iOS developers may soon be allowed to release promo codes that unlock virtual currency to be used for in-app purchases.
Electronic Arts has been the first to take advantage of this, issuing codes for Real Racing 3’s gold. Previously, Apple has only allowed developers to release codes for full game downloads.
A new EA promotion, spotted by Gamasutra, enables players to submit their email address to the publisher and receive a promo code for ten gold to be redeemed through iTunes. If they do not yet have the app installed, they will be prompted to do so once the code has been accepted.
However, it’s still unclear whether all developers will be allowed to use this model. Apple’s iTunes Connect developer guide still specifies that "promo codes don’t work for in-app purchase products, including Newsstand issues".
This may be an exclusive partnership between EA and Apple, but given free-to-play games’ domination of the App Store, it may be that Apple is exploring new ways to help shift both the titles and their currencies and in-game items via iTunes.