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Meta’s app developer commissions

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Meta to mimic Apple on app developer commissions despite years of criticism

Meta has been one of the most critical voices of Apple’s App Store business model. Mark Zuckerberg himself has accused the Cupertino company of “blocking innovation and competition” with App Store fees. However, Meta is going to do exactly the same with developers who help it grow the Metaverse, the ambitious project with which it hopes to continue leading on the internet after Facebook’s decline.

The Oculus Quest Store, the app store for the Meta Quest 2 virtual reality goggles, charges a 30% commission for all digital purchases and between 15% and 30% for subscriptions. This stance by Meta is prompting a growing backlash from developers creating virtual reality apps for a company that had previously criticized the business model it has now adopted.

Some developers believe Meta believed they could take advantage of the fact that Facebook’s metaverse app store is still largely empty and Zuckerberg needs developers to fill it with content that appeals to users, similar to what happened with Facebook. However, Meta has not been slow to impose a commission equal to Apple’s, which will make many developers think about it because an application for virtual or augmented reality requires an infinitely greater investment than one for mobile because in the metaverse everything is still to be done and even technologies have to be developed, with the huge cost that this implies.

Nevertheless, Meta defends its strategy. The company led by Mark Zuckerberg argues that its business model has a very important difference in relation to Apple. As they explain, there are no restrictions for users to install applications outside the official Oculus Quest Store, nor for developers to take their apps to third-party stores.

The truth is that criticism from one side or the other between Apple and Meta has been going on for some time. Earlier this year, when Meta announced that it would charge an additional 17.5% fee on top of Apple’s 30% commission for sales made through the Meta Quest Store within its virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, the Cupertino company accused Zuckerberg’s of “hypocrisy.”

Earlier, in August 2020, the two tech giants clashed when Facebook asked Apple to waive the 30% commission related to its online events app or allow payment through Facebook Pay. The Cupertino-based refused arguing that such a request violated App Store rules.

Meta had also tried unsuccessfully to add games to the Facebook app when App Store rules do not allow third-party apps to distribute games as a separate platform, which is why, for example, there is no Xbox Cloud Gaming app on iPhone or iPad.

What is clear is that with this measure there will be many development studios that will consider happily jumping into the Facebook metaverse at the prospect of losing 30% of their revenue and perhaps explore other more open alternatives or simply lower fees. Yet another stumbling block for the birth of Zuckerberg’s metaverse.

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