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Apple will allow rival app stores in EU; game-streaming apps globally

It’s the biggest change in the history of App Store.

Apple app store logo with blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

Massive changes are coming to the Apple ecosystem in the EU, courtesy of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), after the iOS 17.4 update rolls out. 

For the first time in history, the Cupertino company will allow its rivals to appear on its platform – the App Store

According to Apple’s announcement, groundbreaking changes are coming to its “core platform services” – iOS, Safari, and the App Store.

In addition, Apple is also opening its doors to game streaming services for users outside of the EU.

More freedom for the EU App Store users, but there are some risks too

Currently, you can only download apps onto your iPhone or iPad through the App Store, or you can choose the lawless way to sideload applications. 

However, this particular limitation is coming to an end this March – only for users in the EU. 

After Apple rolls out the iOS 17.4 update, EU users will get the option to download and use third-party app stores instead. Additionally, they will be able to set an alternative app store as their default store. 

Users will now have the option to choose their default payment method, too.

While Apple opening up its ecosystem sounds good on paper, it also increases the risks for the users, in terms of privacy and security.

There’s a greater risk of downloading malware through a third-party app store.

That said, Apple will introduce new protection measures with iOS 17.4 for this purpose only, and one of them will be the notarization of iOS apps.

According to the Cupertino firm, it is a baseline review of all apps, and it doesn’t matter what their distribution channel is.

In addition, there will be some downsides to these new changes – developers will get reduced commission, have to pay a processing fee, and pay a €0.50 core technology fee for each first annual install a year over a 1 million threshold.

Apple is ready to allow streaming apps on the App Store

While major changes are coming to the EU, almost nothing is changing for the users in the rest of the regions.

And our focus is on the word “almost” as there’s at least one change coming for the users, worldwide. Apple is opening up the App Store for game streaming services, like those offered by Xbox and NVIDIA.

The iPhone company is changing its App Store policies and lifting the longstanding ban on game streaming apps.

After the update, developers can submit a single app containing a catalog of games, with the game code running off the server.

This allows services like Xbox Cloud Gaming to finally release a native app for the iPhone and iPad.

Unlike all the changes coming with the iOS 17.4 update that applies only to the European Union, the game streaming policy update applies globally.

That said, the game streaming applications also must obey all the tenacious App Store rules.

Xbox Cloud Gaming was previously only available through the iOS Safari web browser, courtesy of Apple’s strict rules.

Now, Microsoft and the likes of Nvidia GeForce Now and Netflix will be able to create a native app.

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Saurav loves writing and tech. So, after engineering, he didn't look back and embarked on a journey to become a tech writer. Saurav has worked for various tech websites across the globe. Saurav has recently joined Know Techie and is proud to be a part of it.

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