Apple has over the years made some pretty weird decisions when it comes to the iTunes store. Whether it was banning the confederate flag, banning a game that wanted to talk about the situation in Gaza, or various other situations, such as the controversies surrounding The Binding of Isaac or Papers, Please, the App Store has never been the most consistent and friendliest place. Perhaps the most recent victim of that is iosoftware's Eugene Ivanov, who found out that his Apple Developer account had been deleted, without notice, and all their games removed as well.
Deleting the games didn't just remove them from sale as one might expect. In fact, they also removed it from users' accounts, meaning those who had bought the games cannot redownload the products because of Apple's decision to delete the account.
Why was that you might be wondering at this point. According to Eugene, Apple sent him an email about it around September 1, which is when he had noticed originally the games had become unavailable. The email they sent, which is apparently the only thing the developer support team will refer him to, states that they violated section 3.2f of the Apple Developer Program agreement. This section deals with not interfering with Apple's software or partner, misusing the app store in some way, utilizing another app store on an Apple phone, or other various things. The part of the agreement is vague, and when they asked for further information, Apple was not forthcoming.
The termination itself appears to be in violation of Apple's own agreement. The same Developer Program agreement states that outside of violating confidentiality (section 10), they are required to give 30 days notice and allow the developer to fix the problem. That is section 12 of the agreement, and it prompts further wondering about what caused this.
With the lack of information that they've been able to get, iosoftware today emailed out everyone on their email list after trying to work it out for 10 days. They had released Palm Kingdoms 1 and 2, Royal Bounty HD, and Dwarf Tower on various iOS platforms, and are recommending people to request a refund from Apple as even if the games return to the store, due to Apple's deletion of their account, users will have to purchase them again.
When talking with him about the situation, Eugene gave us the following statement, addressing the 3.2f allegation and the situation overall:
"We have never taken part in any kind of download farming, purchasing reviews or anything of that sort that would be a reason for getting banned in App Store. Palm Kingdoms 2 and Royal Bounty were doing great in keywords, so they sold themselves using natural traffic. I completely disapprove of Apple’s actions, especially taking the game from the people who paid money for it. If we ever put them back to App Store again, they will all be forced to buy the games one more time. So we asked them to request a refund for our games, as they will never be able to use them." —Eugene Ivanov, iosoftware
Starting tomorrow, their games on Steam will be going on sale. While this was something planned already, they hope that it will ease the situation for those who still want to play the game but cannot due to Apple's decision. Additionally, they have reduced the price to the minimum available without going free on Google Play.
We contacted Apple about this situation, and they have yet to respond. If they do, we will update this article with more information.