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European Games Developer Federation "disappointed" over Apple’s new “anticompetitive” EU rules

EGDF joins Xbox, Epic Games and Spotify in criticising new policies
European Games Developer Federation
  • Apple's new rules to comply with the Digital Markets Act have drawn ire from Epic Games, Spotify and Xbox
  • EGDF says Core Technology Fee will disincentivise developers from distributing games on third-party marketplaces or using alternative payment systems
  • EGDF wants robust enforcement from EU on the Digital Markets Act to ensure compliance by Apple
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The European Games Developer Federation has expressed its disappointment in Apple’s new EU iOS and App Store policies and is calling for “robust enforcement” of the Digital Markets Act.

Last week Apple unveiled new policies to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which targets large online companies - known as gatekeepers - and aims to create a “fairer business environment” for all.

Apple said it would cut its App Store revenue share from 30% to 17%, but would add 3% on Apple Pay transactions while also implementing a new €0.50 fee for all downloads over a one million install threshold on an annual basis. If developers don’t agree to the terms, they can maintain the previous 30% share.

“Anticompetitive fee structure”

Apple has drawn criticism from a number of companies and bodies, with the EGDF issuing a statement on the matter.

The trade body noted it was “highly disappointed in Apple’s new anticompetitive fee structure”, which Apple has termed the 'Core Technology Fee'.

It added the new install fee would make it difficult for any app developer to compete against Apple’s services - such as the App Store - and would disincentivise developers from distributing games on third-party marketplaces or using alternative payment systems.

“While Apple App Store does not have to pay any annual install fee, or it would be included in the price of the phone itself, all competing marketplaces would be forced to pay tens of millions of euros for Apple to reach a similar market position as Apple App Store,” it said.

The EGDF has raised several concerns over what it called “unjustified limitations” introduced by Apple’s new rules.

It highlighted that Apple should enable the use of both Apple Pay and third-party payment systems simultaneously, that the company must not use iOS 17.4 security and privacy functions - namely App Tracking Transparency (ATT) - to “create anti-competitive data access barriers”, and that it must not use “excessive and unnecessarily alarming warning notifications” for third-party payments.

It also called the €1 million credit line for marketplaces - a requirement to cover potential claims from users and developers - created an artificial market access barrier for third-party storefronts.

“All in all, EGDF is deeply disappointed that, once again, due to regulatory uncertainty and poor enforcement of EU law, global industry giants will get a head start on introducing alternative third-party mobile marketplaces in the EU,” read a statement.

“European SME game publishers will likely only be able to take the financial risk to exploit the new market opportunities once there is more clarity on whether or not the new Apple fee structure is in line with the EU rules. “

Critics grow louder

The EGDF’s statement comes as Spotify and Xbox have both criticised Apple’s new EU rules in the face of the DMA.

Xbox president Sarah Bond issued a statement on Twitter (now known as X), stating she hoped the iPhone giant would listen to feedback and “work towards a more inclusive future for all”.

“We believe constructive conversations drive change and progress towards open platforms and greater competition,” said Bond.

“Apple's new policy is a step in the wrong direction. We hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all.”

Her statement came after Spotify labelled Apple’s new rules “extortion” and a “complete and total farce”. Meanwhile, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called the policies “hot garbage” and were “a new instance of malicious compliance”.