Apple will now allow developers to use alternate payment systems instead of going through the app store, subjecting them to 30% cuts by the platform owner.
According to Game Industry.biz, developers can now email users about alternative methods to pay for in-game goods (such as, say, primogems in Genshin Impact), and they won’t be penalized for making the price cheaper since they won’t have to adjust for Apple’s 30% cut.
However, users will have to opt in to receive information about the alternative payment options, and must have the option to opt out of communications.
Funnily enough, this has nothing to do with the ongoing Epic v Apple lawsuit, which saw Fortnite removed from the App Store for trying to circumvent Apple’s cut of sales.
The article is quick to explain the difference between the two lawsuits- the Epic lawsuit pertains to the inability to open your own App Store on iOS, which is even as of this concession, still a violation of the Terms of Service. Meanwhile this lawsuit is more about the Apple payment platform in general.
Instead, this class-action lawsuit was filed by small US developers in 2019.
In addition to that, the agreement will require Apple to launch a USD 100 million fund to assist small developers. To be eligible for the fund, you must have the following:
- Be a US-based Game Developer (due to the nature of the lawsuit)
- Have made less than USD 1 million every year across all their games between June 4, 2015 and April 26, 2021.
If the second one sounds confusing, it’s not: All it means is that a very profitable company, like Epic Games, cannot use their one unprofitable game to receive free money . Similar wording was used when Apple first revised its terms to forego its 30% cut late last year.
In addition, Apple will be making the following concessions, subject to the judge’s approval:
- Apple will maintain the App Store Small Business Program for at least the next three years. This is where businesses earning less than $1 million annually pay reduced commission.
- Apple will ensure its search results continue to be based on ‘objective characteristics’ such as downloads, star ratings, text relevance and user behaviour signals for at least the next three years.
- Apple will expand the number of price points for subscriptions, in-app purchases and paid apps from fewer than 100 to more than 500. This process will be completed by the end of 2022.
- Apple will continue to allow developers to appeal the rejection of an app based on what is believed to be ‘unfair treatment’. Apple will add content to the App Review website so that developers can better understand the appeals process.
- Apple will publish a ‘meaningful statistics about the app review process’ as part of a transparency report. The report will include the number of apps rejected, the number of customer and developer accounts deactivated, objective data regarding search queries and results and the number of apps removed from the app store.