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Apple revises developer guidelines, restricts 'loot boxes' & amends template-generated app ban

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Apple's rule that prevented apps generated from commercial templates in the App Store has been modified, with the new rule allowing it if submitted by the provider of the app's data, rather than by the developer.

The revision, dated Dec. 20 was first spotted by TechCrunch. In the revision to section 4.2.6 of the App Store Guidelines requires the content provider to submit the app, or allows developers to generate a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated model, with separate entries for each client.

This will require small businesses, said to be most impacted by the rule change, to sign up for a developer's account, rather than relying on the contracted developer's account.

The move caught the attention of Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Calif), who wrote a letter to Apple. Congressman Lieu asked that Apple "examine possible changes" to the guidelines issued in June, as it was "casting too wide a net" while "weeding out several bad actors."

Following in the wake of the "Star Wars: Battlefront II" debacle about "loot boxes," the new guidelines require vendors to disclose the odds of receiving each possible item as a "drop" both for paid boxes, and for unpaid post-game rewards.

The purge began in June, with the initial rule change to section 4.2.6. At the same time, Apple was exterminating 32-bit titles, and other clones. However, the rule change had unintended consequences, hitting small businesses reliant on templates for menu apps, and similar methods of inexpensively getting an app together.