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New Apple guidelines permit NFTs to be sold on App Store

Apple's new changes to its App Store guidelines permit NFTs and cryptocurrency, but there are some caveats for web3 developers.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 25, 2022

2 Min Read
Icon for the Apple App Store.

App Store developers are now able to sell NFTs on iOS, thanks to updates to Apple's App Store guidelines. First reported by MobileGamer, the tech giant's changes have been made to address the desire for web3 developers to profit from the storefront. 

"Apps may use in-app purchase to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as minting, listing, and transferring," read the guidelines.

With the new guidelines, web3 developers that sell NFTs on the App Store must do so via in-app purchases, at which point Apple will get a 30 percent cut of those sales. Users can view their NFTs in apps, and that ownership can't unlock further functionality or features within that specific app. 

It's also possible for users to view the NFT collections of others. However, Apple underlined that the apps used to view those collections can't "include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”

Speaking to cryptocurrency more generally, Apple wrote that apps that feature the technology "may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets, etc."

NFTs will become mainstream only on the game industry's terms

Since NFTs have come into prominence, various digital storefronts have held different stances on their existence. 

Last year, Valve outright banned NFTs and cryptocurrency from Steam. Earlier this year, Microsoft did the same for Minecraft, saying that it wants the game to "remain a community where everyone has access to the same content."

Conversely, Epic Games has been more open to the idea of them. Earlier this year, it allowed the web3 game Blankos Block Party to be sold on the Epic Games Store, and it'll soon be joined by Grit from Gala Games. 

Outside of marketplaces, various game developers have recently announced plans to get in on NFTs and blockchain for their titles. Last week, Konami posted a job listing related to building out a metaverse. 

In September, Square Enix announced a partnership with blockchain company Oasys to "bring blockchain gaming to the masses."

But all of this effort may mean nothing if developers continue to not feel enthused about the technology. Earlier this year, a study showed that nearly 50 percent of game developers don't feel that NFTs and crypto have much of a place in the industry. 

One anonymous developers specifically called NFTs "a niche item for a niche market."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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