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The European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) says it’s “disappointed” in Apple‘s new fee structure in Europe.
A new EU law called the Digital Markets Act goes into effect in March, and states that Apple now has to allow developers to create and offer new apps (including new stores) without using the App Store.
In response, Apple has changed its terms further to ensure it still earns money on non-App Store apps.
This includes a controversial demand that if an app is downloaded more than a million times a year, the developer must pay Apple €0.50 for every download over a million – including updates and re-downloads – meaning after they reach a million downloads, developers will owe Apple €500,000 / $542,000 for every subsequent million downloads.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the EGDF has made a statement on its website calling Apple’s new terms an “anticompetitive fee structure for those developers who will not remain in the Apple App Store in the EU”.
As well as the €0.50 per download fee, the EGDF also criticises Apple’s rule that developers have to make players use either Apple’s payment system or a third party one (as opposed to offering multiple options), and that it gives players “unnecessarily alarming warnings and cumbersome download flows” if they choose a third-party payment option.
It also questions Apple’s requirement that anyone looking to launch their own third-party app store has to provide Apple with “a €1 million letter of credit from an A-rated financial institution”, saying this “creates a significant market access barrier for, for example, European SME [Small and Medium-sized Enterprise] game publishers”.
The EGDF concludes that clarity needs to be given on whether Apple’s new rules actually meet the conditions of the Digital Markets Act, or whether they are illegal and must be changed.
“All in all, EGDF is deeply disappointed that, once again, due to regulatory uncertainty and poor enforcement of EU law, global industry giants will get a head start on introducing alternative third-party mobile marketplaces in the EU,” it argues.
“European SME game publishers will likely only be able to take the financial risk to exploit the new market opportunities once there is more clarity on whether or not the new Apple fee structure is in line with the EU rules. ”
Earlier this week Xbox president Sarah Bond also criticised Apple’s new regulations, calling them “a step in the wrong direction” and quoting a tweet by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek which called the plan “a complete and total farce” and Apple’s €0.50 fee “extortion, plain and simple”.