Former App Store Editor Neil Long has disappointing news for mobile game developers, saying, “Apple doesn’t care about games.”
Long served as an App Store Editor, giving him a behind-the-scenes look into how Apple’s processes work. Unfortunately, the picture he paints in an article in The Guardian is less than flattering, saying Apple is pocketing billions without making the necessary re-investment in the App Store.
Long lists a number of early game hits and then makes the case that Apple was unprepared for its newfound success:
So what did Apple do next? Nothing really. It seemed to create a whole new games ecosystem by accident, and ever since has presided over it like a contemptuous landlord. It takes a tasty 30% cut of almost every in-app purchase while doing next to nothing to earn that fee. Recent privacy policies – including the introduction of that “ask app not to track” pop-up you will have seen again and again – have even actively harmed the mobile games business.
Apple’s issues are especially apparent during the app review process:
The woefully understaffed team of app reviewers couldn’t handle the volume of games coming through – and seemingly still can’t today. Ask any staffer at a mobile game studio and they’re guaranteed to have an app review horror story involving their game being repeatedly rejected for an arbitrary reason, or removed from sale entirely. Developers are being treated with contempt.
Long also takes aim at the plague of copycat apps that so many game developers have to deal with, arguing that Apple could and should have improved the situation through further investment:
Apple could have reinvested a greater fraction of the billions it has earned from mobile games to make the App Store a good place to find fun, interesting games to fit your tastes. But it hasn’t, and today the App Store is a confusing mess, recently made even worse with the addition of ad slots in search, on the front page and even on the product pages themselves.
App developers have increasingly grown tired of Apple’s stewardship of the App Store, pushing for more freedom regarding how they publish their apps and make money off of them. Reading Long’s take on the condition of the App Store — especially for game developers — one comes away understanding developers’ plight a little more.