Apple Modifies iOS Guidelines for Real Money Gaming Apps

June 09

For all the announcements that were made during Apple’s WWDC 19 conference, there was one that escaped the headlines and it involved a key guideline change for gaming apps that are available through its App Store.

As the tech giant shifts to becoming a provider of entertainment as opposed to a hardware developer, Apple announced the decommissioning of iTunes, the rollout of iOS 13, improved protections for children’s data, and new laptops.

And among updated guidelines for app developers was a note that, effective right away, brand new gaming apps must be native to iOS. Current ones must also be updated by September 3. The crucial change for such apps is that they no longer allow the usage of real money.

“Guideline 4.7. HTML5 games distributed in apps may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce. This functionality is only appropriate for code that’s embedded in the binary and can be reviewed by Apple. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must follow this guideline by September 3, 2019,” read Apple’s announcement.

The updated guidelines are intended to block to the possibility of gambling on either an iPhone or an iPad. The previous guidelines in Section 4.7 Games, Bots Etc read: “Apps may contain or run code that is not embedded in the binary.”

This minute change means that new gaming apps must be native to iOS

Apple prefers native apps because they work better, taking advantage of a device’s iOS to load more quickly and deliver better performance. This change would essentially force game developers to construct a fully standalone version of a gaming app, that is completely different from one for Android if they want it to be given the green light for the App Store.

Building apps is both time-consuming and costly, and developers often try to get around this by making a standard app that can be altered for different mobile systems – iOS, Android, or Windows.

For major game developers, the expense of building native iOS gaming apps is affordable. These firms earn millions, and app development costs are just chump change compared to the revenue they bring in. However, smaller developers may have to make huge decisions about whether updating their apps or developing native ones for iOS is worth the cost. Some may well choose simply to withdraw their apps from the App Store.

Apple’s iOS reach is estimated to be around 505 million users, compared to Android’s user base of 1.4 billion, which is 74.45% of the smartphone market. The US and UK are significant markets for iOS. Last year, around 44.6% of US smartphone owners went for Apple, compared to just 55.4% for Android. In the UK, Apple’s iOS share of the market as of March 2019 was 49.3%.