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Aptoide to launch first third-party iOS game store in Europe

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Aptoide, a prominent alternative to the Google Play Store for Android, is set to launch the EU’s first third-party iOS app store focused solely on gaming on June 6, 2024. Spurred by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), this launch represents a major shift in the app store ecosystem, offering a new avenue for iOS users to discover and download games and for developers to present their creations.

According to The Verge, the Aptoide iOS game store will debut through a closed launch on Thursday. Access to this new marketplace will be limited initially to users with invitation-only access codes.

With a waiting list of 20,000 participants, Aptioide plans to distribute between 500 to 1,000 access codes daily, allowing the company to gather and analyse feedback from its early users.

At first, the company will start small with a modest selection of seven games, including popular titles like Solitaire, Charades, Word Jungle and Mahjong. Later, Aptoide plans to extend the catalogue significantly and announced that over 100 iOS developers have shown interest in the platform, and 30 new games are currently in the integration phase.

One of the standout features of the Aptoide iOS store is its integration of an Apple-approved in-app purchase (IAP) solution, which will be provided to developers through an IAP software development kit. This move positions Aptoide as a pioneer among third-party iOS marketplaces in Europe, offering a streamlined and legitimate IAP system.

The Digital Markets Act mandates big tech companies like Apple to open up their app stores and help small developers.

To address Apple’s 50 euro cents Core Technology Fee (CTF) per annual installation, Aptoide has devised a creative solution. Rather than charging users a subscription fee, Aptoide will cover the cost by charging developers for in-app purchases.

Word Jungle is the sole game featuring in-app purchases on Aptoide’s platform. Developers incur a 20% fee if users find the app via search or recommendations within the app store. However, if users are acquired through paid advertising or community channels managed by the developer, the fee drops to 10%.

Additionally, developers can direct users to their websites for these transactions, and Aptoide will take a 10% fee from those purchases.

“This means that IAP-driven apps will be preferred in Aptoide iOS,” said Paulo Trezentos, CEO of Aptoide, expressing hope that CTF would eventually be abolished.

Other alternative stores, such as Setapp and AltStore, have taken different approaches to manage CTF. For instance, Setapp currently absorbs the fee but plans to include it in its future subscription pricing. At the same time, AltStore PAL, on the other hand, covers the fee through a €1.50 (plus tax) annual subscription for installing the marketplace itself.

Aptoide’s strategic entry into the iOS market under the DMA regulations could pave the way for more third-party app stores, potentially reshaping the app distraction ecosystem in the EU.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: