View Full Version : Launch Update - Submission Rejected

03-12-2012, 08:19 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm very sad to say that our Empire of the Eclipse has been rejected by Apple. Specifically we've been told that their subscription system is not intended for use by apps that are not periodicals.

As you'll hopefully understand this leaves us in quite a bind as our entire business model is centered around Empire being a subscription based game. We've submitted an appeal to Apple and in the meantime we're working on hashing out some alternatives approaches. Our focus remains to provide everyone with a truly competitive online experience and whatever solution we come up with will be made with that in mind.

Realistically we're probably looking at a month or more to retool the game, test out the new changes, and then resubmit to Apple.

Thank you for your patience and if you have suggestions on how you think we should go about monetizing the game we're happy to listen. Keep in mind though that as an online game we have ongoing costs that make a free or single purchase option unsustainable for us.

03-12-2012, 08:38 PM
Sorry to hear that, guys. I guess I can stop checking the AppStore every hour now. Its unfortunate that Apple is giving you such a hard time while allowing broken/illegal apps onto the store by the buschel.

As for a solution: Order & Chaos Online has been using a subscription model for the year or so it's been out. You buy game time in 1, 3, or 6 month packages that are bought as an IAP. There is no recurring charges with this but you could offer long-term packages at a discount to recoup some of the lost income from running subscriptions. I don't know the technical workings behind this but it might be worth a look.

03-12-2012, 09:36 PM
^ this is what i was thinking.

03-12-2012, 09:44 PM
We can't really say much at this time as to our plans if our appeal is denied. We are working on other options just in case, but no matter the option it'll take time, since it wasn't designed in to the system. As soon as we hear back from apple good or bad we'll be sure and post our direction, and plans.

We really hope to work with the system we have in place, since it works. :) Having to think about or design another system is not something we desire.

Lou dog
03-12-2012, 10:52 PM
I pay for a subscription to order& chaos. Is it not possible to apply the same template to your game?

03-12-2012, 10:59 PM
Having looked at Order and Chaos it looks like they're using a consumable IAP that adds time to your subscription but they're not actually using Apple's subscription system. We could and may do something like that it's just a very different approach then what we're currently doing.

03-13-2012, 12:47 AM
They won't let you just handle payment offline? In WoW, you had to handle payment through the website. The client didn't take payment at all, as far as I know.

I'm surprised they didn't mention this when you guys made special arrangements with them to get extra beta keys when you opened up the beta.

03-13-2012, 01:11 AM
They won't let you just handle payment offline?

I believe Apple is very resistant to external payment systems. They take a cut of all AppStore purchases. An external payment system would cut them out of the bargain.

03-13-2012, 06:49 AM
It's unfortunate that they put obstacles in the way of their own business model then!

03-13-2012, 12:59 PM
It's unfortunate that they put obstacles in the way of their own business model then!

It is a little disappointing for everyone I assure you. :) We have worked out a new model, and hopefully we will have it up sooner than later. LeeDot, will probably post something in the near future.

03-13-2012, 01:40 PM
With any luck the appeal will go through without a hitch and will save you guys a fair chunk of work. Maybe this game will set a precedence which will allow more games to use subscription based billing in the future.

03-13-2012, 02:36 PM
Apple pulled the first subscription game back in November from Big Fish Games. I wish I had remembered this news earlier.

03-13-2012, 02:57 PM
King Robert the Bruce I was born at Lochmaben Castle in 1274. He was Knight and Overlord of Annandale. In 1306 he was crowned King of Scotland and henceforth tried to free Scotland from the English enemy.

After being defeated at a battle, Bruce escaped and found a hideout in a cave. Hiding in a cave for three months, Bruce was at the lowest point of his life. He thought about leaving the country and never coming back.

While waiting, he watched a spider building a web in the cave's entrance. The spider fell down time after time, but finally he succeeded with his web. So Bruce decided also to retry his fight and told his men: "If at first you don't succeed, try try and try again".

Old legend.

03-13-2012, 03:41 PM
Very sorry to hear of your setback, but wanted to also voice my support for you and your team. Looking forward to your (hopefully sooner than later) eventual release

03-13-2012, 10:02 PM
We're on it, after discussing various options we're going with a system similar to Order and Chaos since that seems to be the option closest to our original plan.

Raven - Yeah, I just remembered that yesterday as well. I was under the impression that the Big Fish service was pulled because it was allowing external binaries to be executed which violates the TOS but I guess it's a larger issue with subscriptions in general.

Spoon / Snax - Technically there are provisions that allow for content providers to offer outside subscriptions (which is how Netflix works for example) but it definitely seems like asking for trouble. On our end we just want to be able to provide a quality game in a sustainable fashion and aren't really looking to skirt any of Apple's guidelines. In this case I think it's simply one of the pitfalls of doing something that not many others are doing in that we ran into an undocumented part of the guidelines.

03-14-2012, 04:15 AM
It is a bummer that your original plan was rejected by apple. I hope you appeal goes well.

It seems to me that a subscription model is classic MMO, and since that model is what you all are following it makes sense to use that model. Apple should recognize that for MMOs to have a quality experience (without all of the IAP that plague games in general) that a subscription model should be available to those types of games.

All of that being said, personally I do not like the subscription model. I have purchased Order & Chaos, but have never played it because I feel like I need to use the heck out of it to make the playtime worthwhile - I only have 3 months to play before they want more money from me. I have so many games on my idevices (and on my computer) that I could be playing, and to dedicate my time to one app to make me feel like I am using my subscription time, I am just not ready for. (Yes $.99 per month or the $1.99 you all were going to ask isn't that much, and if one assumes that entertainment dollars are worth $1-2/hour - which is low compared to movie prices then really that is a bargain, but to pay a monthly fee for a game on an idevice feels awkward, even though two dollars isnt really that much - which I already burned through my entertainment time writing this post which you probably have already stopped reading).

Now, I love this type of game, and am dying to try it when it comes out (and yes Ill prob do the subscription if that is the economic model you are using). I also realize that to change the code for a different economic model would be a pain, but I would like to toss out a few suggestions (even if it is a little late, since you have already indicated to go the Order & Chaos route if the appeal is rejected).

Personally I would rather pay $5 or $6 and not have to worry about a monthly fee, but then there is a barrier to entry; my perception is that not many people (but maybe those on these boards) would shell out that much money for a game they do not know much about.

I should also preface this on that I have not played in the Beta, nor do I know how many subscriptions you are planning on/need for the game to be profitable. There are many variables there that are key to profitability. I also do not know how many idevice gamers would be scared off by the subscription model, or how many would just forget to turn off their subscription (resulting in more income), personally in general I do not like a reoccurring cost for a game (even though I understand why they exist, and I did play WoW for years)

The option I like the best is to have the game be free, and give access to the test server (I saw mention of the test server). You might consider resetting the test server every month or so just to keep interest up. Then you can have an IAP that opens the 'PRO' gameplay (like $6), which would then open the ladder/competitive gameplay. This gets rid of the $6 barrier to entry that may scare some off and then opens the real piece of the game. (I do not know how many people will subscribe for three months, but seems like that would be about the period of time a subscribers interest would be held). This could result in higher server costs for the server to maintain all of the freebie people but more people might be willing to try it and love it ( so is a tough call).

I had some other suggestions, but frankly, I did not like them as much as the above, so I deleted them. Anyway good luck with whatever economic model is used (which sounds like has been determined) and I hope Apple approves the app soon so we can get to playing! :)

03-14-2012, 11:51 AM
@rstrbn (http://www.zarksoft.com/cms/member.php?349-rstrbn) We totally get where you are coming from. We read all the posts on these forums, and we try to take the time to understand our players, and their thoughts in and out of game. The one thing that is very different from a real MMO (Order & Chaos, us) back end compared to something like the mass of web "MMOs" (I'll use the term loosely) is we have a dedicated server farm that handles the back end. That includes Internet backbone access, proxy servers, game servers, account servers, database servers, just to mention a few. To be totally honest at 6$ for a "lifetime" we would go broke VERY fast. That's one of the reasons you see MMOs with subscription models. Its the ongoing costs.

Games that someone downloads for 0.99c have no ongoing costs. We have tried to be very smart in our design, and it's one of the reasons it was designed from the ground up was so we could have an MMO engine that could grow and adapt to our needs, and games. We wanted an engine that was designed for mobile devices. That obviously took some time to have an engine we could play over 3G in large scale. We wanted to charge the minimum we could to allow people to play the game. Since we don't also take a massive amount of IAP for in game coins and stuff like O&C, our base can't be 0.99/mth, so we determined what would it take to allow people to play a fair strategy game in a large scale universe. That price worked out to be $1.99/mth. We have spent a ton of time over the last few days trying to figure out how to change things. We have started work on the new implementations.

We hope that the game speaks for itself, and that people understand we are in this for the long haul. We want to make games that players take part in shaping their design, and game play. We truly want to give people that experience, and show that you have a direct like to us if you ever had any thoughts. We appreciate your thoughts, and I hope you understand our position. We certainly look forward to having everyone play.

If you ever have any other thoughts, about anything game related feel free to toss us a message here on privately. We will always get back to you. Although for the next couple of weeks I personally might be hit and miss... depends on how fast we are progressing on the new billing system.

As always thanks for the feedback.

Lou dog
03-14-2012, 06:16 PM
I am looking forward to this game. I am very keen on being able to play it over the 3G, because for myself wifi is limited( that is why I bought an iPhone). I am more than willing to pay 2.99 a month for a subscription, and believe it will be money well spent. However, if it were to require a wifi connection I would not. The 3G platform is key for me.

03-15-2012, 02:16 PM
I must say the ongoing cost, isn't something that bothers me. I'm glad that i know its there and that it will be a requirement.

I hate the games that you download for nothing and then have in app purchases to be able to get anywhere with the game. They make the games hard to progress without IAP's for game coins/credits. I can't imagine these games have the longevity factor.

I am glad you're progressing the changes well. Do you know what sort of timescale you're looking at for resubmission?

03-15-2012, 08:08 PM
I know we hate giving dates, since it seems like something always comes up... We figure a couple of weeks of code to make the changes we want, then a week of testing, and submission, hopefully everything goes well this time. If the stars align hopefully we'll be in the store the week of April 9th... That's the plan anyhow.. As to if it all works out that way... That's another story.. It'll be around then, maybe a week later... but not far outside of that.