A Look at Several In-App Billing Implementations on Android

Here’s a look at early in-app billing implementations from several Android developers. Almost all of these titles are already available on the iTunes app store so the virtual goods or currencies offered are basically carbon copies of what the iOS versions have. So far, there are a little more than a dozen apps with in-app billing out in the Android Market today out of more than 150,000 titles.

Bakery Story, Restaurant Story, Farm Story (TeamLava, Storm8): TeamLava, the casual gaming arm of Redwood Shores-based Storm8, is a pro at monetization through virtual goods. On iOS, Bakery Story and Restaurant Story are consistently among the top 50 highest-grossing games. Up until now, TeamLava had been using PayPal. But yesterday, it switched to Google’s in-app billing process. In the game, TeamLava adapts the “harvesting” mechanic from farming games and applies it to making drinks or food. The player can wait several hours to prepare cakes and cookies, or they can use gems to make them instantly. Gems are, naturally, a paid currency.

The Android implementation of the story is virtually identical to the iOS version, although it seems like the company is testing higher price points here. On the iOS version, the most expensive package of Gems is at $99.99. But on Android, it’s $149.99.

Gun Bros (Glu Mobile): The store is basically identical to the iPhone version. Players can buy War Bucks or Coins at prices anywhere from $0.99 cents to $99.99 that can be exchanged for weaponry, armor or power-ups. Glu Mobile, a publicly traded mobile developer that is around a decade old, is one of the leading companies to earn money off virtual goods. We recently covered their newest iOS title Contract Killer earlier today.

Comics (ComiXology): This is a digital comics store that sells everything from classic titles like Batman & Robin to newer indie ones. Somewhat bafflingly, Comics displays two different “Buy” buttons when you want to purchase a comic book through the app. One says “Buy in Print” in the top right-hand corner and another is at the bottom that says “Buy Now.” If you press the “Buy in Print” button it sends you to a search bar with the pre-filled words ‘Current Location’, which is confusing.

If you click the “Buy Now” button, which is less visible at the bottom of the screen, that’s where Android in-app billing kicks in and you can buy comic books for your app. Titles range from free to $9.99.