Earlier this month, Apple created quite a stir in the iOS developer community as word was going around that the company was putting a stop to opt-in video ads in games that reward players with some sort of in-game bonus for viewing them. For example, Disco Zoo [Free], which will give you 5 extra chances to uncover new animals in the puzzle mini-game for viewing a brief Vungle ad video. The number of times you can do that is limited per day, and since the entire thing is totally up to the player to participate in, that particular method of incentivizing ads in games proved really popular with players. In fact, David Marsh from Disco Zoo developer NimbleBit wrote a great guest editorial for us about how these opt-in ads are right in line with their preference to respect their players, as opposed to obtrusive pop-up ads which are hated by most players as they interrupt the flow of gameplay in a game.

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Well, good news: it seems Apple is backing off somewhat to that recent stance against incentivized ads, as according to TechCrunch Apple will no longer be rejecting apps with incentivized ads and will go back to reevaluate those apps that have already been rejected because of their policy change. Good news for developers who rely heavily on this form of monetization, but also good news for players who might not be willing to drop real money for something in a game but will happily part with a bit of their free time in order to watch an advertisement and gain a bonus in the game. Also, it's worth noting that Apple is still very much against incentivized downloading of other developers' apps, incentivized rating or reviewing of an app, or pretty much anything else that could cause download numbers or chart positioning to be manipulated. However, incentivized video ads like those described above as well as incentivized sharing on social networks like Twitter and Facebook will continue to be allowed.

[TechCrunch via Macrumors]

  • DMan2385

    Well done Apple. I think this strikes a good BALANCE between allowing FREEMIUM games to generate more money for the "free-to-play" games, while preventing outright manipulation of the Charts.

    • DMan2385

      Even though I'm not a fan of F2P games and I still think that offering Incentivized Video Adds for in-game currency and/or items, can be abused, I believe those type of incentivized adds are A LOT less obstructive and manipulative then adds from the likes of Tapjoy, where they push you to download another App or sign up for some sort of online service, all in the name of artificially inflating download numbers within the App Store.

  • nini

    Which is good, Disco Zoo/Vungle has no ads over 30 seconds so it's an easy trade-off of simply not paying attention for 30 seconds for something. What does get me though are the ones who'll drag you through a 2 minute YouTube ad you'd hit skip on once the 10 seconds were up for the same value reward if you just watched one of the 15 second ads for a freemium game you weren't going to download.

  • Gamer1st

    Hurray!

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  • http://ouriel.typepad.com OurielOhayon

    "Apple will no longer be rejecting apps with incentivized ads and will go back to reevaluate those apps that have already been rejected because of their policy change."

    not true. the article says that incentivized app ads will be rejected. the change of direction is only on ads that rewarded viewing a video...

    • rewind

      Aren't "incentivized adds" and "adds that reward watching a video" pretty much the same?

      • http://ouriel.typepad.com OurielOhayon

        yes and no. On one side they allow you to reward viewing videos as long as you do not connect to the app install. And they prohibit the reward of installing straight up an app. so it s under the same "category". but one execution is not allowed and another is

      • rewind

        Oh ok, I get it now. Thanks.

  • Adams Immersive

    Good. Incentives can be abused (incentives to rig the store ratings or download counts, for instance) but in other cases it seems perfectly legitimate, if it's what the dev wants to do instead of IAP, and the user chooses to participate.

    I'm also glad the revised policy didn't really take all that long.

  • Jake7905

    Considering the App Store's wide variety of apps featuring IAP money making schemes, intrusive pop-up ads, and stolen intellectual property; incentivized ads are the least of Apple's problems.

    • rewind

      There's very few "IAP money making schemes" out there anymore. Apple has done an excellent job of reviewing the in-app-purchases and making sure that they don't scam you. So although it's an important issue, it doesn't affect a lot of people.

      • rewind

        I would say that stolen intellectual property is the biggest issue of those three. It's very present throughout that App Store, and Apple has done very little to stop it.

      • HelperMonkey

        Stolen intellectual property? I've never noticed a problem. Now, back to playing "Flappy Threes."

      • Jake7905

        Most consumable IAP is in essence an IAP money making scheme. The freemium games that use consumable IAP are usually designed to milk the player for a steady stream of cash. Games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, aren't satisfied with making $5 off a gamer, or even $50. They're designed as a bottomless money pit, that's made to compel the player to keep paying. Until Apple puts a cap on the maximum amount of IAP a game can charge to the purchaser, the IAP money making schemes won't go away. A game's profit off a single user should never be open-ended.

      • rewind

        That is how you see it. I believe that IAP is often a better purchase than a new game. It is only a money making scheme in your mind.

  • Aaron Mahl

    Trying not to get too overly optimistic here, but I think Apple may finally be seeing the light and will right its wrong. I was so pissed when they started cracking down on apps with incentivized ads. iOS devs are no longer making the $ they used to because of how much Android has grown and elevated developer earnings through top ad networks like Airpush, etc. I know for a fact that a lot of developers have felt disconnected from Apple since the Android surge that began last year. If Apple doesn't curb that, it's going to continue bleeding market share to Android where devs can actually finally make good money now.

  • worldcitizen1919

    Anyone played Sonic Dash? At one time it was unplayable. After each play through a video popped up which you couldn't turn off and got nothing for. I deleted the game and put in a complaint. Now Sega OFFERS you to watch a video IF you crash and will revive you if you watch. That's a lot better.

  • DuckyShot

    So will Tapjoy work now?

  • Dman

    Let's hope not. Tapjoy's business is going down the tubes and I say, good riddance!! The less tapjoy there is in the world the better.

    • Jake7905

      There's no joy in those taps.

  • anabolicMike

    I'm impressed that they listened to everyone's issue with that. Good for you guys.