The unofficial but obvious reason? So that Crimson Dragon could be retooled as an Xbox One launch title.

With Crimson Dragon’s long delay and Windows Phone origins in mind, we’ve chosen it as our first Xbox One game to review. Many of the larger console sites reviewed a prerelease version of the game whose difficulty and rewards system differed from the final version of the game. I played through the actual release game, so you can look forward to one of the most accurate and comprehensive reviews around.

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Gameloft’s previous Xbox Windows Phone 8 release Six-Guns had so many different in-app purchases that we published a lengthy guide just to cover them all. Seriously, virtually every aspect of that game had an IAP component, with some feeling less optional than others. The purchase model diminished what would otherwise be one of the best action games on the platform (though I still enjoyed it).

Kingdoms & Lords takes a much different approach, as only one thing costs real money: diamonds. Players can earn the sparkly gems by leveling up and completing story battles against bosses, but that’s about it. Run out and you might be inclined to buy more. Just what should you spend them on, anyway? Read our latest In-App Purchase guide to find out!

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Last month, Microsoft pulled 11 Xbox games from the Windows Phone Store, 10 of which had used Microsoft Points as the payment method for their In-App Purchases. At the time, we speculated that only a few games would return at all, and mostly stripped of their Xbox features.

Today the first of those delisted games has returned: Chickens Can’t Fly. Unfortunately, it has indeed returned as an indie game. But hey, at least Windows Phone gamers can play it again – if they repurchase. We can’t place the blame for this on developer Amused Sloth, though. They’ve just posted a lengthy explanation for change on their blog. As you might expect, stripping the game of its Xbox features came from a higher power...

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Russian computer engineer and game designer Alexy Pajitnov created Tetris for PCs way back in 1984. But Tetris first caught the public eye when Nintendo packed it in with the original GameBoy portable console in 1989. Since then, a number of companies have licensed the game and put their own unique spin on it, with the versions from Nintendo (especially Tetris DS) and Sega (Sega Tetris for Dreamcast) standing above the crowd.

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has also produced several Tetris games, including the 2011 Tetris which appeared on Playstation 3 and Windows Phone 7. This year’s Tetris Blitz is EA’s latest version, marrying the time honored Tetris gameplay with the frantic pace of Bejeweled Blitz. Tetris Blitz arrived on Windows Phone 8 a respectable four months after iOS.

Does this version deserve a spot on the list of best Tetris games? Read on to find out.

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We’ve poured on The Sims FreePlay coverage lately, and why not? Xbox Windows Phone games have become relatively scarce this year (though September saw plenty of new releases). It’s also a massively sized mobile entry in one of gaming’s most popular franchises… Not to mention, it’s free to play so any Windows Phone 8 user with 1 GB of RAM can get it (internet connection required).

Then again, the ‘free’ feather in a title’s cap can also be a thorn in its side from a gameplay perspective. The Sims FreePlay embodies many of the free to play trappings typically perceived as negative by users, from time-based mechanics to dual currencies. Can the joyful simulation aspects of The Sims survive all those grabs for players’ wallets? Read on for our evaluation.

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When Windows Phone 8 launched in November of last year, it soon become clear that certain Xbox Windows Phone 7 games were incompatible with the new OS. Microsoft’s immediate solution to the problem was to partially delist all of those games, removing their listings from the Windows Phone website. They did this without informing the developers of those games. After we published an article exposing the issue, the games eventually made it back to the web store with updated compatibility information.

We tell you all this because Microsoft has just made a similar but even more harmful maneuver. This week, no less than eleven Windows Phone 7 games were completely delisted from the Store. They can’t be redownloaded by people who purchased them. And several of the game’s developers were NOT informed by Microsoft of the issues leading to their removal or the removal itself. Read on for the full scoop!

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While the flow of new Xbox games for Windows Phone has slowed this year, the number of free to play games in the Xbox lineup continues to grow. These titles rely on In-App Purchases (IAPs) for revenue. Users who enjoy a game and feel motivated to purchase content can do so, while other players can simply play without spending.

We’ll be profiling the In-App Purchases of each new free to play or IAP-heavy mobile Xbox title that comes along. We’ve already looked at the IAPs of Six-Guns from Gameloft; this week we explore the purchases in Electronic Arts’ The Sims FreePlay for Windows Phone 8. Read on to learn exactly what IAPs the game has in store and which offer the best values.

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This week, the massive open world Grand Theft Auto 5 launched on consoles. Sadly, Rockstar has yet to port any of its excellent mobile Grand Theft Auto titles to Windows Phone. But thanks to Gameloft, we do have one open world game on Windows Phone 8: Six-Guns. Of course, Six-Guns takes its inspiration from the Wild West-themed Read Dead Redemption, but it’s still the closest thing to GTA in the mobile Xbox lineup.

Six-Guns is a free to play game – a payment model that can be a blessing or a curse. Is this one of Gameloft’s free to play successes like UNO & Friends or a greedy failure like Real Soccer 2013? Read on for our verdict…

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Gameloft’s latest Xbox Windows Phone release Six-Guns is a free to play game. Of course it must be monetized somehow – in this case via In-App Purchases (IAPs). Six-Guns actually offers a wider variety of things to buy than many free games, which can be confusing (or off-putting) to new players.

We’ve spent ample time with the game as we prepare for our upcoming review. And we’ve also spent a little cash in order to put those IAPs through their paces. Read on to learn how to which premium purchases might be worth your coin, plus some encouraging news about cloud saves.

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Reading electronic books on your phone or tablet can be more convenient than toting a physical book collection around, but otherwise most e-books don’t take advantage of the power of modern computing devices. Motion comics on the other hand, can spice up traditional comics with movement and even voice.

A group called NARR8 (sister company of Game Insight) has taken the digital comics-style multimedia reading approach and applied it to a variety of book styles, including nonfiction, children’s, and educational books. All of these exclusive books can be sampled and purchased through the NARR8 app, now available on Windows 8 and RT devices.

We recently sat down with Alexis Valerio, NARR8 Senior PR Manager to check out the app and a few of its books. Full video and download link after the break!

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The first Xbox-enabled version of Fruit Ninja launched shortly after Windows Phone 7 itself way back in December 2010. As the months rolled by, the iOS and Android versions received a number of updates while the Windows Phone game did not. Developer Halfbrick released a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 version in 2011, and an Xbox Windows 8 version in 2012 – but still no update to the original Windows Phone game.

Things finally took a turn for the better this month when a Windows Phone 8-specific version of Fruit Ninja finally showed up to the party. The decrepit Windows Phone 7 version simultaneously got partially delisted from the Store, though Windows Phone 7 users can apparently still download it. The new Windows Phone 8 Fruit Ninja is identical in features to the Windows 8 version, so we’ll review them both and point out the improvements to the original game.

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Halfbrick Studios supported the launch of Windows Phone 7 with the release of Fruit Ninja and the promise of Age of Zombies. But Fruit Ninja never got content updates (unlike on other platforms) and Age of Zombies never showed up, having caught a bad case of the vaporwares. Many feared that the popular Australian game developer had jumped ship from Windows Phone entirely.

Then in October 2012, Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride suddenly showed up as an Xbox Windows 8 game. Microsoft teased a Windows Phone 8 version shortly thereafter, but months passed without the game showing up. Miniclip’s clone Gravity Guy 2 actually beat Jetpack Joyride to market in March! Thankfully Jetpack Joyride finally cleared the perils of Xbox certification and landed on Windows Phone8 earlier this month (and for free). Turns out it was worth the wait!

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Since last week we’ve been undergoing a small communications hitch with Microsoft’s gaming division that will hopefully be cleared up soon. Earlier this week though, French site MonWindowsPhone passed along the news that N.O.V.A. 3 would be today’s Xbox release, so we reported it as such. Of course we asked Gameloft to verify the release date, but they could only say for certain that it will come out in May – not specifically today.

A short while ago, a different Xbox Windows Phone game popped up in the Store: Monster Burner from Ubisoft! That’s not a bad thing, because it’s FREE, seems like a fantastic game, and runs on both Windows Phone 7 and 8. But given that Gameloft couldn’t say for sure whether N.O.V.A. 3 will come out today, we are left slightly unsure about its release status. Will we get one Xbox game this week or two?

That question aside, most of you guys will dig Monster Burner in a big way. Read on for our first impressions.

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Remember the location-based social interaction game Torchbear? The creators of Torchbear, Lighthouse Games Studio, are back within another location-based game – this time exclusively for Windows Phone 8. Their new title Greed City combines the property and wealth acquisition elements of Monopoly with the real-world location and GPS elements of Four Square. It’s much more game-like than Torchbear and costs nothing to download, so Windows Phone 8 users should definitely give it a look.

We've got a quick-start guide and more impressons to share, so read on!

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Apple is continuing the patent war with a new updated entry of the "In-App Purchasing" application they filed back in April of 2010. This update appears to cover most functionality of present app stores that allow the user to purchase additional content within an app. What's more is the patent also covers variations on the process, including the use of HTML 5 web apps.

Let's not forget that the previous Apple trademark injunction against Amazon for "App Store" was declined due to being too broad of a term. Is in-app purchasing really something that Apple patent? What do you guys think?

Source: The Inquisitor

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