One of the first iOS Bundles in memory has been announced. Organized by Thumb Arcade and Selfpubd, the bundle purportedly offers iOS gamers apps for well less than the $0.99 price tier.
The FAQ for the bundle mentions that once the bundle is closed buyers will receive an email with instructions and “You will be able to download your games directly to your device, or use your computer to download them to iTunes and sync them later to your device”. Further, updates will be handled via the normal iTunes / App Store update process: “Once you have downloaded your games, to either iTunes via your computer or directly to your smartphone, then iTunes takes over the ongoing update process. The games are still managed just like any other app on your device, and you will be notified through your “App Store” icon when game developers have released an update. Any and all free game updates going forward are available to you.”
The question is how this can exist within Apple’s rather strict guidelines for working on the App Store and with the Apple Developer Program. Initially I assumed they would use gift codes, even though reselling those is against Apple rules. Andy Rosic, CEO of Selfpubd replied to us that they are not using gift codes for this feature, but would not go further into their “special sauce” in how they are doing it.
The big question is will Apple allow this? It appears as though Thumb Arcade / Selfpubd has found a way to sell apps directly to consumers yet find a way for updates to be provided by the App Store. That’s all without, presumably, Apple getting their 30% cut of the sales. Something that Apple is surely not going to be too happy about.
So our advice, buyer beware. If you partake in the bundle, know that there are many unanswered questions on exactly how this will work and if Apple will even allow it to happen as it, on the surface, appears to be against Apple guidelines. I worry most that the developers in the bundle may feel the repercussions from this.