Earlier this week, we reported that Apple is preparing to allow alternative app stores on iOS devices in the EU in order to comply with the Digital Markets act in the EU. This move will finally allow mobile game makers to work around Apple's 30 percent commission when selling their apps in Europe but it’s unclear at present whether this feature will be rolled out to other regions in the future,
Writing on Mastodon, Six to Start founder and CEO Adrian Hon delved into the importance of the move, and how it will affect the games space.
“I don't only think it's a good thing – I think it's essential to the flourishing of digital culture, and it's astonishing how so many people have become convinced otherwise,” writes Hon.
Hon addressed numerous common arguments against the move to open up the app markets, such as Apple’s ability to confirm the safety of apps, stating that the infrastructure which allows Apple to do so isn’t unique to the company.
Hon also stated that, while some consumers are concerned that new app stores could see large amounts of scams and junk apps, the App Store still faces these issues.
“Have you visited the App Store lately? Apple only spends a few minutes reviewing app updates and even major apps routinely break its rules (I found this myself while researching subscription paywall flows). New app stores could be worse, yes – but they could be a lot better, too.”
The benefits of alternative app stores
Hon clarifies the notable boons offered by alternative app stores, which go further than allowing publishers to circumvent the 30 percent fee charged by Apple on app sales and in-game purchases processed on the App Store.
Hon also states that alternative app stores can not only “allow for new, more targeted, discovery mechanisms,” but can allow for a wider range of content that would otherwise be censored, or even banned, on the App Store.
“Apple prohibits games about sex and they've had problems with political speech too. You might handwave this by saying "oh but at least they prohibit the bad stuff too" and I just disagree. This is the "Itch.io" store argument – we could have games about everything and anything, if we had third-party app stores.”
“People have been so starved of the benefits of multiple app stores that they have no idea what you might get. It's honestly tragic, and in economic terms, the opportunity cost is almost incalculable.”
“We have lost 15 years of digital cultural development because everything has to abide by a single gatekeeper that controls the dominant mobile platform in many countries. I will not be sad to see it go.”
In other Apple news, in October, the App Store raised its prices in Asia and Europe.