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Switching Paid App To In App Purchase

Discussion in 'Android Development' started by Sierra Lima, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Sierra Lima

    Sierra Lima Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hey guys,

    So I've had an Android game out for years as a side hustle. I initially released it before in app purchase existed with google play. The monetization model was a full paid app and a separate free version of the app with only the first few levels which links you to the app store page of the full version once you complete all levels. I finally have time to switch it over to the more modern free app with a premium in app purchase model where you make a one time non consumable purchase to unlock the advanced levels and features.

    Does anybody know if it's possible to seamlessly switch the app with a new release to this monetization model? Ideally I'd like to unpublish the existing free version, update the paid version to now be free and add a new in app purchase non consumable product that all existing customers get for free. If I simply add a new non consumable in app purchase product, my existing customers will be ticked off that they paid for the app when they purchased it a while back and the premium features no longer work after the update because they don't own this new in app purchase item. On the flip side, if I have to create a brand new app because this is not possible it wipes out my app's ratings, comments and google play app store "momentum".



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  2. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...

    I moved this to the dev area as I think you will get better answers on the tech side (where I know little).

    As a consumer of apps, and one that likes to reward devs with good apps by purchasing and ad free of full version, I appreciate the question and your concerns about your current install base. Hopefully someone here can point you in the direction of how to enable the IAP addons for folks that already purchased the full app. A possible alternative is to offer discount codes for the full IAP amount to folks that purchased the app originally.
  3. codesplice

    codesplice Elite Recognized Moderator

    I don't know the technical details of how to implement it, but I've used several apps which have made a similar transition. The general flow seems to have been to convert the paid app into a stub application which only functions as a license key. When a user installs the new free app, it checks to see if the paid app is already installed; if so, it unlocks the IAP features without requiring the user to purchase again.

    The downside (for users) is that since there isn't an actual purchase happening there's no server-side persistence of the feature unlock; the user will have to remember to install the paid app and the free one if they factory reset or get a new phone. And of course the downside from the developer perspective is that the reviews/ratings don't transfer from the established paid app to the new free IAP-powered one.

    There may be other ways to handle this but that's the approach I've seen used the most - and, again, not a developer so don't know the technical details of how to pull it off.
    Unforgiven likes this.

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