It may have taken a while to get here, but it's finally arrived: Google has added redeemable promo code support to its Play Store. The feature has been available in the iOS Store for ages, but now Android users finally have a chance to get some free apps.

An Android forums user noticed a page on Google's developer console explaining how devs can create the promo codes and how they can get their apps ready to use them. Developers can allow players to use the codes for apps and games and on non-subscription in-app purchases.

Developers can generate up to 500 codes per app in a given quarter; any unused codes won't roll over to the next quarter. That includes codes for paid apps as well as in-app purchases, making a maximum of 2000 codes a year for each app. By default, the codes are valid for 12 months although devs can customize the expiration date should they wish.

Google's blog suggests a few ways that developers might want to use these codes:

  • A game could have a special item, such as a character or decoration, that's only available to players who attend an event. The developer could distribute cards with promo codes at the event, and users would enter their promo code to unlock the item.
  • An app developer might distribute promo codes at local businesses, to encourage potential users to try the app.
  • An app developer might give out "friends and family" codes to its employees to share with their friends.

Now that these codes have arrived we'll no doubt see developers handing out free copies of their apps and games in competitions and to reviewers. It's also likely to help them get their products noticed in what is becoming a very crowded market.