In-app purchases and trials

The Windows SDK provides APIs you can use to implement the following features to make more money from your Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app:

  • In-app purchases  Whether your app is free or not, you can sell content or new app functionality (such as unlocking the next level of a game) from right within the app.

  • Trial functionality  If you configure your app as a free trial in the Windows Dev Center dashboard, you can entice your customers to purchase the full version of your app by excluding or limiting some features during the trial period. You can also enable features, such as banners or watermarks, that are shown only during the trial, before a customer buys your app.

This article provides an overview of how in-app purchases and trials work in UWP apps.

Choose which namespace to use

There are two different namespaces you can use to add in-app purchases and trial functionality to your UWP apps, depending on which version of Windows 10 your apps target. Although the APIs in these namespaces serve the same goals, they are designed quite differently, and code is not compatible between the two APIs.

Important

The Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace is no longer being updated with new features, and we recommend that you use the Windows.Services.Store namespace instead if possible for your app. The Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace is not supported in Windows desktop applications that use the Desktop Bridge or in apps or games that use a development sandbox in Dev Center (for example, this is the case for any game that integrates with Xbox Live).

Basic concepts

Every item that is offered in the Store is generally called a product. Most developers only work with the following types of products: apps and add-ons.

An add-on is a product or feature that you make available to your customers in the context of your app: for example, currency to be used in an app or game, new maps or weapons for a game, the ability to use your app without ads, or digital content such as music or videos for apps that have the ability to offer that type of content. Every app and add-on has an associated license that indicates whether the user is entitled to use the app or add-on. If the user is entitled to use the app or add-on as a trial, the license also provides additional info about the trial.

To offer an add-on to customers in your app, you must define the add-on for your app in the Dev Center dashboard so the Store knows about it. Then, your app can use APIs in the Windows.Services.Store or Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace to offer the add-on for sale to the user as an in-app purchase.

UWP apps can offer the following types of add-ons.

Add-on type Description
Durable An add-on that persists for the lifetime that you specify in the Windows Dev Center dashboard.

By default, durable add-ons never expire, in which case they can only be purchased once. If you specify a particular duration for the add-on, the user can repurchase the add-on after it expires.

Developer-managed consumable An add-on that can be purchased, used, and purchased again. This type of add-on is often used for in-app currency.

For this type of consumable, you are responsible for keeping track of the user's balance of items that the add-on represents, and for reporting the purchase of the add-on as fulfilled to the Store after the user has consumed all the items. The user cannot purchase the add-on again until your app has reported the previous add-on purchase as fulfilled.

For example, if your add-on represents 100 coins in a game and the user consumes 10 coins, your app or service must maintain the new remaining balance of 90 coins for the user. After the user has consumed all 100 coins, your app must report the add-on as fulfilled, and then the user can purchase the 100 coin add-on again.

Store-managed consumable An add-on that can be purchased, used, and purchased again. This type of add-on is often used for in-app currency.

For this type of consumable, the Store keeps track of the user's balance of items that the add-on represents. When the user consumes any items, you are responsible for reporting those items as fulfilled to the Store, and the Store updates the user's balance. Your app can query for the current balance for the user at any time. After the user consumes all of the items, the user can purchase the add-on again.

For example, if your add-on represents an initial quantity of 100 coins in a game and the user consumes 10 coins, your app reports to the Store that 10 units of the add-on were fulfilled, and the Store updates the remaining balance. After the user has consumed all 100 coins, the user can purchase the 100 coin add-on again.

Note  To use Store-managed consumables, your app must target Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (10.0; Build 14393) or a later release in Visual Studio, and it must use the Windows.Services.Store namespace instead of the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace.

Subscription A durable add-on where the customer continues to be charged at recurring intervals in order to keep using the add-on. The customer can cancel the subscription at any time to avoid further charges.

Note  Subscription add-ons are currently only available to developers who are participating in an early adoption program. To use subscription add-ons, your app must target Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (10.0; Build 14393) or a later release in Visual Studio, and it must use the Windows.Services.Store namespace instead of the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace.

Note

Other types of add-ons, such as durable add-ons with packages (also known as downloadable content or DLC) are only available to a restricted set of developers, and are not covered in this documentation.

In-app purchases and trials using the Windows.Services.Store namespace

This section provides an overview of important tasks and concepts for the Windows.Services.Store namespace. This namespace is available only to apps that target Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (10.0; Build 14393) or a later release in Visual Studio (this corresponds to Windows 10, version 1607). We recommend that apps use the Windows.Services.Store namespace instead of the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace if possible. For information about the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace, see this article.

In this section

Video

Watch the following video for an overview of how to implement in-app purchases in your app using the Windows.Services.Store namespace.

Get started with the StoreContext class

The main entry point to the Windows.Services.Store namespace is the StoreContext class. This class provides methods you can use to get info for the current app and its available add-ons, get license info for the current app or its add-ons, purchase an app or add-on for the current user, and perform other tasks. To get a StoreContext object, do one of the following:

  • In a single-user app (that is, an app that runs only in the context of the user that launched the app), use the static GetDefault method to get a StoreContext object that you can use to access Microsoft Store-related data for the user. Most Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are single-user apps.

    Windows.Services.Store.StoreContext context = StoreContext.GetDefault();
    
  • In a multi-user app, use the static GetForUser method to get a StoreContext object that you can use to access Microsoft Store-related data for a specific user who is signed in with their Microsoft account while using the app. The following example gets a StoreContext object for the first available user.

    var users = await Windows.System.User.FindAllAsync();
    Windows.Services.Store.StoreContext context = StoreContext.GetForUser(users[0]);
    

Note

Windows desktop applications that use the Desktop Bridge must perform additional steps to configure the StoreContext object before they can use this object. For more information, see this section.

After you have a StoreContext object, you can start calling methods of this object to get Store product info for the current app and its add-ons, retrieve license info for the current app and its add-ons, purchase an app or add-on for the current user, and perform other tasks. For more information about common tasks you can perform using this object, see the following articles:

For a sample app that demonstrates how to use StoreContext and other types in the Windows.Services.Store namespace, see the Store sample.

Implement in-app purchases

To offer an in-app purchase to customers in your app using the Windows.Services.Store namespace:

  1. If your app offers add-ons that customers can purchase, create add-on submissions for your app in the Dev Center dashboard.

  2. Write code in your app to retrieve product info for your app or an add-on offered by your app and then determine whether the license is active (that is, whether the user has a license to use the app or add-on). If the license isn't active, display a UI that offers the app or add-on for sale to the user as an in-app purchase.

  3. If the user chooses to purchase your app or add-on, use the appropriate method to purchase the product:

  4. Test your implementation by following the testing guidance in this article.

Implement trial functionality

To exclude or limit features in a trial version of your app using the Windows.Services.Store namespace:

  1. Configure your app as a free trial in the Windows Dev Center dashboard.

  2. Write code in your app to retrieve product info for your app or an add-on offered by your app and then determine whether the license associated with the app is a trial license.

  3. Exclude or limit certain features in your app if it is a trial, and then enable the features when the user purchases a full license. For more information and a code example, see Implement a trial version of your app.

  4. Test your implementation by following the testing guidance in this article.

Test your in-app purchase or trial implementation

If your app uses APIs in the Windows.Services.Store namespace to implement in-app purchase or trial functionality, you must publish your app to the Store and download the app to your development device to use its license for testing. Follow this process to test your code:

  1. If your app is not yet published and available in the Store, make sure your app meets the minimum Windows App Certification Kit requirements, submit your app to the Windows Dev Center dashboard, and make sure your app passes the certification process. You can configure your app so it is not discoverable in the Store while you test it.

  2. Next, make sure you have completed the following:

  3. With your project open in Visual Studio, click the Project menu, point to Store, and then click Associate App with the Store. Complete the instructions in the wizard to associate the app project with the app in your Windows Dev Center account that you want to use for testing.

    Note

    If you do not associate your project with an app in the Store, the StoreContext methods set the ExtendedError property of their return values to the error code value 0x803F6107. This value indicates that the Store doesn't have any knowledge about the app.

  4. If you have not done so already, install the app from the Store that you specified in the previous step, run the app once, and then close this app. This ensures that a valid license for the app is installed to your development device.

  5. In Visual Studio, start running or debugging your project. Your code should retrieve app and add-on data from the Store app that you associated with your local project. If you are prompted to reinstall the app, follow the instructions and then run or debug your project.

    Note

    After you complete these steps, you can continue to update your app's code and then debug your updated project on your development computer without submitting new app packages to the Store. You only need to download the Store version of your app to your development computer once to obtain the local license that will be used for testing. You only need to submit new app packages to the Store after you complete your testing and you want to make the in-app purchase or trial-related features in your app available to your customers.

If your app uses the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace, you can use the CurrentAppSimulator class in your app to simulate license info during testing before you submit your app to the Store. For more information, see Get started with the CurrentApp and CurrentAppSimulator classes.

Note

The Windows.Services.Store namespace does not provide a class that you can use to simulate license info during testing. If you use the Windows.Services.Store namespace to implement in-app purchases or trials, you must publish your app to the Store and download the app to your development device to use its license for testing as described above.

Receipts for in-app purchases

The Windows.Services.Store namespace does not provide an API you can use to obtain a transaction receipt for successful purchases in your app's code. This is a different experience from apps that use the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace, which can use a client-side API to retrieve a transaction receipt.

If you implement in-app purchases using the Windows.Services.Store namespace and you want to validate whether a given customer has purchased an app or add-on, you can use the query for products method in the Microsoft Store collection REST API. The return data for this method confirms whether the specified customer has an entitlement for a given product, and provides data for the transaction in which the user acquired the product. The Microsoft Store collection API uses Azure AD authentication to retrieve this information.

Using the StoreContext class with the Desktop Bridge

Desktop applications that use the Desktop Bridge can use the StoreContext class to implement in-app purchases and trials. However, if you have a Win32 desktop application or a desktop application that has a window handle (HWND) that is associated with the rendering framework (such as a WPF application), your application must configure the StoreContext object to specify which application window is the owner window for modal dialogs that are shown by the object.

Many StoreContext members (and members of other related types that are accessed through the StoreContext object) display a modal dialog to the user for Store-related operations such as purchasing a product. If a desktop application does not configure the StoreContext object to specify the owner window for modal dialogs, this object will return inaccurate data or errors.

To configure a StoreContext object in a desktop application that uses the Desktop Bridge, follow these steps.

  1. Do one of the following to enable your app to access the IInitializeWithWindow interface:

    • If your application is written in a managed language such as C# or Visual Basic, declare the IInitializeWithWindow interface in your app's code with the ComImport attribute as shown in the following C# example. This example assumes that your code file has a using statement for the System.Runtime.InteropServices namespace.

      [ComImport]
      [Guid("3E68D4BD-7135-4D10-8018-9FB6D9F33FA1")]
      [InterfaceType(ComInterfaceType.InterfaceIsIUnknown)]
      public interface IInitializeWithWindow
      {
        void Initialize(IntPtr hwnd);
      }
      
    • If your application is written in C++, add a reference to the shobjidl.h header file in your code. This header file contains the declaration of the IInitializeWithWindow interface.

  2. Get a StoreContext object by using the GetDefault method (or GetForUser if your app is a multi-user app) as described earlier in this article, and cast this object to an IInitializeWithWindow object. Then, call the IInitializeWithWindow.Initialize method, and pass the handle of the window that you want to be the owner for any modal dialogs that are shown by StoreContext methods. The following C# example shows how to pass the handle of your app's main window to the method.

    StoreContext context = StoreContext.GetDefault();
    IInitializeWithWindow initWindow = (IInitializeWithWindow)(object)context;
    initWindow.Initialize(System.Diagnostics.Process.GetCurrentProcess().MainWindowHandle);
    

Products, SKUs, and availabilities

Every product in the Store has at least one SKU, and each SKU has at least one availability. These concepts are abstracted away from most developers in the Windows Dev Center dashboard, and most developers will never define SKUs or availabilities for their apps or add-ons. However, because the object model for Store products in the Windows.Services.Store namespace includes SKUs and availabilities, a basic understanding of these concepts can be helpful for some scenarios.

Object Description
Product A product refers to any type of product that is available in the Store, including an app or add-on.

Each product in the Store has a corresponding StoreProduct object. This class provides properties you can use to access data such as the Store ID of the product, the images and videos for the Store listing, and pricing info. It also provides methods you can use to purchase the product.

SKU A SKU is a specific version of a product with its own description, price, and other unique product details. Each app or add-on has a default SKU. The only time most developers will ever have multiple SKUs for an app is if they publish a full version of their app and a trial version (in the Store catalog, each of these versions is a different SKU of the same app).

Some publishers have the ability to define their own SKUs. For example, a large game publisher might release a game with one SKU that shows green blood in markets that don't allow red blood and a different SKU that shows red blood in all other markets. Alternatively, a publisher who sells digital video content might publish two SKUs for a video, one SKU for the high-definition version and a different SKU for the standard-definition version.

Each SKU in the Store has a corresponding StoreSku object. Every StoreProduct has a Skus property you can use to access the SKUs for the product.

Availability An availability is a specific version of a SKU with its own unique pricing info. Each SKU has a default availability. Some publishers have the ability to define their own availabilities to introduce different price options for a given SKU.

Each availability in the Store has a corresponding StoreAvailability object. Every StoreSku has an Availabilities property you can use to access the availabilities for the SKU. For most developers, each SKU has a single default availability.

Store IDs

Every app, add-on, or other product in the Store has an associated Store ID (this is also sometimes called a product Store ID). Many APIs require the Store ID in order to perform an operation on an app or add-on.

The Store ID of any product in the Store is 12-character alpha-numeric string, such as 9NBLGGH4R315. There are several different ways to get the Store ID for a product in the Store:

  • For an app, you can get the Store ID on the App identity page of the Dev Center dashboard.
  • For an add-on, you can get the Store ID on the add-on's overview page in the dashboard.
  • For any product, you can also get the Store ID programmatically by using the StoreId property of the StoreProduct object that represents the product.

For products with SKUs and availabilities, the SKUs and availabilities also have their own Store IDs with different formats.

Object Store ID format
SKU The Store ID for a SKU has the format <product Store ID>/xxxx, where xxxx is a 4-character alpha-numeric string that identifies a SKU for the product. For example, 9NBLGGH4R315/000N. This ID is returned by the StoreId property of a StoreSku object, and it is sometimes called the SKU Store ID.
Availability The Store ID for an availability has the format <product Store ID>/xxxx/yyyyyyyyyyyy, where xxxx is a 4-character alpha-numeric string that identifies a SKU for the product and yyyyyyyyyyyy is a 12-character alpha-numeric string that identifies an availability for the SKU. For example, 9NBLGGH4R315/000N/4KW6QZD2VN6X. This ID is returned by the StoreId property of a StoreAvailability object, and it is sometimes called the availability Store ID.

How to use product IDs for add-ons in your code

If you want to make an add-on available to your customers in the context of your app, you must enter a unique product ID for your add-on when you create your add-on submission in the Dev Center dashboard. You can use this product ID to refer to the add-on in your code, although the specific scenarios in which you can use the product ID depend on which namespace you use for in-app purchases in your app.

Note

The product ID that you enter in the Dev Center dashboard for an add-on is different than the add-on's Store ID. The Store ID is generated by Dev Center.

Apps that use the Windows.Services.Store namespace

If your app uses the Windows.Services.Store namespace, you can use the product ID to easily identify the StoreProduct that represents your add-on or the StoreLicense that represents your add-on's license. The product ID is exposed by the StoreProduct.InAppOfferToken and StoreLicense.InAppOfferToken properties.

Note

Although the product ID is a useful way to identify an add-on in your code, most operations in the Windows.Services.Store namespace use the Store ID of an add-on instead of the product ID. For example, to programmatically retrieve one or more known add-ons for an app, pass the Store IDs (rather than the product IDs) of the add-ons to the GetStoreProductsAsync method. Similarly, to report a consumable add-on as fulfilled, pass the Store ID of the add-on (rather than the product ID) to the ReportConsumableFulfillmentAsync method.

Apps that use the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace

If your app uses the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace, you'll need to use the product ID that you assign to an add-on in the Dev Center dashboard for most operations. For example: