Google Play rewards system arrives in Japan, no sign of U.S. release yet

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Previous rumors that Google was working on a rewards scheme for the Google Play app store have proven to be correct, as Google Play Points has gone live in Japan.

The program has only been made available in Japan — as confirmed by the Google Support page for Google Play Points. Users earn rewards for all of their Google Play purchases, including paid apps or games, books, and movies, and even through in-app purchases or subscriptions.

Users gain points based on a tier system, with the most spend-happy users getting the biggest benefit from the system. At the lowest level, users will gain a single point per 100 yen spent (roughly $0.90), all the way up to the highest tier of rewards, which grants users two points per 100 yen spent. That’s not all though — different tiers will also give bonus points for spending money in specific apps, or for purchasing specific items. Here’s the current list of tiers and benefits, as compiled by 9to5Google.

  • Bronze level (up to 249 points):
    • 1 point earned for every 100 Yen spent
  • Silver level (250–999 points):
    • 1.25 points earned for every 100 Yen spent
    • 1 300-yen credit for in-app items
    • 1 100-yen movie rental
  • Gold level (1,000–3,999 points):
    • 1.5 points earned for every 100 yen spent
    • +1 300-yen credit for in-app items
    • + 2 500-yen ebook credits
    • +2 100-yen movie rentals
  • Platinum level (4,000–14,999 points):
    • 1.75 points earned for every 100 yen spent.
    • +1 300-yen credit for in-app items
    • +4 500-yen ebook credits
    • +4 100-yen movie rentals
  • Diamond level (more than 15,000 points):
    • 2 points earned for every 100 yen spent
    • +2 300-yen credits for in-app items
    • +6 500-yen ebook credits
    • +5 100-yen movie rentals

These points can be used to purchase items on the Google Play Store or through in-app purchases in the same way you’d use normal funds, or can be used to apply a discount to items. The points last for a year, and must be used within that year or they’re lost. Tiers work slightly differently, and it is possible to go down tiers if you don’t earn as many points as a previous year, and the emphasis is clearly on making people feel they have to spend to keep their level.

Users need to sign up to take part in the service, and as we mentioned, it’s only available in Japan for now. It’s currently unknown whether Japan will be the only region to get this reward scheme, or whether it’s simply being used as a test for later worldwide roll-out. It’s also unknown whether points will be retroactively granted to users, so you may want to hold off on investing in some of the best Android apps until we know more. We have reached out to Google and will update if we hear back.

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