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The ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic Games has spurred complaints from Japanese game developers about Apple's App Store business model and the way it handles third-party app submissions.

Bloomberg reports that some developers in the Japanese gaming market have been emboldened by the dispute and are becoming more vocal about their own concerns, which including Apple's 30% commission rate and inconsistent enforcement of App Store policies.
While Epic, publisher of the hit title Fortnite, focuses on the 30% revenue cut app stores typically take, Japanese game studios have broader concerns. They have long been unhappy with what they see as Apple's inconsistent enforcement of its own App Store guidelines, unpredictable content decisions and lapses in communication, according to more than a dozen people involved in the matter.
According to game developers in Japan, Google's Play Store offers a smoother approval process and better communication than the App Store. Some developers even rely on a third-party service called iOS Reject Rescue, which helps them navigate through Apple's approval process if their app is rejected.

"Apple's app review is often ambiguous, subjective and irrational," said Makoto Shoji, founder of PrimeTheory, which provides the rejection service. "While Apple will never admit it, I think there are times when they simply forget an item's in the review queue or they intentionally keep it untouched as a sanction to a developer giving them the wrong attitude," Shoji told Bloomberg.

Japanese developers have also been critical of the way Apple interprets what is appropriate content and say it often changes policies without advance notice. One topic in particular they take issue with is Apple's judgement of what constitutes overtly sexualized or pornographic material. The report notes that several game studios had characters in swimsuits approved only for them to be later rejected as Apple considered them to be "sexualized."

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny over its App Store practices from both developers and regulators in recent months. In response to the public clash between Apple and Epic Games, Japan's antitrust regulator has said it will "step up attention" to the iPhone maker's practices and how they affect the country's massive mobile gaming market.

Article Link: Japanese Developers Criticize Apple's App Store Policies and Approval Process
 
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ruka.snow

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These all sound like valid complaints regarding the review process needing tightened up and on their content policy. Indeed one of the main issues with the AppStore is that we can't put up a gambling app for a sports betting website(not even a fantasy one), we can't put up a interactive fiction of the less wholesome variety, and even chat apps where the chat is adult only.

Of course, all of these can be done as web apps so there hasn't been any loss. But it would be nice to be able to build these as native apps on the AppStore(I am sure Apple can add an over 16s section).
 
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acorntoy

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May 25, 2010
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These all sound like valid complaints regarding the review process needing tightened up and on their content policy. Indeed one of the main issues with the AppStore is that we can't put up a gambling app for a sports betting website(not even a fantasy one), we can't put up a interactive fiction of the less wholesome variety, and even chat apps where the chat is adult only.

Of course, all of these can be done as web apps so there hasn't been any loss. But it would be nice to be able to build these as native apps on the AppStore(I am sure Apple can add an over 16s section).

I find it funny that if developers had embraced Steve’s OG vision of web apps almost every argument would be moot. It was developers disinterest that forced Apple to create the App Store. Which was embraced, and is now being vilified.
 
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ruka.snow

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I find it funny that if developers had embraced Steve’s OG vision of web apps almost every argument would be moot. It was developers disinterest that forced Apple to create the App Store. Which was embraced, and is now being vilified.

I agree with you, there was nothing wrong with building web apps on the original iPhone. It was super easy to build and update, but you had a wee bit of fuss with costs. Native apps are cheeper to sell.
 
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ruka.snow

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And now the cost of easy has become too much.

How the circle goes round.

Well there are still significantly more apps out there than would be possible if developers had to pay to host them themselves. Bandwidth usage isn't trivial and CDN's aren't free. However, yes there is a downside and that is what content we can sell in a native app. Apple need a 16 and over gated version of the App Store so they can still protect the kids while also opening up to adult focused apps(that doesn't need to mean porn).
 
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jacksam

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Aug 17, 2020
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This, this is the real issue many developers face, especially those who do not have a huge megaphone and that are not busy battling because of greed.

I've had multiple devs of some of my favorite apps let me know why a feature or a bug fix or a creative implementation have been shut down, and that they were advised to not put that explanation on the blog, or on the next update's "what's new field".

Apple had, they still might have it as a guideline that they can reject apps at "our sole discretion", so heaven forbid that developers send an app to a nameless,faceless reviewer who is cranky because its almost lunch time and rejects it ( think of the study with visa approvals) only so that you can see competitors have theirs approved the same day. Plus silent retribution is a real thing.
 
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LonestarOne

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Sep 13, 2019
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These all sound like valid complaints regarding the review process needing tightened up and on their content policy. Indeed one of the main issues with the AppStore is that we can't put up a gambling app for a sports betting website(not even a fantasy one), we can't put up a interactive fiction of the less wholesome variety, and even chat apps where the chat is adult only.

There are plenty of ways to do gambling and porn on the Internet. Big bad Apple isn’t stopping you from indulging in vice.
 
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PickUrPoison

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Sep 12, 2017
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I find it funny that if developers had embraced Steve’s OG vision of web apps almost every argument would be moot. It was developers disinterest that forced Apple to create the App Store. Which was embraced, and is now being vilified.
Vilified? Not really. A few greedy devs, which is to be expected when billions of dollars are at stake.

(If Epic had the law on their side, they wouldn’t be trying to weaponize their customers in their little PR stunt. Sweeney’s Twitter is laughable, if their lawsuit were serious he wouldn’t constantly be running his mouth and burying his attorneys up to their eyes in facepalm.)

This article seems to be about game developers who are flirting at the edge of porn being unhappy that they sometimes get busted after initially slipping something through.

The quote from the dev-helper-service guy is sort of weird, and self-serving, as you would expect. Seems like a big nothingburger to me.
 
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willyx

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Apr 25, 2014
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These all sound like valid complaints regarding the review process needing tightened up and on their content policy. Indeed one of the main issues with the AppStore is that we can't put up a gambling app for a sports betting website(not even a fantasy one), we can't put up a interactive fiction of the less wholesome variety, and even chat apps where the chat is adult only.

Of course, all of these can be done as web apps so there hasn't been any loss. But it would be nice to be able to build these as native apps on the AppStore(I am sure Apple can add an over 16s section).

Porn is allegedly not allowed on the App Store as per its rules.

However, an app like Reddit displays porn content on many of its subreddits. I would love an explanation by Apple on why is Reddit allowed to include porn and not others.
 
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Dreamer2go

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Jun 23, 2007
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I find it funny that the voices of these "developers" are now louder once Apple's revenue on Services has increased significantly. Everyone just wants a bigger piece of Apple's pie... (pun intended). It's because of the strict AppStore guidelines that I feel iOS is safer.
 
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LonderJan

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Nov 25, 2015
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Article Link: Japanese Developers Criticize Apple's App Store Policies and Approval Process
[/QUOTE]
If an app has been approved, I don’t think Apple should reject the same app later on, unless it has been found to pose a security risk or violate app management protocol.

I agree but under the condition that the app itself remains unchanged. If the developer all of a sudden decides to activate something that was not visible when he/she submitted his/her app for review, that's a totally different thing.
 
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Apple_Robert

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Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.


I agree but under the condition that the app itself remains unchanged. If the developer all of a sudden decides to activate something that was not visible when he/she submitted his/her app for review, that's a totally different thing.
[/QUOTE]
I agree. That is what I was thinking in my previous post but, didn’t elaborate enough to point that technically out.

It may be Apple needs more people in the app approval department. I think they should also have a app communications department that will provide further assistance to the developer when met with a rejection or answer questions about the approval process etc.
 
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ruka.snow

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Porn is allegedly not allowed on the App Store as per its rules.

However, an app like Reddit displays porn content on many of its subreddits. I would love an explanation by Apple on why is Reddit allowed to include porn and not others.

It all seems to come under what they perceive the intent is. For instance, you can get a role playing app approved if it is all fantasy fun and dungeons and dragons. But you can't get one approved if the existing site is known primarily as a place for sexual role play. Even if at the end of the day these are both just glorified group chats that can also be done on Discord.

Reddit is not a primary provider of porn, at least it seems that way from my own visits.
 
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ruka.snow

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It's because of the strict AppStore guidelines that I feel iOS is safer.

iOS would not be less safe with a anime girl in bikinis beach volleyball game where the bulk of the development budget was spend on boob physics.

These developers are not asking for side loading, they are asking for consistency with app store submissions.
 
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willyx

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Apr 25, 2014
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It all seems to come under what they perceive the intent is. For instance, you can get a role playing app approved if it is all fantasy fun and dungeons and dragons. But you can't get one approved if the existing site is known primarily as a place for sexual role play. Even if at the end of the day these are both just glorified group chats that can also be done on Discord.

Reddit is not a primary provider of porn, at least it seems that way from my own visits.

Could be.

If that were the reason though, there would be many ways to exploit that "primary provider" concept. What if I did a chat or role play app that only displayed porn under special circumstances? Would Apple allow that? I would love to try out but my guess is not.

This ambiguity and lack of clarity about what is allowed adds to the argument that App Store rules are a complete clusterf uck.
 
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PickUrPoison

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Is that a fair argument though? I feel pretty safe on macOS – even though I can install software on my Mac from other places than the Mac App Store.
If the Mac were as popular as iOS, it would be buried in malware just like Windows and Android.

Edit: I see I’ve ruffled a few feathers with a truth-bomb 🤣Sorry not sorry 🙂
 
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Wildkraut

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Nov 8, 2015
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I find it funny that the voices of these "developers" are now louder once Apple's revenue on Services has increased significantly. Everyone just wants a bigger piece of Apple's pie... (pun intended). It's because of the strict AppStore guidelines that I feel iOS is safer.
Well, Apple will face that they can't simply do anything they want here on planet earth.
They will have to obey the rules and laws setup by nations around the world.

There are uncounable small devs that got insulted and abused by Apple, we had the same effect with Harvey Weinstein, but in this case it's digital sales rapping. It's not about getting a piece of cake, but thanks to EPIC the small devs became courageous and started to raise their voices.

It's about time for a general sideloading enforcement law.
 
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123

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Mar 3, 2002
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It was developers disinterest that forced Apple to create the App Store.
Did developers' disinterest in web apps call for a health and prudery police? Developers were asking for APIs and a way to install apps. Not for "the App Store".
 
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