Just one month remaining before Apple starts erasing HTML5 games from the App Store

George M
February 13, 2020

Apple has always been a rogue company that didn’t comply with the current trends and developments – to a certain degree, of course. For example, the whole smartphone industry was steeped with the MicroUSB charging ports when the company developed its own Lightning connector, which was undeniably very fast and convenient.

This goes to show that the company wants to have its own niche of products and software, not accepting some sort of byproducts of others. That’s why its announcement to eradicate all HTML5 apps can be viewed as a continuation of that policy.

“No HTML5 apps”, says Apple

In June 2019, Apple decided to ban all apps that were written in a universal HTML5 language and gave developers just three months to make changes in their apps. And if or when they hadn’t achieved that goal by the September 5 deadline, their apps would be erased from the store.

Basically, Apple wants to strip the App Store of non-native apps that don’t work as seamlessly to the iPhone devices as they should. Instead, it prompts the developers to transform their apps into the native language, which will render them much more appropriate to the whole iOS ecosystem.

The June announcement dealt a massive blow to the gambling app developers who are famously using HTML5 language to easily transform their platforms into the iOS app. One of the main advantages of this method is the simplicity of making mobile apps.

Among its other benefits, HTML5 allows casino providers to quickly turn their websites into smartphone apps, which they’ve technically already done. During a recent push to add “Quickspin” content to its platforms with the SkillOnNet partnership, PlayOJO, one of the top-performing gaming brands for mobile and many other similar platforms insisted that games were very easily transferable to Apple’s native systems, which they did indeed receive. This way, all the parties involved are pre-prepared to meet Apple’s deadline in March while also being able to feature new games while they wait.

From September 5 to March 3

Acknowledging the implications of this move, Apple ultimately conceded to extending the deadline from September 5 to March 3. But some analysts suggest that perhaps the concession wasn’t caused by the company’s empathy and understanding of grave implications for developers, but by the ensuing pressure coming from various influential individuals.

Those who believe in this scenario claim that these individuals have an immense amount of influence and were able to easily persuade Apple from refraining their strict demands.

Not only that, they suspect even the government officials might be involved in the case. Since many US states have begun legalizing online gaming, if the developers and online casino providers were limited by a market giant, it would ultimately threaten the whole industry in the state.

So, the September 6 announcement says that the developers have until March 3 to change their apps and turn them from universal HTML5 layout to the proprietary native iOS app language. And at the time of this writing, these developers have just one month in their storage to do a complete transformation of their apps.

If even the March deadline isn’t fulfilled, the chances of another concession are very slim. Instead, we should expect a complete doubling down on non-native apps, having them erased from the App Store.

Protecting the users

According to Apple, they’re going this way to ensure the most fluid and tailored app experience for their users. But when developers use the universal language of HTML5 – which is “best delivered to everyone in Safari, rather than through the curated App Store”, – the apps don’t look as spot-on as they should be.

But apart from design implications, the HTML5-powered apps are less fraud and abuse-proof, making the gambling titles much more dangerous to the users. Apple further clarifies that if the native code isn’t embedded within the app, the “real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations” won’t be able to have access to the actual transactions.

With native apps, on the other hand, Apple has complete control over what goes in and out of the app, tracking every purchase and ensuring their credibility.

What’s next for the developers?

So, what’s next on this front? Will the providers be able to successfully meet the requirements and transform their apps? There are two case scenarios: for those companies who make everything in-house, which means even their apps are developed by their software developers, they’ll probably be able to make it in time without any complications.

However, for the companies that cooperate with third-party developers for the app creation, they’ll have a lot of work to do. And if they haven’t started it already, well, their clock is ticking.

Another interesting condition is that the March 3 deadline is only applicable to the apps that were submitted, accepted, and published on the App Store before June 2019. But if a publisher tries to launch their new app, especially if it’s a gambling app, they’re going to have a problem as Apple doesn’t accept new submissions in that area anymore.

And as suspected, it’s going to be a serious challenge for the newly-emerging providers in the US. Since many states have already legalized online gambling and many more are coming in this way, it’s going to be incredibly painstaking for them not to have an iOS app ready for their customers.

Divergent once again

To put it in a nutshell, Apple’s new requirement and the March 3 deadline is posing a challenge to many gambling providers operating on the market. Since the majority of services are migrating towards mobile platforms, these providers are also working on their own apps for iOS and Android ecosystems.

Previously, the developers were allowed to use the universal HTML5 language to quickly turn websites into smartphone apps. This method proved very efficient as the providers didn’t have to put in a lot of effort and money in developing their apps.

However, Apple has started to diverge from the trend and demand native-only apps in its App Store. The company claims that this will enhance customers’ safety and excellent gaming experience. And if the March 3 deadline isn’t met, the HTML5 apps will be forever deleted from the store.

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