Aptoide is coming to iOS as an EU-only game store

Aptoide, the popular Google Play alternative for Android devices, is launching a third-party iOS app store in the European Union — the first focused entirely on gaming since the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules came into effect. 

Aptoide’s iOS game store is being released via a closed launch on Thursday, with access initially restricted to users with invitation-only access codes. Aptoide says it has a waiting list of 20,000 signups and plans to issue between 500 to 1,000 codes per day, with the limited launch enabling the platform to monitor feedback from early adopters.

The Aptoide iOS store will launch with seven games — a fairly standard ensemble of popular activities like Solitaire, Charades, and Mahjong — but the company says the store will eventually “feature content from a variety of developers.” Aptoide claims that “over 100” iOS developers have expressed interest in the platform, and that 30 offerings are currently in the process of being integrated.

Unlike Aptoide’s other app marketplaces, the iOS store will only focus on games for now, with the company planning to add new games to the store every week following its launch. Aptoide CEO Paulo Trezentos told The Verge that the service may be expanded in the future to provide additional content and services.

Here’s what the Aptoide iOS app currently looks like — titles are limited but the company says more are on the way.
Images: Aptoide

Notably, Aptoide is also the first third-party iOS marketplace in Europe to launch with an Apple-approved in-app purchases (IAP) solution, which it will provide to developers via an IAP software development kit.

The company is taking a new approach to offsetting Apple’s 50 euro cents Core Technology Fee (CTF) for every annual installation of the store. Instead of passing that on directly to users in the form of a subscription, the cost will be supported by a fee charged to developers for in-app purchases. “This means that IAP-driven apps will be preferred in Aptoide iOS,” says Trezentos. “Hopefully, one day that CTF is not charged, we’ll be able to serve more developers, as the unit economics changes.”

Other alternative iOS app stores that have launched in the EU have established their own ways around the CTF. Setapp currently absorbs the fee but says it will be included in the Setapp Mobile subscription price in the future. AltStore PAL, meanwhile, covers the fee via a €1.50 (plus tax) annual subscription for installing the app marketplace itself.

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