After launching my first game, Color Crush, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to publish to the Google Play Store. However, getting it launched on the Apple store was a whole different can of worms. I ended up throwing in the towel on my first game, but for my second game, I wasn't going to give up that easily.
The important takeaway here is...if it were easy, everyone would do it.
The Apple Developer Double-Edged Sword
When I was considering launching my game to the app store, I only really cared about one thing: I wanted to use my game studio name, Rigor Mortis Tortoise. However, if you're not a registered business, Apple makes you use your real, legal name. Not cool, man. And by registered business, I mean an LLC or Corporation. If you're a sole proprietor, Apple will make you use your legal name when someone downloads an app.
The real kicker though is that if you start as an individual developer, it's a huge process to get it changed once you do start your business.
From Game Developer to Business and Back: a Journey
Is this a lot of work to just have your game studio name appear instead of your legal name? Yes, but it's professional and sets you up for future success.
Here's what Apple Requires:
- A website associated with your game studio
- A company email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- A legally recognized entity (LLC or Corporation)
- A DUNs Number (Provided by Dun and Bradstreet, I had to request one)
This process has started the journey of Rigor Mortis Tortoise becoming an LLC. Which, is exciting, if not for all the paperwork. I ended up going through LegalZoom to complete this, and I honestly could not recommend them more. I filed with the basic package, which ended up running me $400. Being a business ain't cheap, I guess.
Luckily, it took less than a week to not only get my LLC, but my EIN number and my other tax documents. With my newfound pride and all-important legal documents, I still had to apply for my DUNs number.
Obtaining a DUNS Number
This was a strange, circle-y experience. Since your business needs a physical address, sometimes a DUNs will automatically be created for you. You will need your LLC documentation to look up your number. However, if your business is brand new, you may have to request one. Luckily, it only took 24 hours for my request to be processed and I was off to the races!
With that being the last of the obstacles, after this step, you're done! After the $100 yearly payment, and maybe some of your sanity.
Being Successful as an Apple Developer
Becoming an Apple Developer is far from an easy process, which is surprising coming from a company that has quite literally written the book on user experience. It's entirely possible that this process is designed to be difficult. Whereas everyone and their dog has an app on the Play Store, putting up hurdles ensures that only the determined and business-minded developers get to put their work on the App store.
And that, my friends, is how you register as a game studio on the App Store. Happy coding!