Apple removed 39,000 game apps from its China App Store on 31 Dec 2020 as part of the crackdown on unlicensed games on the platform. This is the biggest removal of apps ever in a single day as the company had set a deadline for developers to get licenses from the Chinese app controller.
Which apps have taken a hit?
Including the 39,000 games, Apple has taken down a total of 46,000 application from the platform. As per a research firm Qimai, some of the apps that have been affected by the sweep include NBA2K20 and Assassin’s Creed Identity by Ubisoft.
The report also said that only 74 of the top 1,500 paid apps on the Chinese App Store survived the purge. These ones not removed met Apple’s App Store policies and hence were not removed.
Developers had been warned earlier
It was earlier in February 2020 that Apple had given time to game publishers a deadline till the end of June 2020 to acquire licenses for their games on the App Store. The government-issued licenses would enable gamers to make in-app purchases via the App Store in China which is considered to be the largest market for mobile games.
Apple even extended its deadline for developers but somehow many didn’t get a clear message and were banned from Apple’s app platform. It even froze updates for almost 30,000 apps in August last year which did not comply with its licensing policies. The apps were subsequently removed.
“This major pivot to only accepting paid games that have a game licence, coupled with China’s extremely low number of foreign game licences approved this year, will probably lead more game developers to switch to an ad-supported model for their Chinese versions,” said Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for AppInChina, who works for a firm that helps overseas companies distribute their apps.
Apple has been striving hard to close off the loopholes that developers find in order to bypass some of the in-game purchases that have to be made via the App Store. In that process, the gamers and developers have to pay an extra premium for game purchases and some part of that is taken by Apple as a fee. This is exactly what these developers are trying to avoid.