Genshin Impact maker tried to dodge App Store fees -- twice

Posted:
in iOS

Despite being Apple's poster child for iPhone gaming, the developer behind "Genshin Impact" twice tried to get around paying the App Store's 30% fee.

The App Store is a powerful digital ecosystem.
The App Store is a powerful digital ecosystem.



"Genshin Impact" has previously won an Apple Design Award, and it's seen Tim Cook personally show up to its offices to meet the developers. Most recently, "Genshin Impact" was briefly shown on screen during Apple's iPhone 15 launch.

However, according to New York-based The China Project, the game developer miHoYo has twice tried to circumvent the App Store's in-app payment system since August 2023.

The first time, as spotted by 9to5mac, it was via a miHoYo community app. Members get exclusive promotions through this app, and reportedly, customer service staff were trained to direct users to buy directly from the firm's website.

Apple removed this community app on August 22, 2023. It was back four days later, but without this option to pay on the website.

And then on August 30, 2023, there was a new mini-program in Alipay. It offered the same option of paying by the firm's website, or rather it did, until Apple blocked it for iPhone users on September 11.

Neither Apple nor "Genshin Impact" developer miHoYo have commented.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,475member
    It seems that every time Apple supports a game or gaming platform then go on to becomes a success, they get greedy and try to bypass Apple! 
    Epic Games comes to mind
    jahblade9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    neoncatneoncat Posts: 152member
    Good. More and more developers need to do this—even just as performance art. Post a link, get it slapped down, lather rinse repeat. As many as possible, as often as possible, and not just marquee apps and developers. Make the policing become such a huge time sink for Apple that they're forced to come up with more equitable solutions. 

    Burn the App Store to the ground.
    williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 3 of 11
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,273member
    neoncat said:
    Good. More and more developers need to do this—even just as performance art. Post a link, get it slapped down, lather rinse repeat. As many as possible, as often as possible, and not just marquee apps and developers. Make the policing become such a huge time sink for Apple that they're forced to come up with more equitable solutions. 

    Burn the App Store to the ground.
    That's a pretty depressing perspective on the topic.

    Don't forget what it was like before the "App Store era"... the world polluted with physical packaging for each application you purchased, terrible website experiences, confusing support.

    The App Store flipped app distribution on its head, and we know that because Google copied with the Play Store.

    Is it time for Apple to re-evaluate the 30% fee? Yes. But they deserve something when they are advertising, distributing and providing some levels of support.
    edited October 2023 williamlondonjahblade9secondkox2jose8964watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    neoncatneoncat Posts: 152member
    Is it time for Apple to re-evaluate the 30% fee? Yes. But they deserve something when they are advertising, distributing and providing some levels of support.
    Don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely—I think Apple deserves to charge whatever it feels it needs to to cover those costs and support its profit objectives. Those numbers can be as high as it wants them to be—as long as the App Store is subject to competition. I don't care if the share of use by end users is 99% AppStore to 1% AlternativeStore. People who feel more comfortable using an Apple-run AppStore with all its inherent advantages should have every right to do so. As long as it's competing for that business with other App Stores that have an equal footing for developer and end user attention. 

    Otherwise, gloves off. As long as it's a closed system, I don't particularly care if the efforts developers use to try and break the rules amount to dirty pool. Means to an end.
    edited October 2023 williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 5 of 11
    neoncat said: Don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely—I think Apple deserves to charge whatever it feels it needs to to cover those costs and support its profit objectives. Those numbers can be as high as it wants them to be—as long as the App Store is subject to competition.
    The App Store already has competition. Example: Genshin Impact is sold on iOS, Android, PC and Playstation. You can also get it on Mac through GeForce NOW. The reality is that games that generate bigger revenue and become subject to the 30% charge instead of the 15% charge are typically going to be multi-platform. Nobody who is interested in Genshin Impact is limited to App Store pricing. They have other mainstream options to choose from and see if there's big savings somewhere. 
    edited October 2023 williamlondonjahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,103member
    neoncat said:
    Is it time for Apple to re-evaluate the 30% fee? Yes. But they deserve something when they are advertising, distributing and providing some levels of support.
    Don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely—I think Apple deserves to charge whatever it feels it needs to to cover those costs and support its profit objectives. Those numbers can be as high as it wants them to be—as long as the App Store is subject to competition. I don't care if the share of use by end users is 99% AppStore to 1% AlternativeStore. People who feel more comfortable using an Apple-run AppStore with all its inherent advantages should have every right to do so. As long as it's competing for that business with other App Stores that have an equal footing for developer and end user attention. 

    Otherwise, gloves off. As long as it's a closed system, I don't particularly care if the efforts developers use to try and break the rules amount to dirty pool. Means to an end.
    Wrong.  Apple's priority is to its customers, not developers.  Apple works hard to develop new hardware, maintain all aspects of iOS and the App Store to keep those customers coming back.  Developers know this as those customers have the disposable income.  Developers think they're the one's calling the shots and are the reason the App Store is successful.  They are wrong.  I'm speaking as a developer myself.  The ones complaining are the ones set on greed thinking they can ride on Apple's work for free.  Don't like it, then go to Android.
    strongyjahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    neoncatneoncat Posts: 152member
    Were you a Mac user in the mid-90s when developers jumped ship left and right? I was. It was a difficult time, looking wistfully at all the software available on Windows, and having to make due with the pitiful selection on the Mac. Luckily, things are better now. I wouldn't call them great, but they're better. I'm grateful to the talent, moxie, and tenacity of developers (yourself included, Sflocal, if you're an Apple-device developer!) who commit to bringing their ideas to market despite Apple's capricious, obnoxious behavior. 

    The Mac, iOS, iPadOS, and certainly VisionOS, would be, and/or will go, nowhere without developers. Apple creates impressive, unique platforms on which to build. Developers make those platforms dynamic and useful. 

    (I am conspicuously ignoring at this point the growing "movement" of people who have committed, often in weirdly emotional public posts on Reddit, MacRumors, etc. to not use third party software on iOS in particular, limiting themselves only to first-name, Apple-only options, as a protest against the sort of developer actions outlined in this article. More power to anyone who's needs are basic enough to make that work, but, throwing out the milquetoast default options is a day-one activity for me on any platform.)
    edited October 2023 williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 11
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,374moderator
    It seems that every time Apple supports a game or gaming platform then go on to becomes a success, they get greedy and try to bypass Apple! 
    Epic Games comes to mind
    That's because these companies are making billions in revenue:

    https://sensortower.com/blog/genshin-impact-three-billion-revenue
    https://www.demandsage.com/fortnite-statistics/

    For a small company making $10m, paying $3m for a direct global audience of billions of players is worthwhile ($0.001 per player).
    For a big company making $3b+, paying $900m is more than setting up their own distribution ($0.30 per player).

    https://techcrunch.com/2023/01/10/app-store-developers-have-earned-320-billion-to-date-says-apple/

    If devs earned $320b, Apple has made between $56-137b for app hosting.

    Apple's costs include multiple (~10x) $1b data centers with ongoing running costs. They could probably stay profitable with 15% fees but something like 5% could lose money. I can see why they wouldn't voluntarily give up nearly $100b. These big companies are complaining because of their shareholders. Every cost is taking away from their earnings, it's Apple's billionaire shareholders vs Epic's/Mihoyo's/Microsoft's/Match's billionaire shareholders wanting more of that $100b.

    A flat percentage doesn't scale well into billions in earnings. It would probably be better scaling down again e.g 15% up to $1m, 30% between $1m and $100m, 15% over $100m.

    So if a developer made $1b before, it would be $300m fee. After scaling, it would be ~$165m. Better for big businesses and Apple still makes a healthy profit.
    williamlondonchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 1,038member
    Here. We. Go. Again  :s

    So, one thing I find funny is even Android app stores are not treated equally.

    At work, I am looking for a specific app to use on our Android-based smart TV but the app I am looking for is not available on the app store that this TV manufacturer bundles with their TV...but on another Android-based smart TV from a different manufacturer, it is available on their app store. I cannot download their app store on our TV without jumping through hoops and management will not allow it.

    Yet Apple has its own app store and people cry to bloody hell and back that it's not fair that the Apple platform does not allow for multiple app stores. What is wrong with this picture?
    jahblade9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    neoncat said:
    Good. More and more developers need to do this—even just as performance art. Post a link, get it slapped down, lather rinse repeat. As many as possible, as often as possible, and not just marquee apps and developers. Make the policing become such a huge time sink for Apple that they're forced to come up with more equitable solutions. 

    Burn the App Store to the ground.
    ^
    I found the reason we can’t have nice things

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    neoncat said:
    Is it time for Apple to re-evaluate the 30% fee? Yes. But they deserve something when they are advertising, distributing and providing some levels of support.
    Don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely—I think Apple deserves to charge whatever it feels it needs to to cover those costs and support its profit objectives. Those numbers can be as high as it wants them to be—as long as the App Store is subject to competition. I don't care if the share of use by end users is 99% AppStore to 1% AlternativeStore. People who feel more comfortable using an Apple-run AppStore with all its inherent advantages should have every right to do so. As long as it's competing for that business with other App Stores that have an equal footing for developer and end user attention. 

    Otherwise, gloves off. As long as it's a closed system, I don't particularly care if the efforts developers use to try and break the rules amount to dirty pool. Means to an end.
    heck no. We finally get a trusted, reliable system and greedy types just want to break it down for themselves. The heck out of here with that crap. I remember the Wild West days and battling the scammers, the malware, the poor coding, the false promises, etc. now, we have a system that you can count on with tremendous accountability and the bad developers get kicked out along with their crAPPS. 

    the only people who want to tear at this great system are slimey competitors who want to be able to subject users to their schemes. No thanks. There are other avenues for that such as android and tizen. 

    People choose iPhones for many reasons, one of which is the trust factor we get with Apple’s App Store. 

    Developers following your chaotic advice will not be missed when they are eventually banned. 


    watto_cobra
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