Why Did Apple Break A Broken System?

I remain a steadfast PC gamer, but the iPhone certainly won me over to the concept of mobile games that can be fun to play.

I have, though, bemoaned the flood of titles that hit the iTunes store almost nightly, making it nearly impossible even for someone who is paid to track them to stay on top of things.

I dig through the iPhone game releases nightly just to make sure something intriguing or massive doesn't pop up. Imagine my surprise then when I pulled up the iPad's version of iTunes only to discover that you can't really browse it.

Instead Apple decided to to strip away the ability to dig into categories and instead create a series of filters that are, I suspect, meant to pull out the potential gems.

Great concept, horrible execution.

When you pull up the Game category on the iPhone you're able to select All Games or from 19 sub-categories. You can then sort what you find by top free, top selling or by release date.

On the iPad, when you click on Games you're given the option to explore the 17 games listed in the "spotlight", the ability to browse games under New and Noteworthy and What's Hot.

There are no longer any sub categories though. And using the new system I was only able to browse perhaps 10 per cent of the current game library.

You can, of course, search for the game of choice, but that would require knowing it, which sort of defeats the purpose of browsing.

I can only assume this is Apple's attempt at trying to minimise the open floodgate of games that confront a new iPad owner when the purchase the platform, but it's kind of crazy to completely take that control out of the hands of their users.

Oh, right, this is Apple.


    Or maybe Apple can stop allowing so much crap to be put on it in the first place? Thus potentially streamlining a better line of applications? Oh yes wait you're right, this is Apple. Seriously, it is a shame. Too many good developers go unnoticed because of the ongoing sea of crap and lazy developers seeking a quick buck with teenage tripe.

      And who is going to moderate the apps? Who decides what is acceptable or junk?

      Apple is known to be protective of their iTunes platform; sometimes overly so.

      Brian's remark with "right, this is Apple" is in regards to Apple enforcing too much control.

      Your remark with "right, this is Apple" is in regards to Apple not enforcing enough control.

      Your quip doesn't line up with Brian's sentiments.

        Look at what Microsoft did for XNA. The XNA games are peer reviewed by other XNA developers. Now this doesn't fix inherent design problems, but it does mean the games aren't bug and are free of glitches before they reach market.

        Seems to work. And yes Apple to control the apps, any time you have something slightly offensive or inappropriate for children it's axed.

        The worse part in this is that you will see even LESS quality games on the platform as good and hard working developers don't bother releasing games for it, because they don't see it as profitable to try and fight against the surge of shovelware.

        On to the topic of the interface: This is basically why game shops have shelves of games and bins of games. Because they actually WANT to sell games, not make their shop appear to be filled with games so they can sell their shop.

          Apple enforces strict rules for stability (bug), objectionability (content) and iniquity (malware) but does not enforce the worthiness of a software.

          Consider the following hypothetical sentiments from Apple:

          1. "Your application will be removed if it continues not to have good reviews."
          2. "Your application will be removed because only 50 people bought your application."
          3. "Your application is rejected because it is not fun."
          4. "Your application is rejected because we think it's 'shovelware'."

          Consider applying the same sentiments to the internet. Imagine if Google would apply similar rules to their search engine. In the Google scenario, "spam" sites would still be deemed inappropriate under the objectionability and iniquity clause, but I would shudder to think of the consequence if Google decides to rank based on what it likes/dislikes.

          Apple simply lets the market decide. Apple does provide mechanisms to encourage better quality apps to 'bubble' up, much like search rankings; criteria's being, best in genre, top 25 (most popular, highest rated, etc.) What Brian is pointing out is that whilst he sees the reason behind Apple's decision to change how Apple showcases applications (reasons I've just mentioned), the issue is that Apple has taken too much control (making it overtly simple) which sacrifices the ability to perform advanced/precision searches to find content. This is a legitimate concern an I hope Apple figures out a way to achieve a way to keep application index pages simple to use; yet give more advanced users more control over search.

          It's easy to criticise Apple for how they've handled the iTunes store so far, but we also need to consider that there is little precedence to what Apple is doing in terms of magnitude. Game companies are still trying to figure out how to turn the iTunes app store into a profitable business. It certainly is possible right now, as there are a few runaway indie game success case studies (in to the millions); Over time, the market will stabilise. The iTunes gold rush will settle and we should start seeing a par in app quality with a standardised pricing structure dictated by market forces. Until then, I would give a bit of slack (but still remain critical) to Apple and applaud them for ensuring my iPhone/iPad/Pod Touch is not filled with unstable, objectionable and malicious software.

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