App Store Cracks Down On Policy, Affects Many Indie Game Developers

Apple Cracks Down On Overalls, Risking Many Indie Developers Revenues
Credit: Pangkakit at Japanese Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.

Many indie game developers are feeling the hit from Apple’s recent decision to reinforce some of its App Store review guidelines. Chief among these has been the use of offerwall advertisements in-game; the more notable aspects of the targeted games include the use of watching a video, completing a survey or installing another game.

This has been a common practive in many indie games and other apps in the past; PocketGamer has claimed that 25 per cent of the top 100 grossing games monetise with an offerwall. Because of that, indie game developers have been some of the hardest hit with Apple’s new focus. The company began reinforcing these App Store rules just after Easter, with many developers now feeling the effects. According to many reports, some developers are missing out on thousands of dollars that they otherwise would have generated.

Perhaps the more notable of these targets have been CPI and CPE offers, which reward users for installing another game. According to sources, these in-app offerwall ads are in breach of section 3.2.2 of Apple’s App Store review guidelines. This states that app developers shouldn’t create:

…an interface for displaying third-party apps, extensions, or plug-ins similar to the App Store or as a general-interest collection.

This is something that mainly affects Tapjoy, Fyber and IronSource clients. Some reports have also suggested that any indie game developers or publishers that use these have been rejected from Apple’s App Store; this even went so far as to affect those submitting a new build. That being said, very few companies have commented publicly on the matter. However, Tapjoy Chief Revenue Officer Shannon Jessup did issue a statement to PocketGamer amount the matter. In it, Ms. Jessup noted that the company was working alongside Apple to help solve the issue. In the statement, she said:

Based on communication with Apple, we removed the pay-per-engagement (PPE) advertising product for iOS. It appears that other platforms that were running PPE have also removed this ad unit.

Fyber president Offer Yehudai also noted that they were working on finding a way around the problem. It’s also been suggested that Apple has targeted these practices to help filter out scams. At the moment, though, it looks as though many indie game developers are the ones suffering for it.