Apple’s latest App Store improvement notice has been met with controversy by a number of mobile developers, especially from the indie scene.
The new notice states that apps that haven’t been updated in some time are "to be removed from sale in 30 days", meaning new players will be unable to download such games, unless an app update is submitted within the time period.
Players who have already downloaded an app will be able to continue playing after its removal from the App Store.
This move comes not long after South Korea approved rules for a new law preventing Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their payment system.
Response and reaction
Indie developers have been taking to Twitter to express their concerns over the notice; for many, it is not financially viable to continually update an older or free game, especially if they don’t have the tools to modernise it. Protopop Games tweeted that it has been emailed by Apple confirming the removal of its games without an update, and creates "an unfair barrier" for indie devs.
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022
It's part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
This is an unfair barrier to indie devs. pic.twitter.com/7XNcLfiEcR
Another developer, going by Lazerwalker, was also informed of the potential removal of their games, and noted: "Games can exist as completed objects!"
.@apple is removing a few of my old games b/c they have “not been updated in a significant amount of time”— emilia ✨ (@lazerwalker) April 23, 2022
Games can exist as completed objects! These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago. pic.twitter.com/iflH70j7q4
"If software works, it works," Desktop Dungeons creator Danny Day said. "Not only does Apple aggressively discontinue OS versions, but they force devs to ratchet up to new versions too, making us complicit."
Apple has been approached for comment.
The Apple vs Epic case has created a long-lasting debate about the App Store, its policies, and relationship with developers. Recently, Roblox voiced its support for Apple in the legal dispute after Epic Games argued that Apple allows Roblox users to purchase other games in its app.