What Apples new subscription guidelines means to mobile gaming companies.

Recently, Apple changed their subscription guidelines, and the clause that affects mobile gaming companies the most is below:  [LInk Here]

  • Subscriptions may not include consumable credits, gems, in-game currencies, etc., even when combined with other offerings, but you may offer subscriptions that include access to discounted consumable goods (e.g. a platinum membership that exposes gem-packs for a reduced price).

What this means is that games that attached their subscription model to a monthly pass system will effectively breach the new updated guideline where companies can no longer give out Hard Currency as a means for players to subscribe to the game.

What is a Monthly Pass?

Monthly pass is a game commonly found in rpg mobile games where the value proposition for players is to subscribe to the pass to earn more bang for their buck.

For example:

In the Walking Dead’s 30 Day pass  

  • $10 for 30 days:  Earch 70 Hard Currency a day and 250 coins the first time.
  • If player successfully login in for 30 days, the player will receive a 4 star character that will be rewarded in a mystery bag.

The value proposition for this system that for just $10 they have purchased a product that has a total value of potential

What are the benefits of the subscription model?

Apples subscription revenue structure is very enticing for developers and publishers because of its revenue model.

  • 85% Revenue After One Year

The revenue structure for auto-renewable subscriptions differs from other business models on the App Store. Within a subscriber’s first year of an auto-renewable subscription, you receive the traditional 70% of the subscription price at each billing cycle, minus applicable taxes. After a subscriber accumulates one year of paid service, your revenue increases to 85% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes.

Successful mobile apps run for years and that extra 15% revenue you can obtain from your consumers is absolutely game changing for your bottom line.

How should devs react to this change?

Because the opportunity to increase your subscription based users by providing hard currency is gone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot incorporate this system into your game anymore.  What Apple is doing, is regulating the playing field so that the product offering for a subscription model remains the same across all mediums.  What this means is that dev teams have to actually work a little bit harder to provide actual value added content on a monthly basis for subscribed players.  Much like the digital magazine industry where their subscription model provides users with new content on a monthly basis for a small cost.  Game devs should look into providing subscription based PVE progression maps for content specifically for subscribed users.

Well, thats what im going to be doing with my game.

Contact Lixobags if you require any feedback regarding game design or consultation  below:

– Lixobags –


  • 15+ year mobile application industry veteran, probably product managing multiple apps. If he's not busy running this website, you can probably find him at the gym shooting half court shots, while playing the latest mobile rpg game.

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