A couple of weeks ago some iOS app developers started getting notices from Apple that their apps were rejected or banned. This came as a nasty shock because Apple made no comments on the rejections, neither did it officially change the Developer Guidelines. So, what’s going on?
If we analyze which apps got banned or rejected, we’ll see that they were apps that either had video ads or social sharing buttons (or both). Most of these apps were games – a lot of game apps use video ads and offer users to share their results via social networks. So, does this mean that you can’t have video ads in your games?
If we take a closer look at which apps suffered, we’ll see that they were the apps that had video ads advertising other apps. Those apps that had third-party video ads and didn’t promote other apps weren’t affected at all.
But Apple targeting apps with video ads is not the worst bit. What troubled the developers most was that apps with social sharing got affected. Allowing users to share their game high scores on Facebook and Twitter is a great way for game developers to attract new players and promote their games. So, naturally, the developers are not at all pleased (and neither is Facebook). But why is Apple doing this?
At this point in time we can only speculate, but it does look like Apple is trying to control how apps get discovered more and more. Since video ads that advertise other apps are considered a discovery tool that is not under Apple’s jurisdiction, Apple is trying to get rid of those ads. And because recently Facebook has become a powerful third-party app discovery tool, Apple is trying to control the in-app sharing process.
In any case, it will be interesting to see how iOS game developers react to these changes if these changes are here to stay.