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While reading the App Store Review Guidelines, it was said :

(iv) They may not download or install standalone apps, kexts, additional code, or resources to add functionality or significantly change the app from what we see during the review process.

Does this mean that moddable games are not allowed?

I want to add official mod support to my game. The mod will be executed in a protected environment where dangerous features are not allowed or restricted.

If the Apple App Store does not allow modding, then I will have no choice but to disable mod support for my app that is released on the App Store, and ask the user from within the game to install the app from outside the App Store directly from my website if they want to play the game with mod support enabled.

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This isn't legal advice and I haven't published a moddable game in the Apple App Store.

Adding mod support appears to depend on how you implement it and possibly on the nature of your app. The following is taken from the Apple Developer Program License Agreement, Program Requirements, APIs and Functionality, Executable Code (section 3.3.1.B):

Except as set forth in the next paragraph, an Application may not download or install executable code. Interpreted code may be downloaded to an Application but only so long as such code: (a) does not change the primary purpose of the Application by providing features or functionality that are inconsistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application as submitted to the App Store, (b) does not create a store or storefront for other code or applications, and (c) does not bypass signing, sandbox, or other security features of the OS.

The "next paragraph" mentioned pertains to an "application that is a programming environment intended for use in learning how to program."

So my read of this is:

  • Interpreted code is allowed provided it doesn't:
    • change the nature of app
    • create a storefront that competes with the appstore
    • interfere with security.
  • Executable code is allowed for educational programming apps but has additional requirements and restrictions (as listed in the documentation).

The guidelines are subject to interpretation, and usually Apple does the interpreting. If you do decide to pursue mod support for your game, I recommend making small, incremental changes.

I would also be very careful about asking users from within the game to install the app from outside the App Store directly from your website - you're essentially using the App Store to distribute your game and then directing users away from the App Store for additional content. Even if you're not charging for the mods, Apple gets to interpret whether or not that amounts to creating a storefront.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. does not change the primary purpose of the Application by providing features or functionality that are inconsistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application as submitted to the App Store Does this means i must limit what my mods can do ? What if my "intended and advertised purpose of the Application" is a moddable game app that allows mod to change anything about the game as long as it is not harmful to user ? \$\endgroup\$
    – aaa
    Jan 26 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect Apple will hold you accountable for any mods & if so, it's your responsibility to make sure that the mods don't change the app beyond the intended and advertised purpose. As for the idea that mods can change anything so long as it isn't harmful - how do you intend to do that? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pikalek
    Jan 29 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ i might used the wrong wording then, i meant "harmful to user device" instead of just harmful in general. I can make the mod not harmful to user device by disallowing mods from dangerous features, similar to sandboxing (assuming there is no bug/vulnerability in the system) \$\endgroup\$
    – aaa
    Jan 30 at 19:19

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