Soon you’ll be able to purchase a selection of Android games at your local big-box retailer, courtesy of developer conglomerate indiePub. They’ll begin selling cards with download codes redeemable for certain games, much like an iTunes or Amazon MP3 Store gift certificate. Android All-Stars cards should be available from retailers before the holiday season.
The advantage of store-bought games isn’t immediately apparent for a mobile populace used to fully digital distribution. But indiePub is exploiting a current weakness in the Android Market: there’s no way to “gift” an app or game for someone else, as the iOS App Store and game services like Steam can. The presence of a physical item, even if it’s just a plastic card, also makes for something to unwrap – it’s hard to put a URL underneath a Christmas tree.
The $10 cards will allow purchasers to download a group of apps via a redemption code. Several different collections will be available: Volume 1 has Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump, Sally’s Spa and others, Volume Two gets you Kona’s Crate, Guerilla Bob, Free Kicks Soccer, and Backbreaker Football, while the special Atari collection allows you to download over 100 classic 2600 games. Stores selling the cards in the United States and Canada will include Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Sam’s Club and Rogers Mobile. Games will be downloaded directly from indiePub, bypassing the Android Market.