Indie developers have begun receiving emails from Apple notifying them that the company is delisting their app from the App Store. The notification states that due to insufficient updates, Apple will remove the game or app in 30 days.
Match three game Motivoto faces delisting as a developer of the game took to Twitter to show Apple’s email. In it, the company says the app has “not been updated in a significant amount of time.” Therefore, it is scheduled to remove the app from the App Store in 30 days.
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
Apple continues and says “no action is required for the app to remain available to users who have already downloaded the app.” However, developer Protopop Games must submit an update in 30 days for review. Otherwise, Motivoto will be removed from sale.
Clarifying the last time Motivoto was updated, Protopop Games states the game hasn’t received an update since March 2019. However, the developer claims Motivoto is “fully functioning” and has been for the last three years.
Similarly, another indie developer took to Twitter stating Apple is delisting “a few” older games for the same reason. As with Motivoto, Twitter user @lazerwalker claims that the games in question “aren’t suitable for updates” and “they’re finished artworks from years ago.”
.@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
Apple’s policy to remove apps without regular updates is a part of the company’s App Store Improvements measure. The policy aims to ensure all “apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date.” However, doing so raises a pain point for preservation. Users who have purchased the game or app experience no interruptions. However, delisting prevents new players and users from accessing the app.
To avoid being delisted, Apple suggests regular updates “to fix bugs, offer new content, provide additional services, or make other improvements.” However, as both developers point out, that’s not always sustainable.