Im currently writing a turn based start game, which will be played in an MMO style (players download clients, central server handling the game logic etc.) and now I need to decide how I charge my players for playing my game, since this will have some implications on how player account handling is going to work.

After looking a bit around, I found two alternative ways of doing this

a) Classical in-app purchase, for which my clients need to be able to take the payment info, send them to my server which then charges the selected amount (using some API like stripe.com) and provides the selected services

b) Account administration and payment via website, and then synchronization between website and game server over some database

Most MMO games I know use the website approach (b) although I assume that in-app purchase (a) is faster and easier for my players and will therefore yield higher conversion rates.

So, my question is: Are there some major problems (security, paperwork) or drawbacks (complicated to implement) with in-app purchase I overlooked?

Im not doing a mobile game (full desktop) and Im from europe, just in case this information might be needed.


1 Answer 1


The important thing to remember, is to keep your in-app purchased local to the server only. If a customer purchases something, whether through your website or through your game, it should get processed server-side.

Look at Guild Wars 2, SWTOR, or Hearthstone for examples of game that do this. Their in-game purchase screen is no more than a fancy website that happens to match the style of the game itself, Guild Wars 2 literally uses an in-game browser to achieve this.

Of course, you still want to take account security in mind. Just because someone's logged in game doesn't mean you can trust them with 1-click purchases.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I was hoping for a more technical answer. I know that both ways are possible, but I was under the impression that for some reason, website is far more common. What I was hoping to hear was if there are special (bigger) problems with the in-app purchase approach. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2014 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not really. There's nothing special about it. A website takes a form generated from HTML, and uses it to call a service on the server, processing the response. Likewise your game would take a form generated from your UI engine, and use it to call a service on the server, processing the response. In both cases, you're talking with the server in the same fashion. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39686
    Feb 25, 2014 at 18:36

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