Hi, I'm Adam. Email me about: CTOs, Mobile/iOS, Project Management, and Development

iPhone OS 3.0: MMO and Games issues

…but if you want to make an MMO on iPhone, one of your first questions is going to be:

Am I allowed to sell virtual currency?

And the answer is:


From the “revised” license agreement Apple requires you to agree to:

3.3.17 Only Paid Applications (which require You to enter into a separate agreement with Apple (Schedule 2)) may use the In App Purchase API. In addition:

– You may not enable end users to purchase Currency of any kind through the In App Purchase API, including but not limited to any Currency for exchange, gifting, redemption, transfer, trading or use in purchasing or obtaining anything within or outside of Your Application. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing herein is intended to prohibit You from offering for sale goods or services (other than Currency) to be delivered outside of Your Application.

– You may not enable the end user to set up a pre-paid account to be used for subsequent purchases of content or functionality, or otherwise create balances or credits that end users can redeem or use to make purchases at a later time.

Another big question is about the APN (push notification – lets you send messages to users of your app): what can you and can’t you do with it?

Apple seems to be taking leaves out of Facebook’s playbook here:

1.3 You understand that before You send an end user any Push Notifications through the APN, the end user must provide consent to receive such Push Notifications. You agree not to disable, override or otherwise interfere with any Apple-implemented consent panels or any Apple system preferences for enabling or disabling Notifications functionality. If the end user’s consent to receive Push Notifications is denied or later withdrawn, You may not send the end user Push Notifications.

2.2 You may not use the APN for the purposes of advertising, product promotion, or direct marketing of any kind (e.g. up-selling, cross-selling, etc.), including, but not limited to, sending any messages to promote the use of Your Application or advertise the availability of new features or versions.

That last bit is going to hurt a lot of people if it gets enforced – many developers would absolutely *love* to be able to do that.

It’s also a pain for the few apps that would have legitimate use for it. For instance, any Brain Game apps (which fundamentally *must* remind you to play every day – as the independent study in Scotland showed last year, they don’t really work if the user stops playing regularly). But within the constraints of the GUI that Apple designed and shot themselves in the head with (the notifications are very much “in your face” and annoying even just with Apple’s own App Store – and non-dismissable. ARGH!), I can see why they’ve done this; it would be a nightmare for the user otherwise.

EDIT: there’s some minor commentary + on Venturebeat already, but they don’t go into the details.

8 thoughts on “iPhone OS 3.0: MMO and Games issues”

Comments are closed.