ASO news digest for July 2023
Google unveils a revamped Play Store for large-screen devices. App Store price changes took effect on July 25 for the Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Türkiye storefronts. Asodesk has introduced a Tags Analysis tool and integration with Usedesk.
1. Google unveils a revamped Play Store for large-screen devices
2. Google Play services to cease updates for KitKat (API levels 19 & 20) from August 2023 onwards
3. Google’s revised policy promotes transparency in blockchain transactions within apps and games on Play Store
4. Google enabled Online Crane Game (OCG) apps on Google Play
5. Google introduced some updates for Permissions and API policies
6. Apple announced online sessions with experts from August 1 until August 24
7. App Store price changes took effect on July 25 for the Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Türkiye storefronts
8. Apple releases new ad slots for the Today’s tab on the App Store
9. Apple will mandate developers to explain why their apps use specific APIs
10. Asodesk has introduced a Tags Analysis Tool and Integration with Usedesk
Google Play news
Google unveils a revamped Play Store for large-screen devices
Google announced several updates to the Play Store on its blog — aimed at improving UX for tablet, Chromebook, and foldable users. Here are the four primary enhancements:
1. To promote games that feature high-quality videos, a video banner will be prominently displayed at the top of a game’s page. Google has also rearranged details about other apps and games to position your content higher on an app’s page.
2. Apps that fulfill the recommendations for larger screens will gain precedence in search results and on the Apps and Games homepage. There will also be a warning notice displayed on the pages of apps prone to frequent crashes, alerting users that they may stop working on the device. The implementation of these modifications is expected to commence at the end of August.
Google will showcase screenshots, videos, and descriptions of apps that meet the content quality guidelines on the home page more frequently.
3. On large-screen devices, Google has relocated the navigation panel to the left side. They’ve also made it easier for users to access certain collections by relocating the “Top Charts” and “Categories” sections to the main page.
4️. Google introduced an innovative split-screen search function. This allows users to simultaneously view search results and an app’s page on a single screen, making app comparisons more efficient.
Google expects these updates to be progressively rolled out over the coming weeks. For additional information regarding these updates, refer to their article.
Google Play services to cease updates for KitKat (API levels 19 & 20) from August 2023 onwards
Launched approximately a decade ago, the Android KitKat (KK) platform has since been bypassed by myriad innovative enhancements and functionalities Google introduced to Android, which are not compatible with KK.
As of July 2023, the number of active devices using KK has fallen below 1%, as users continue to upgrade to more recent versions of Android. That is why Google will discontinue support for KK in the forthcoming releases of Google Play services. As a result, KK devices will not be eligible for versions of the Play Services APK beyond 23.30.99.
Google’s revised policy promotes transparency in blockchain transactions within apps and games on Play Store
Google announced new updates to its policy that are set to create fresh opportunities for transactions involving blockchain-based digital content within apps and games on Google Play. Joseph Mills, Google’s group product manager, explained that these policy changes are all about ensuring transparency with users when it comes to tokenized digital assets.
Google’s policy update now requires apps to be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets. If an app or game allows users to earn or buy tokenized digital assets, developers must clearly declare it. The aim of introducing tokenized assets is to create more immersive experiences within apps and games. However, developers are not allowed to promote or glamorize potential earnings from playing or trading activities, as a measure to protect users.
As per Google Play’s Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy, apps that do not meet the gambling eligibility criteria are strictly prohibited from accepting payments in exchange for chances to win assets with uncertain real-world monetary value, which includes NFTs. For example, developers must refrain from offering purchases where the value of the NFT received by users is not explicitly stated at the time of purchase. This includes, but is not limited to, offering mechanisms as “loot boxes”, where purchases result in obtaining random blockchain-based items.
Moving forward, Google is engaging in discussions with industry partners to explore additional enhancements to their support for blockchain-based app experiences, with a particular focus on areas like secondary markets.
Google enabled Online Crane Game (OCG) apps on Google Play
A crane game, commonly known as a claw-machine game, is typically found in arcades and involves a mechanical claw that players manipulate to capture a prize. An online crane game (OCG) enables players to control the claw through an app, facilitating remote/online gameplay in an actual claw machine located within an offline gaming arcade.
Google conducted a pilot program for OCG apps in Japan, which ended on July 11. Commencing on July 12, 2023, Online Crane Game apps will be eligible for global listing on Google Play, subject to specific requirements and compliance with the relevant laws.
Google introduced some updates for Permissions and API policies
One of the updates affects the Request Install Package Permission policy, expanding its permitted functionalities to include companion apps utilized for syncing Android phones with wearables or IoT devices. This change will be effective from August 31, 2023.
Another update pertains to the VPN policy, with a focus on prohibiting the use of VpnService for engaging in ad fraud (effective from August 31, 2023).
Additionally, Google is introducing a new restricted permission requirement for the Exact Alarm API. Apps are now required to declare this permission only if their core functionality necessitates an exact alarm. Apps that declare this new restricted permission but fail to meet the specified criteria will not be permitted on Google Play. This update is effective from July 31, 2023.
You can find more information in this article on the Help Center.
App Store news
Apple announced online sessions with experts from August 1 until August 24
Apple has unveiled its upcoming online sessions, scheduled from August 1 to August 24. These sessions are designed to keep you informed about the latest features on the App Store and address any questions you may have. The presentations will be conducted live with opportunities for Q&A, and they will be available in multiple time zones and languages.
- You’ll have the opportunity to explore various App Store pricing upgrades, which include enhanced global pricing options, tools to manage pricing by storefront, and access to additional price points.
- Gain valuable insights on measuring User Acquisition through App Analytics and strategies to grow your subscription business using App Store features.
- Discover how to optimize your product page to resonate better with users by testing different elements and identifying what works best.
- Understand how Custom Product Pages can be utilized to create versions that highlight specific features or content effectively.
- Get insights into enhancing discovery and engagement through the Game Center and learn how to configure In-App Events for better user experiences.
Learn more about these online sessions.
App Store price changes took effect on July 25 for the Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Türkiye storefronts
App Store price changes for apps and in‑app purchases (excluding auto‑renewable subscriptions) took effect on July 25 for the Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Türkiye storefronts.
These updates also consider the following tax changes:
- Egypt: introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) of 14%.
- Tanzania: introduction of an 18% VAT and a digital service tax of 2%.
- Türkiye: increase of 18–20% VAT.
Here’s how these changes impacted pricing:
- If you have chosen Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, or Türkiye as the base storefront for your app or in-app purchase (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions), the price will remain unchanged for that storefront. However, prices for other storefronts will be adjusted to maintain consistency with your chosen base price.
- If your app or in-app purchase (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions) has a base storefront other than Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, or Türkiye, prices will increase with the Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Türkiye storefronts.
- If your in-app purchase is an auto-renewable subscription or if you manually manage prices for storefronts instead of using automated equalized prices, your prices will remain unaffected by these changes.
App Store Connect’s Pricing and Availability section in My Apps has been refreshed to present the forthcoming price adjustments. You can always modify the prices of your apps, in-app purchases, and auto-renewable subscriptions at any time.
For tax administration purposes, your proceeds from app sales and in-app purchases, including auto-renewable subscriptions, will be adjusted to reflect the new tax rates and updated prices. Apple will collect and remit applicable taxes in Egypt and Tanzania, as stated in Exhibit B of the Paid Applications Agreement.
Apple releases new ad slots for the Today’s tab on the App Store
In June, Apple made an exciting announcement. The company will be introducing a new advertising format for the App Store, providing developers with even more options to promote their apps to iPhone and iPad users. The company revealed that these new ads would be visible to users in the Today tab of the iOS App Store starting in July, and they have now been officially rolled out on iPhones.
Unlike the previous ad slots on the App Store, this new format appears directly in the Today tab, which is the first tab users see when they open the App Store. The ad is positioned just below the main slot, which remains non-sponsored content and doesn’t require users to scroll to see it.
Apple explains to developers that the Today tab ad offers a prominent placement on the front page of the App Store. The format is kept simple, featuring the app icon, name, and subtitle.
Due to its simpler design, getting approval to run ads in this slot is easier, as it doesn’t require screenshots or detailed information. When users tap on the ad, it takes them to a Custom Product Page that includes advertiser-submitted artwork. However, Apple still reviews and approves the icon, name, and subtitle of the ad to maintain quality standards.
It is important to note that apps with icons or names that are deemed “violent, offensive, sexually explicit, or otherwise inappropriate” cannot be featured in these ads. Additionally, this new ad format is currently available only on iPhone devices with iOS 16.4 or later and is not yet available on iPad.
Read more about changes to ads on the Today tab.
Apple will mandate developers to explain why their apps use specific APIs
As a measure to prevent the misuse of certain APIs, Apple announced at WWDC23 that developers will be required to describe why their apps use these APIs in their app’s privacy manifest. This new requirement aims to ensure that apps use these APIs solely for their intended purposes. During this process, developers must choose one or more approved reasons that accurately demonstrate how their app uses the API, and the app can only utilize the API for the selected reasons.
If developers have a use case for an API that requires reasons but isn’t already covered by an approved reason, and this use case directly benefits the app’s users, Apple encourages developers to inform them about it.
Explore the list of approved reasons.
Asodesk has introduced a Tags Analysis Tool and Integration with Usedesk
In July we added Tags Analysis to Asodesk. This is a valuable tool that allows you to gain deeper insights into issues reported by your users on the App Store and Google Play. You can now identify the most common problems users encounter, observe which types of reviews are tagged frequently, and analyze tag reports for any desired period.
Moreover, the integration with Usedesk brings added convenience. You can now respond to reviews directly from your Usedesk dashboard, and your responses will be published on both the App Store and Google Play.
These new features are accessible to users on the Power and Ultimate Reviews plans.
To learn more about Tags Analysis and the new integration, check out our blog post for further details.
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