Apple has updated App Store Review guidelines to accommodate new features that are arriving on iOS 14. The App Store Review Guidelines now include new rules for App Clips, streaming game services, and in-app purchases.
The updated App Store review guidelines mention streaming games like the ones offered by Microsoft’s xCloud are allowed. However, it also makes it clear that all the games and subscription services have to be done via the App Store. This is to ensure that streaming games will end up paying App Store fees. Apple didn’t allow Microsoft’s latest xCloud streaming platform on App Store. The Cupertino-based tech giant felt that they had no control over the games, and this infuriated Microsoft.
Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchases to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.
Interestingly, the guidelines require each game to be submitted to the App Store separately. Perhaps this helps Apple have better control over the games. This also means each streaming game will have independent reviews and ratings on the App Store.
Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page.
The guidelines have added some payment exceptions for apps like Netflix. Until now, one had to register for Netflix outside the app and log in on the app. Updated guidelines will allow Netflix to offer free account creations and offer account management facilities for current users without providing payment options.
Apple also makes it clear that apps will not be allowed to add undocumented features, and all functionality should be conveyed to Apple’s review team and the user. That apart, the review team will also reject generic descriptions while submitting the app update.
Direct Payment Allowed for in-app transactions between users
Facebook had called out Apple for levying App Store fees for transactions that take place between two individuals. The company has considered the issue and allows direct payment methods. Lastly, App Clips will not be permitted to add advertisements, and everything should be related to app functionality.