Apple and the video games
Apple owns one of the biggest mobile video game industry platforms in the world. According to an analysis made by CNBC, App Store grossed around $50 million in sales in 2019. Which makes Apple one of the biggest players in the gaming industry. The issue is that this influence is often misused.
They massively contributed to the proliferation of base games that grant users free access. But incentivise the payment of microtransactions which drastically changed not only mobile games, but also those made for other video gaming platforms.
Although this trend seems to have improved in the past years. Apple landed another knockout blow on the rapidly developing video game industry
TechCrunch reported that Microsoft’s cloud-based game streaming service xCloud was blocked from the App Store. This deprives a considerable number of Xbox users of playing console quality on games of their iPhone or iPad devices.
Even though Apple approved a place for Facebook Gaming in its app store. Facebook had to strip all their games of readily accessible interactive content. Which were essentially additional built-in minigames (e.g. the secret basketball minigame which is available in Messenger to this day).
In both cases, Apple justified their decision by saying that they don’t want to let any third-party content. Which doesn’t conform to their strict review guidelines, onto their extra safe App Store which provides a safe and nurturing environment for both developers and customers.
In theory, this would be a fairly logical and justified decision. But as the Xbox team has already pointed out, Apple stands alone as the only platform to deny consumers from cloud-based gaming. While they apply much more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive creative content.
So, to put it simply: they don’t allow xCloud on their platform. Because they would be unable to review each individual game. But they approved Netflix, even though it seems unlikely that they reviewed and verified every movie and episode of every series displayed in the application.
App Store – Video Game Industry
Spiteful critics would argue that these decisions are more likely motivated by the fact that – since gaming apps are the most popular category in the App Store. Apple does not want any video game industry on its platform for which it does not receive any revenue.
At the same time, there is Apple Arcade which grants access to a wide range of advert-free, family-friendly indie games for a monthly subscription fee.
On the other hand, there’s the statement about protecting their users. This seems to run counter to all the games in their app store. Which are full of microtransactions: according to Sensor Tower’s report, out of App Store’s 200 most profitable games 199 apps are free. Which deprive all revenue from in-app purchases.