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Apple bans rewarded actions: "I think it wants to own app discovery," says source

Apple bans rewarded actions: "I think it wants to own app discovery," says source

Further to the news that Apple is rejecting apps based on a reinterpretation of Developer Guildeline clauses 2.25 and 3.10, we've been speaking to one of the many companies affected.

Talking of the record, it said the issue started bubbling up last week and it has since become clear that this isn't a couple of apps being rejected.

"It starts off looking random but it's happening to developers all over the world. This is now policy," they said.

However, there's been nothing official from Apple in terms of a wider reinterpretation, merely an increasing number of rejected apps.

Bad developer, no twinkie

The core of the issue appears to be rewarding users with in-game currency for actions, whether viewing video adverts from other developers - adverts from non-app brands seem to be okay - or sharing high scores, screenshots etc on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

"It's a real shame, because these sort of video ads are a great source of revenue for developers, the players really like them, and they present advertisers within a great user experience," our source commented.

"Developers are being caught in the cross-fire between Apple, Google and Facebook."

An iAd gap

Indeed, taking a wider view, it seems likely that Apple's move comes due to the pressure it's feeling from the rise of Android as an rival mobile OS, combined with Facebook's rapid rise to become the #1 app discovery platform in the west.

"I think Apple wants to own app discovery, which is an incredibly lucrative market. But the problem is it's taken away something that works really well," adds our source.

"It has to give something back to the industry. Unfortunately, everyone knows iAd is terrible."


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Magnus S CEO at Triolith Entertainment
As i mentioned in the other article we got this from Apple for one of our games.
"We would like to inform you "No Ads" achieved other than using In App Purchase is not in compliance with guide line 11.2"
Steve Halcovitch
So gone are the days of giving little rewards for inviting facebook friends, sharing screenshots, high scores etc??

I can see rewarding players for clicking or watching ADs being an issue, but rewarding players for spreading word about your game is just ridiculous.
Ouriel Ohayon
"I think Apple wants to own app discovery, which is an incredibly lucrative market. But the problem is it's taken away something that works really well," adds our source.

> i really don t think so. Apple simply wants to make the app install market cleaner and not artificially fueled with weird promotion techniques. Proof? they are ok with ads that are not incentivized, even for apps. If that was the case the text would clearly say "you can t use ad networks to promote an app". They know ads are an important revenues for developers, they would not hit what makes 90% of apps available in the store. It s just an action towards avoiding skewed practices.
Brien Downie
and yet, ads that aren't 'incentivized' (i.e. typical interstitials) are basically foisted upon users and are a bad user experience. This may very well suppress downloads of new apps, and thus suppress in-game purchases, which will in turn suppress Apple's revenue. Though I suppose they really don't care about how much money they make from iOS app revshare... it's a pittance compared to how much they make per iOS device.
Ouriel Ohayon
There is a major misunderstanding about how "typical interstitials" hurt the user experience. The reality is that most interstitials are poorly designed, deceptive, hard to close, forced with no limit on frequency capping, placed aggressively at any level of the app. The rush for quick bucks has transformed this format in something that the industry hates.

Take any ad that has the potential to be great and apply a few evil ingredients and it becomes the worst experience ever. The problem is not the format. The problem is what some players make of it. The same is true of video, of native ads, of search ads,.....
jon jordan
I think in the longterm, Apple wants to shift the entire ecosystem back to a paid app/game model