Apple has made several clarifications surrounding payments in an ongoing dispute with developers.
Most notably, Apple will now allow developers to promote alternate payment options to consumers.
Irrespective of size, studios can now contact customers via email to inform them of the option to purchase in-game items and subscriptions through their website at a reduced cost, bypassing Apple’s 30 per cent commission.
Developers cannot however promote alternate payments within the apps themselves.
Users will have the chance to opt-in to receive the information from the developers as well as the ability to opt-out from further communications.
The new policy is one of several agreements that the tech giant has made in order to resolve an ongoing call-action lawsuit from US developers and are subject to court approval.
Phil Schiller, an Apple fellow who oversees the App Store, has said that the changes will "benefit all of our users".
As part of the agreement, Apple plans to launch a small business fund to aid smaller developers. To qualify for the fund, developers must have made $1 million or less through the US storefront between June 4th, 2015 and April 26th, 2021. Apple has said this encompasses 99 per cent of developers in the US.
Additionally, Apple has committed to maintaining the App Store Small Business Program for at least the next three years. The programme sees developers who earn less than $1 million annually paying a reduced commission of 15 per cent.
Studios can now contact customers to inform them about payment options external to the App Store.
Apple will continue to base search results on "objective characteristics", such as downloads and star ratings, for at least the next three years.
The company will allow developers to continue to appeal the rejection of an app based on perceived "unfair treatment". Content will be added to the App Review website that will provide more details surrounding the process.
The number of price points for paid apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions on the App Store will be expanded from less than 100 to more than 500. This process is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Apple has promised more transparency and will begin to publish a report of "meaningful statistics about the app review process". The report will include the number of apps removed from the App Store, the number of apps rejected, the number of customer and developer accounts deactivated and objective data regarding search queries and results.
The verdict for the current class-action lawsuit between Epic Games and Apple regarding a similar dispute surrounding App Store commission after the latter’s removal of Fortnite from the platform is expected later this year.