Apple has changed its guidelines for gifting in-app purchases, as spotted by MacRumors. Previously, you could gift paid apps to other people, but not paid in-app content.
The new language is found in Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines. Before, it read: “Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others.” Now, it says: “Apps may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchase to others. Such gifts may only be refunded to the original purchaser and may not be exchanged.”
Freemium games aren’t going anywhere (and microtransactions are extremely profitable), so it makes sense that Apple would continue to react to how people are spending their money on and within mobile games, especially with the rise of free-to-play games like Fortnite and PUBG. Last year, Apple required iOS games with loot boxes disclose odds of certain items appearing.
We don’t know how Apple plans to implement this change. Right now in the App Store, tapping on the three dot icon for a free game still only shows only “share App” and “more by this developer” as the only two options. With paid apps, a third “gift app” option is also available, but nothing specific for gifting in-app purchases.