Apple App Store Unveils Changes Allowing Streaming Game Stores and In-App Purchases for Mini-Apps, Games, and AI Chatbots

Apple App Store Updates

Apple has announced significant updates to its App Store policies, allowing global developers to submit a single app capable of streaming an entire catalog of games, altering the previous requirement of individual listings for each game. The changes extend to mini-games, mini-apps, chatbots, and plug-ins, enabling them to integrate Apple’s in-app purchase system. This move, driven by compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), aims to accommodate evolving services like streaming game stores, mini-apps, and AI chatbot platforms.

Streaming Game Services: Developers can now submit a unified app for streaming games, eliminating the need for individual listings. This change aligns with the DMA’s provisions and encourages companies contemplating independent app stores for gaming to leverage Apple’s platform, where the tech giant receives a share of in-app purchases. This shift may impact companies like Netflix, which has expanded into mobile and cloud gaming, and addresses the concerns of Microsoft and Epic Games regarding independent gaming stores.

In-App Purchases for Mini-Apps and AI Chatbots: Apple’s update extends in-app purchase capabilities to mini-games, mini-apps, chatbots, and plug-ins. Notably, this addresses concerns surrounding OpenAI’s GPT Store, establishing that even AI-driven services are subject to Apple’s in-app purchase rules, entailing a 15% to 30% commission. This move ensures Apple’s revenue stream from paid or subscription-based chatbots within larger apps.

App Store Review Guidelines: While permitting these changes, Apple emphasizes that each mini-app, in-app game, or in-app experience must adhere to the App Store Review Guidelines. This includes a review process for AI chatbots, maintaining content adherence, and reflecting appropriate age ratings.

Developer Analytics Enhancement: Apple is introducing over 50 new reports via the App Store Connect API to help developers analyze app performance, covering engagement, commerce, app usage, and frameworks usage. These reports offer detailed insights into user interaction, sales, pre-orders, downloads, crashes, active devices, and more.

Login Options Flexibility: The requirement for developers to include “Sign in with Apple” alongside other login options is being removed. Developers utilizing third-party or social logins now have the flexibility to provide alternative “privacy-focused login services” if preferred.

Apple’s App Store updates showcase the company’s responsiveness to market shifts, regulatory requirements, and the evolving landscape of app services. The changes in streaming games, in-app purchases, and developer analytics aim to enhance the user experience while maintaining Apple’s control over its platform and revenue streams.

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