|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||31 December 2009|
(latest known version)
GameStore was an internal application for testing the in-app purchase system on iPhoneOS. The app was accidentally submitted to the App Store on 31 December 2011. The app appeared in the Utilities section of the App Store for $0.99 and had a brief description reading, "This application allows you to buy different things from within the app." Strangely, the app was rated for ages 12 and up due to "Horror/Fear Themes," "Simulated Gambling," "Profanity or Crude Humor," "Realistic Violence," and "Mature/Suggestive Themes," despite not having any of the content mentioned. The App Store also listed the original post date for GameStore as 9 June 2009, which would have been during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), just ahead of the public launch of iPhoneOS 3.0, which introduced in-app purchases. The GameStore app had 4 tabs including Products List, Shopping Cart, Payment Q, and Settings. The Products List tab contained multiple paid items for games that did not officially exist. Users could buy items like "2 Lives" for $2.99, "Awesome Sword" for $0.99, "Ax" for $19.99, and "Big Gun" for $1.99. Items could be added to the Shopping Cart tab, from which the user could then purchase them. The Payment Q tab acted as somewhat of a digital receipt, containing your purchase history, owned items, restored items, failed items, and pending items. The Settings tab contained several options including a Restore from Purchase History button, the ability to Quick buy using SKU (e.g. SKU-GameStore-BigGun), as well as 3 switches; Get product SKUs from server, Display product images, and App displays error dialogs.
Removal & Refunds
On 2 January 2012, after many news outlets had published articles about the mysterious GameStore app, Apple removed it from the App Store. In the following days, Apple sent out emails to customers who had bought GameStore or any of its contents, in which they admitted that they had made a mistake in releasing the app "prematurely", and that they had issued refunds to users who had purchased anything from GameStore. The full contents of the email said, "You recently purchased 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." The use of the word "prematurely" in the email led many people to believe that Apple had originally planned on having a separate store, similar to that of the App Store, that only sold games. This theory was proven to be false as no such thing was every released.