Apple is in the process of removing older games and apps that haven’t been updated in a while, according to several independent app developers. As noted by the VGC, these developers shared an email from Apple that indicates that the App Store is undergoing changes.
The “App Store Improvement Notice” is sent to owners of apps that haven’t been updated “in a long time” and notifies them that the app will be removed from sale in 30 days. App creators can keep their apps live on the Apple App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days.
Some developers have expressed their dissatisfaction with this policy. One of these, from Protopop Games, said Apple’s new policy is “not cool” and called it an “unfair barrier to independent developers”. It appears that Apple’s App Store improvement initiative removes apps that are more than two years old and haven’t had any updates. The initiative aims to improve App Store navigation by eliminating defunct and outdated apps, such as those that no longer work on modern iOS.
“To make it easier for customers to find great apps that meet their needs, we want to ensure that the apps available on the App Store are functional and up to date,” reads a developer support page on Apple’s official website. However, users who have downloaded an old app on their device shouldn’t worry too much, as the app should remain “fully functional for current users”.
If Apple starts removing too many older apps, legacy games from the App Store could be relegated to history, which would be a big issue for preservation, an especially serious issue for mobile games. While console games still have the benefit of being available for purchase on physical media, mobile games are almost always software downloads. Meanwhile, Apple’s ecosystem means it’s particularly difficult to download apps that aren’t available on its App Store.
Others, however, said Apple’s intent could improve app discovery and the overall quality of downloads. But for many indie developers, that could mean rushed updates to their games if they want their title to remain available to App Store users.
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