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Popular mobile games are bypassing Apple, Google fees for in-app purchases via web stores

GameRefinery explores how Clash of Clans, Marvel Strike Force, Star Trek: Fleet Comamnd and others are circumventing app store fees
Popular mobile games are bypassing Apple, Google fees for in-app purchases via web stores
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GameRefinery's mobile game analysts have noted a recent trend of gaming studios managing to bypass in-app purchase fees via launching web stores of their own.

Such stores where players can purchase currency and in-game items outside of the game itself, linking with an in-game account, may also include incentives like discounts to use this purchase method.

Going rogue

A number of popular mobile games now have their own web stores, from Game of Thrones: Conquest to Marvel Strike Force, Star Trek Fleet Command and even Supercell’s Clash of Clans.

GameRefinery figures show that in the last 30 days, Marvel Strike Force, for example, made $4 million in the US via consumer spending on iOS. The hugely successful Clash of Clans made a total $6.7 million in the same period, also in the US.

The sum that Apple and Google take from developers when in-app purchases are made is a contentious one, which many believe makes app development unsustainable for smaller teams. inkle's Jon Ingold recently spoke with us about the App Store and what a "punishing format" mobile is for indies.

"The vast majority of mobile games are free-to-play titles and make the majority of their revenue through in-app purchases," said GameRefinery senior market analyst Kalle Heikkinen.

"Given many of the most popular mobile games make upwards of $100,000 every single day, it’s no surprise that studios are looking to move their in-app purchases to channels outside of those where Apple and Google can take a fee, especially as larger studios still have to pay 30 per cent fees, rather than the reduced rate of 15 per cent for independent developers and small businesses."

The recent approval by the European Parliament of the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act is expected to have significant effects on Apple and Google.