Apple Introduce New Run-Time Fee

In response to the EU’s newly instated Digital Markets Act, Apple have just implemented a new Unity-like run-time fee for developers that wish to take advantage of the laws new provisions.

The DMA or Digital Markets Act aims to provide the following benefits:

  • Business users who depend on gatekeepers to offer their services in the single market will have a fairer business environment.
  • Innovators and technology start-ups will have new opportunities to compete and innovate in the online platform environment without having to comply with unfair terms and conditions limiting their development.
  • Consumers will have more and better services to choose from, more opportunities to switch their provider if they wish so, direct access to services, and fairer prices.
  • Gatekeepers will keep all opportunities to innovate and offer new services. They will simply not be allowed to use unfair practices towards the business users and customers that depend on them to gain an undue advantage.

In what can only be described as malicious compliance, Apple have implemented the following system:

New capabilities and terms for apps in the EU — where developers have additional distribution and payment processing options available. Apple will apply a reduced commission, an optional payment processing fee, and a fee for first annual installs above one million in the last 12 months. Developers on these terms will be able to:

  • Distribute their iOS apps on the App Store and/or alternative app marketplaces; and
  • Process payments using the secure App Store In-App Purchase system, an alternative payment service provider, and/or after linking-out to your webpage from your app.

Even if your game is not making money, simply offering it for sale on a competing app store can result in massive fees in the form of the new Core Technology Fee. You can calculate the actual costs of the new fee and commission structure using the Apple calculator linked below.

As you can expect, Tim Sweeney of Epic games was not amused, posting the following response on Twitter:

Apple’s plan to thwart Europe’s new Digital Markets Act law is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance. They are forcing developers to choose between App Store exclusivity and the store terms, which will be illegal under DMA, or accept a new also-illegal anticompetitive scheme rife with new Junk Fees on downloads and new Apple taxes on payments they don’t process.

Apple proposes that it can choose which stores are allowed to compete with their App Store. They could block Epic from launching the Epic Games Store and distributing Fortnite through it, for example, or block Microsoft, Valve, Good Old Games, or new entrants.

The Epic Games Store is the #7 software store in the world (behind the 3 console stores, 2 mobile stores, and Steam on PC). We’re determined to launch on iOS and Android and enter the competition to become the #1 multi-platform software store, on the foundation of payment competition, 0%-12% fees, and exclusive games like Fortnite.

Epic has always supported the notion of Apple notarization and malware scanning for apps, but we strongly reject Apple’s twisting this process to undermine competition and continue imposing Apple taxes on transactions they’re not involved in.

There’s a lot more hot garbage in Apple’s announcement. It will take more time to parse both the written and unwritten parts of this new horror show, so stay tuned.

Key Links

The EU Digital Markets Act

Developers React to Apple’s Fee

Apple’s Fee Calculator

Tim Sweeney’s Tweet

You can learn more about the Digital Markets Act, Apple’s new Core Technology Fee and much more in the video below.

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