January 27, 2012

Apple offers refunds for ‘premature’ GameStore app purchases

A strange Apple-built iOS app called GameStore appeared and then quickly disappeared in the App Store last week. After its disappearance, we picked the app apart and determined that GameStore was essentially sample code that demonstrates how to perform in-app purchases.

Many people downloaded the app sight unseen since it came from Apple, while still others downloaded it out of simple curiosity. GameStore cost US$ 0.99, and according to Mac Rumors and a few other outlets, Apple is now offering refunds to people who bought the app.

An email sent to customers who purchased GameStore says that “the app was made available for sale prematurely,” and refunds will be issued within five business days.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple Now Giving Refunds For Pointless GameStore App

Apple Now Giving Refunds For Pointless GameStore App

Apple is now giving refunds to customers that purchased the bizarre GameStore app that surfaced over the past weekend in the App Store. GameStore offered in-app purchases for non-existent racing games.

In an email to customers that purchased GameStore during the brief time it was on the App Store, Apple has noted that the app was made available for sale “prematurely.”

You recently purchase the GameStore app. The app was made available for sale prematurely. We apologize for the problem and have refunded the purchase amount back to your account. These funds will be applied to your original payment method within 5 business days.

When it was on the App Store, GameStore was listed as having a June 2009 origin, despite the app surfacing only days ago.

The wording suggests that Apple will eventually release GameStore again. Let’s hope the app actually does something the next time around.

Cult of Mac

Bizarre Official GameStore App Pops Up On App Store, But Why Did Apple Make It?

Bizarre Official GameStore App Pops Up On App Store, But Why Did Apple Make It?

A bizarre official app from Apple called GameStore popped up in the App Store on New Year’s Eve, apparently by accident. The 99 cent app, which functionally does nothing, appears to be some sort of test app or prototype for a Newsstand-like games service that has yet to get off the ground.

Bizarre Official GameStore App Pops Up On App Store, But Why Did Apple Make It?

Right now, GameStore doesn’t really do anything. The app listing simply states that “This application allows you to buy different things from within the app.” Vague, no?

Things don’t become more edifying. The app, which is barely styled, allows you to make in-app purchases of various non-functional games, for prices anywhere between $ 0.99 and $ 1.99.

So what the heck is this thing? Although GameStore went live on New Year’s Eve, iTunes reports its original posting date is June 9, 2009, which as MacRumors points out is ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference that debuted iPhone OS 3.0 and — surprise! — in-app purchasing.

Our best guess? This is an in-house demonstration app meant to show how in-app purchases work back in 2009 that somehow went live as part of a strange Y2K12 App Store server fart. Apple will doubtlessly pull this sometime soon, and since the app doesn’t actually do anything, it’s for completists only: you may well want to hold off.

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

What was GameStore? Looks like sample code

Earlier today, Kelly posted about GameStore, a new Apple app that appeared on the App Store right before the New Year and was pulled several minutes ago. I forked over my dollar and downloaded a copy to see what the app was all about.

It turns out, that there wasn’t a lot of there there, and what there was looked an awful lot like…sample code. Specifically, sample code that demonstrates how to perform in-app purchases.

The application’s identifier was com.apple.iphonesdk.GameStore. Compare this with com.apple.Cards, the identifier for Apple’s Cards app. “iphonesdk” hints that the application was meant for developer audiences, i.e. users of the iOS Software Development Kit.

Next, I looked at the contents of the application bundle. Therein I found numerous listings for consumable and non-consumable items. These included things like “Awesome Sword” and “Consumable Bullets” as well as the less descriptive “sku.gamestore.nonconsumable.item1.”

All the classes in the app consisted of such generic elements as “MyProduct,” “StoreEngine” and “ProductInfoViewController.” Basically, it looked like sample code. Adding to this hypothesis is the tab called “PaymentQ.” The queue is of deep interest to developers and absolutely of no interest to end-users.

So how did this app end up on the App Store? I have an hypothesis. As I point out in my developer cookbook, although you can easily add IAP features to applications that are already for sale on App Store, you cannot fully develop and test your in-application purchasing for new apps without submitting your application to iTunes.

What developers do is upload a working skeleton application to iTunes Connect. You do this with the full understanding that you’ll be replacing or, for tutorials, rejecting your binary at some point in the future. Once uploaded, you can test your IAPs, and make sure all your purchasing processes work. Looks like the app was submitted in order to provide a live testbed and may have gotten approved inadvertently.

After consulting with the TUAW team, our take on this is “likely sample code accidentally deployed to App Store” by Apple and then quickly pulled once people took notice. TUAW reached out directly to the developer we suspect was behind the app upload before it got pulled.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Odd GameStore app by Apple appears in App Store

Everyone with an iPhone is familiar with Game Center, but have you ever heard of GameStore? Discovered by Florian Schimanke, it’s a new game-oriented app from Apple that went live on December 31st. Unlike other iOS apps from Apple, which are well-known and well-publicized, GameStore is a mystery.

As far as we know, Apple has not publicly acknowledged the app. It appeared without any fanfare and is only a shell. The description is very sparse and says only, “This application allows you to buy different things from within the app.”

The app costs 99-cents, and you can buy and download it to your iPhone. The app itself is barebones but references to “F1 Grand Prix Track” and “Laser Gun” suggests it’ll let you by in-game items for your characters and profile. There’s also a cart and a checkout process that’ll track recent items and let you restore your past purchases.

There are lots of things Apple can do with this app, but the obvious theory is that Apple is launching an App Store for in-app items. Anyone care to guess what Apple has up its sleeve?

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple’s internal ‘GameStore’ iOS testing app mistakenly hits App Store

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 10:32 AM EST (07:32 AM PST)
An internal testing application for iPhone in-app purchases called “GameStore” has appeared for sale on the App Store by Apple at a cost of 99 cents.

The apparent mistake was caught by German-language website iFun.de, which revealed the error on Monday. The application is still available on the App Store for 99 cents and was released on Dec. 31.

Apple is listed as the official publisher of “GameStore,” which is in the Utilities category and is listed as version 1.8. Its brief description reads; “This application allows you to buy different things from within the app.”

Within the application is a “Products List” which appears to be used to test the in-app purchase functionality. Users can buy options like “2 Lives” for $ 2.99, “Awesome Sword” for 99 cents, “Ax” for $ 19.99, and “Big Gun” for $ 1.99.

The application also includes a “Shopping Cart,” “Payment Q” and “Settings.” Though it lacks any content, it is rated for ages 12 and up for “Horror/Fear Themes,” “Simulated Gambling,” “Profanity or Crude Humor,” “Realistic Violence,” and “Mature/Suggestive Themes.”

The official listing for “GameStore” also includes a link to the Apple website, as it is named as the application’s official publisher. The icon is plain white with a cartoon shopping cart in the bottom left corner.

In-app purchases were first introduced with the release of iOS 3.0 in 2009, and the “GameStore” application may have been used by Apple to test that functionality. The purchases were initially restricted to paid “premium” applications, but later in 2009, Apple granted developers the ability to offer in-app purchases in free software.