Apple's Internal 'GameStore' Testing App Accidentally Appears in App Store [Update: Pulled]

As noted by German sites Flo's Weblog [Google translation] and iFun.de [Google translation], a curious new iOS application that seems to be from Apple has appeared in the App Store. The new app, known as GameStore [App Store], debuted on December 31st and seems to be a test app of some sort, offering several racing-themed in-app purchases but without any actual functionality.


GameStore product listings and in-app purchase confirmation for "Nitrous"

The app is priced at $0.99, with the three in-app purchases currently available through the app priced between $0.99 and $2.99. Additional in-app purchases shown in the single screenshot shown on the App Store page for GameStore show items as high as $26.99, but these other items are not currently visible in the app itself.

In-app purchases made through the app do go through and users' accounts are charged for them, but with no actual game supporting the content available, they have no functionality.


App Store page for GameStore app and Settings pane from within app

When the app's listing is viewed in the App Store from an iOS device, the posting date is listed as June 9, 2009, which was during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference just ahead of the public launch of iPhone OS 3.0 and the debut of in-app purchasing. Consequently, GameStore may simply be an internal testing app for the feature that was somehow accidentally published to the public App Store over the weekend.

Update: GameStore has now been removed from the App Store.

Update 2: TUAW's Erica Sadun took a closer look at the app from a developer's perspective, concluding that the app was likely sample code for an in-app purchasing developer test that somehow mistakenly got approved by Apple.

What developers do is upload a working skeleton application to iTunes Connect. You do this with the full understanding that you'll be replacing or, for tutorials, rejecting your binary at some point in the future. Once uploaded, you can test your IAPs, and make sure all your purchasing processes work. Looks like the app was submitted in order to provide a live testbed and may have gotten approved inadvertently.

After consulting with the TUAW team, our take on this is "likely sample code accidentally deployed to App Store" by Apple and then quickly pulled once people took notice. TUAW reached out directly to the developer we suspect was behind the app upload before it got pulled.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
112 months ago
I heard you like apps so I put an app store in your app store so you can buy an app to buy apps
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

That app's UI is of very poor quality. Definitely not up to Apple's standards.


Its the stock iOS UI...its Apples UI.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
I wish Apple would make a separate iOS games store. I'd like to see some real (productive, informational, social) apps on the Top 25, rather than just a list of games the kiddies like.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

Maybe Apple had planned to have a seperate game store, but decided against it.

Nope, looks more like a In-App Purchase (StoreKit) example application. Probably something that was made for the developer documentation.

Like the article says, this looks to be selling In-app content, not apps themselves.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
Maybe Apple had planned to have a seperate game store, but decided against it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

That app's UI is of very poor quality. Definitely not up to Apple's standards.

Apple probably has dozens, if not hundreds of apps that look like this one. The point is that this is an internal testing app, not one meant for public consumption.

Pretty much every single industry on the place has different standards of presentation based on whether or not it's an internal-only matter or if it's a customer-facing item.

Example: restaurant uses large stainless steel hotel pans and metal tongs, but plates on nice porcelain china with polished silverware in the dining room.

You can't really judge whether or not this app is up to Apple's standards since we don't know what their internal code standards are.

Theoretically, an app like this should be simple and perform the task for which it was designed. It is was meant to debug in-app purchases, order flow, etc. it is probably sufficiently effective for what it was meant to do. To polish it up would be a dreadful waste of Apple's resources.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Apple Launches New Gift Card for 'Everything Apple'

Friday July 31, 2020 3:45 am PDT by
Apple has introduced a new single gift card in the U.S. for all things Apple. First spotted by iCulture, the card can be used at the App Store and other online services, but you can also use it to buy products and accessories in the Apple Store. Previously, there were two separate Apple gift cards available: iTunes cards, which can be used for App Store, iTunes Store, and iCloud storage...

Leaker Jon Prosser Claims iPhone 12 and New iPads Will Launch in October

Wednesday July 29, 2020 4:15 pm PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans, today said that new iPhone 12 models and new iPads will launch in October. Multiple rumors have suggested that some or all of the iPhone 12 models coming this year will see a later than normal launch. Apple typically unveils and releases new iPhones in the month of September, but problems...