Game developers are upset over an Apple policy change that will see apps deleted if they’ve not been recently updated.
On Twitter, Protopop Games (below) shared an email from Apple that said their app had not been updated in “a significant amount of time” and would therefore be deleted from the App Store.
The game in question, Motivoto, was completed and therefore last updated three years ago in March 2019, but Apple told Protopop Games that “if no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.”
The complaints center around the fact that all games will eventually cease receiving updates as developers move on, but will plausibly remain functional from that point onwards. Apple’s new policy could see swathes of classic games removed simply due to having been released years earlier. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the reasoning behind the new policy.
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they’re removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.It’s part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
This is an unfair barrier to indie devs. pic.twitter.com/7XNcLfiEcR
— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022
Protopop Games, a single-person developer, said in follow-up tweets: “I’m sitting here on a Friday night, working myself to [the] bone after my day job, trying my best to scrape a living from my indie games, trying to keep up with Apple, Google, Unity, Xcode, MacOS changes that happen so fast my head spins.
“Now I am expected, along with Google’s new program, to update all of my games every 2 years even if nothing is wrong with them.
“Now I need to dig up my project file, update the Unity version to make sure it meets the App Store requirements, rebuild, retest, resubmit all to get the exact same game in the exact same place it was before.”
.@apple is removing a few of my old games b/c they have “not been updated in a significant amount of time”
Games can exist as completed objects! These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago. pic.twitter.com/iflH70j7q4
— emilia ✨ (@lazerwalker) April 23, 2022
Protopop is not the only developer sharing concerns over the new policy. Twitter user @lazerwalker, who makes experimental games with novel interfaces, said Apple was also removing her older games.
“Games can exist as completed objects,” she said. “These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago.”
Developer of Rated Mutant, @TezFraser on Twitter, said: “If you’ve ever wondered why I stopped making mobile games this is why. It honestly wasn’t worth the effort to keep up with all the App Store nonsense.”
Apple also removed a version of my FlickType Keyboard that catered specifically to the visually impaired community, because I hadn’t updated it in 2 years.
Meanwhile, games like Pocket God have not been updated by the developers for 7 years now: https://t.co/3azyIydty7 pic.twitter.com/n36rvHvF4H
— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) April 23, 2022
The new rule affects all apps, not just games, with Twitter user @keleftheriou saying “Apple also removed a version of my FlickType Keyboard that catered specifically to the visually impaired community.”
The move from Apple has otherwise been criticised for its lack of consideration of game preservation, as essentially only live service games will remain on the platform without intervention.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.