Developers now have the liberty to redirect US iOS players to web shops
In a pivotal development, the US Supreme Court has dismissed appeals from both Epic Games and Apple, allowing certain rulings to have an immediate impact on US players. A significant consequence of this decision is the elimination of Apple’s ‘anti-steering’ policy, permitting developers to guide users towards making in-app purchases outside the Apple ecosystem.
Previously, Apple prohibited developers from informing players about alternative purchasing options beyond its platform, a contentious issue at the heart of the Epic vs Apple legal battle. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, welcomed the decision and emphasized that developers can now exercise their right to inform US customers about more competitive prices on external websites.
“This marks the end of those confusing Apple-mandated screens. Developers are now free to direct users to purchasing mechanisms, both in-app and on the web, in addition to in-app purchases,” said Sweeney, signaling a notable shift in the dynamics of in-app transactions.
While this ruling does not compel Apple to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store or overhaul app distribution on iOS in the US, it does require Apple to allow app makers to promote alternative purchasing methods to US consumers. This could include directing users to websites for virtual game currencies or in-app items.
Epic’s legal battle with Apple is part of a broader global movement against what is perceived as Apple’s monopolistic and anticompetitive practices in its app store. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act is set to take effect on March 7, further fueling the ongoing regulatory scrutiny.
As this legal saga unfolds, the app store regulation landscape becomes increasingly complex. While Epic Games sees this as a partial victory, analysts suggest that successful transitions of players to external payment methods could potentially lead to a substantial loss of annual revenue for Apple, posing challenges for its dominant position in the market. Apple’s stock price initially dipped by 2.5% following the ruling but later showed signs of recovery. The aftermath of this decision may have far-reaching implications, especially as the United States Department of Justice reportedly prepares a significant antitrust case against Apple. The ongoing legal and regulatory battles underscore the evolving dynamics of the app store industry.
Source: adapted from an article by Neil Long, Founder and Editor of mobilegamer.biz.