A mere seven months ago, we saw the launch of Google's Play Store gift cards, a much wished-for addition to the store front that made gifting the store's digital content almost as easy as it should be. Unfortunately for international users, though, the cards were only destined for the US at launch. When "redeem pages" popped up in the UK's online and device-based stores in mid-December, many thought the cards would hit retail stores in time for the holidays. Alas, the holidays came and went with nary a peep from Goog on the subject.

Now, however, we seem to have another promising development that should return hope to UK Play patrons – Google has updated its "Gift cards & Google Play balance" help files with UK-specific information. The page now reads "Google Play gift cards are currently available in the United States and United Kingdom," and lists denominations of £10, 25, and 50.


Does this point to an imminent release of physical gift cards to UK retailers? Maybe. While the changes definitely sound promising, there's no way of knowing exactly when the cards will reach retailers. Also worth pointing out is the fact that play.google.com/about/giftcards still throws a 404 error when accessed from the UK. This, of course, is likely to change only when UK gift cards go official.

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you spot a gift card in the UK. You can read the full updated support document at the link below.

Source: Google Play Support

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • FadyMahfouz

    I can't understand how is this impossible to do all over the world ? It's a piece of paper with a code on it for fuck sake.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      One major roadblock is distribution. Being able to send the cards around the world is one thing, but distributing them to the hands of customers is another. To do that, Google needs to partner with retailers, which doesn't happen overnight.

      Considerations also need to be made for what countries support paid Play services in the first place. Play gift cards are pointless (on paper) for countries that don't have access to full services. The distribution of these services is another conversation entirely.

      • HellG

        i agree with you both, but hear me out and i know i will get many dislikes for this and maybe a kick on the crouch from Artem T_T
        google has been doing a horrible job on "spreading" the play store around the world, my country just had the ability to buy apps from the store like a month ago and before that everyone was forced to sideload apps :/
        i'm currently in Egypt, i remember the existence of the OVI store in here with the ability to pay for apps with credit almost instantly, the App store didnt take long as well and with its cards available from long time ago, google is not pushing the store hard enough even though its whole android income comes from it, i dont know why but other companies have been much faster, oh and samsung app store has been available here for so long as well, and i really need these cards that i even asked family members in canada and holland to try find it for me and all failed, i'm a teen and i dont own/have a need for a credit card and with my inability to pay with phone credit my only way is to sideload apps and as a programmer it really feels so bad to do such thing as i know the amount of effort the developers put :/

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          This link is a little dated, but it's good for illustrating that the Play Store is definitely not Google's only revenue stream with Android. Remember, Google is an ad and search company, and those facets of business are not absent in Android. http://www.asymco.com/2012/05/14/the-android-income-statement/

          I don't really know enough about the OVI store to comment on that, but it's worth considering that Android's initial release was in 2008. Just as an example, Apple's iTunes store opened in the spring of 2003, giving it at least a five year lead over what would become Google's Play Store.

          Samsung's App Store, on the other hand (if you mean 'Samsung Apps') is a distribution platform for apps, not music, movies, books and other media. I'm not an expert, but I assume that distributing apps internationally is much easier to manage than media like books or movies which have historically held (legal and governmental) roadblocks for Google's progress. Paid apps are available in Egypt along with a ton of other countries, and all services have continued to expand (albeit slowly) to more parts of the world.

          I think the problem with the spread of the Play Store is real, and I don't discount the feelings of users who aren't able to take advantage of all Google's services, but I think whatever problem may exist is exacerbated by appearance, and not by an utter lack of care on Google's part.

          • HellG

            Really professional and informative reply, thank you
            it kinda make sense now, but dont you think they are still a bit slow?

          • 8Charlie

            Samsung's store has music and videos. Still don't see why the countries that DO have the option for buying apps should be able to have this feature, i.e. gift cards.

            It's the developers that should be pissed really. We've heard enough complaining about the high amount of piracy in the app store. Outside of the US credit cards are not popular. So if I want an app that I need to pay for, I could have waited and would still ve waiting for 5 years now or I could download it illegally. At a certain point you're sick of waiting and you say suck it to developers. Google still makes some.cash with its ads, but the developers gets zilch.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            The ability to buy paid apps with a credit card doesn't magically solve the problem of distributing physical gift cards to/through retailers.

            Also, I refuse to believe that piracy is an inevitability when you don't have the ability to pay for an app. Does it happen? Sure, but it isn't a force of nature.

          • 8Charlie

            The lack of the ability to distribute gift cards physically doesn't explain why they can't be distributed digitally. The lack of the ability to purchase books or movies with a gift card doesn't explain the lack of the ability to purchase apps with a gift card.

            And again, it can't possibly be that hard. Spotify is like a year or two popular, and they've had gift cards everywhere since the beginning. Without multiple headquarters, offices or a staff of in the thousands.

            If anyone can explain to me why Spotify can do it but Google(!) can't, please do so.

        • iboalali

          do you mean, you couldn't pay for app in the play store a few month ago?
          that is strange especially because Google Middle East HQ is in Egypt.
          I'm here in Jordan and can pay for app via a credit card using Google Wallet for a year now, maybe more

          • HellG

            Yup, and i think the news was even here, we couldn't even see paid apps on the market only few ones, pretty sad if you ask me :/

      • Teddy

        I see a multitude of gift cards like iTunes, Spotify, etc at Sainsbury, Tesco, Waitrose (big UK supermarkets), Boots (pharmacy) and many other shops.

        Admittedly, I'm not an expert in distribution but I just can't believe that it is that hard to create a product and get a retailer to stock it and essentially make (more) money! We're not talking about a startup-nobody company with a staff of 2, but one of the biggest IT companies in the world with their HQ in Ireland with thousands of employees!

        However, even if distribution deals won't happen overnight it sure took El Goog a long time to add that capability to the Play Store.

        I think the issue is that their retail strategy (from product launches to services, etc) is just not good enough. Certainly nowhere near as good as Apple's. I suppose it's the fact that Google's main income stream is in the search rather than selling stuff like Apple does.

        • 8Charlie

          Exactly. Google can't seem to get a single retail launch or product right. I didn't even get started on how the Nexus 4 isn't available in most of Europe. I think out of the 27 countries in the EU it's available in three or four. And that's not counting the European countries that are not in the EU. But Google presents the Nexus as a flagship parade horse for Android. Great device, but when only a total of 5 or 6 countries can buy it; it really doesn't matter how great a device it is. Same with the Play Store.

      • 8Charlie

        They're not pointless, because then you can buy what is available in your country with the credit? Just like how it is and has been for 6 or 7 years already with credit cards. Google doesn't stop me from entering my credit card info, even though I don't have access to it's music, books, movies, etc. stores.

        Furthermore, there are Spotify gift cards. Couple of days ago I saw a gift card specifically for donating to charities. Every no name MVNO has top up cards in all stores here (the Netherlands). I come from an island of 150,000 people and we have top up cards for my sweet tiny island here in the Dutch stores! Spotify, MVNOs and some island no one has ever heard of can get it all done before Google can? Not to mention Apple that has been selling gift cards here for years.

        And Google can't print some paper and open a redeem page up in Europe? It wouldn't even have to be on paper or in stores. They're always talking about how important and amazing online purchasing is/should be right? Let me order them online! No stores, no deals, no nonsense.

        I, for one, has gotten used to/comfortable with/great at pirating all paid apps. So I don't think I'll even need them anymore. You had you're window Google.

  • John Gallacher

    me want in canada.

    • Zomby2D

      I find it ridiculous that they seem to provide more services oversea than here. We're their closest neighbour.

  • Ivan Myring

    Yes! I've been waiting since I first heard of them (this is because I am 14 and don't have a credit card or any thing)

  • Kurt Wurmser

    I've felt Google ought to be making Play Store cards a priority for a while. The growth markets are in prepaid. Android has a huge advantage in prepaid (namely that a manufacturer can make inexpensive phones.) Those people ought to be able to load 25 dollars or pounds or euros or whatever and buy some apps and music. It's not like exchange rates are impossible for Google to figure out.

  • TheGiftCardCentre UK

    hope to have these soon at http://www.thegiftcardcentre.co.uk - in the meantime itunes are our best selling gift cards

  • ayatali