This entirely scientific post is inspired by recent App Store reviews I’ve seen, summing up how people respond to mobile games.
Free game with IAP: This is a total rip-off! I hate the developer! It’s totally unfair that they want to make money from this game that I’ve nonetheless played for hours on my shiny, expensive iPhone!
Paid-for game with IAP: This is a total rip-off on top of a rip-off! I will ignore the many hours of fun that the game gave me, and wish the developer accidentally falls down a canyon for having the sheer audacity to provide the means to pay for extra content and/or a means to progress more rapidly through the game.
A game with no IAP but in-app currency: This is a total rip-off, because I don’t understand what ‘in-app purchase’ actually means! Also, I’m really annoyed that I can’t just buy loads of extra currency to speed through the game, although I hate in-app purchases. Therefore, this developer’s supposed generosity has also denied me the opportunity to complain about IAP and also made me look stupid in an App Store review! I hope they get kidnapped by a giant eagle and dropped in the ocean, so they’re torn to pieces by sharks who also hate IAP!
A game with no IAP but generous in-app currency that enables rapid progression: I finished this game too quickly. This is a total rip-off!
A totally free game with no IAP and generous in-app currency that enables rapid progression, but that also, miraculously, lasts for ages, through new level packs being issued almost daily: Man, this game’s getting boring now. Why hasn’t the developer done something new, the lazy git?
My latest piece for Stuff explores the current mess that’s being created by the British government regarding UK internet access. In short, political ideology and a certain kind of morality appear to be driving decision-making when it comes to web access more than pesky facts and evidence. Ironically, the day the piece was filed with Stuff, it was widely reported Google would “block child porn” and that the UK government had been instrumental in this (which is a rather dubious claim to say the least).
It was less widely reported that Google blocks child-abuse images already, and that UK organisations and police already dealing with such problems reckon the new changes will make little difference. Almost no-one questioned the nature of the blocking the government wants to introduce by default, specificity, and whether legal material should in fact be blocked by default at all. (Instead, David Cameron said husbands were “going to have a discussion” with their partners if they wish to continue using porn, because women apparently don’t use or watch porn, and family filters by default are the way it should be in ‘his’ Britain.)
Still, it all worked out rather well for Google, now getting some positive column inches, none of which appear to be talking any more about how the company pays bugger-all tax in the UK.
Apple is again under fire as it was revealed that its latest unannounced product that no-one knows for sure it is even working on has been delayed by an arbitrary amount of time, according to guesswork made by an interchangeable analyst. “Apple hasn’t released any new products since a few weeks ago, and even they were only minor updates to the iPad,” said the interchangeable analyst. “This proves that Apple is understaffed and just doesn’t have the resources to truly invest in the unannounced product that no-one knows for sure it is even working on, but that we’re all writing about because ‘sources’ say they have seen it and so we can get page hits from people clamouring for more Apple rumours.”
Another interchangeable analyst said this latest unforeseen delay to an unannounced product that there’s no proof Apple is even working on could spell doom for the company: “The big problem is that once you take away the profits and income Apple’s getting from the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPods, accessories, and media sales, what is left? Without the unannounced product that there’s no proof the company is even working on anyway, and that we’re all writing about because ‘sources’ say they have seen it and so we can get page hits from people clamouring for more Apple rumours, there’s a good chance Apple will disappear entirely next year.”
A Samsung spokesperson was quick to respond to Apple’s new low, noting that its own unannounced product was “right on schedule” and would be released in “at least seven different sizes and 36 colours, to appeal to the widest possible demographic”.
I was given the opportunity to complain about Apple’s miserly amount of free iCloud space for Macworld. Apple gives you 5 GB, and that’s it. You can pay (through the nose) for more, to a maximum of 50 GB. For a company trying to push everyone to multiple devices and cloud storage specifically in iCloud, this limit now smacks of nickel-and-diming at best and outright recklessness at worst. If you just screamed “HYPERBOLE!”, be mindful that iOS devices fling up an error message when iCloud storage gets full, killing your back-up. At that point, do you think the typical user will:
- Carefully and methodically work their way through back-up options that are buried within Settings, to ensure that at least the most important data happens to be backed up.
- Pay a load of money for extra space.
- Just turn off iCloud back-ups.
Oh, and to all of the people who’ve already pointed me on Twitter at cheaper cloud-based storage services, well done. But you’ve clearly not bothered to read my article, which is primarily about automated back-ups. Also, you fail to realise that apps increasingly require iCloud for cloud storage and simply don’t offer anything else as an alternative. If Apple really wants people using documents across multiple devices, it should provide enough space to sync at least a reasonable number of items. Right now, if you’ve two iOS devices, that alone will often be too much for the 5 GB you get.
Following on from my recent slightly (OK, very) sarcastic blog post about a developer charging for an update (THE HORROR!), Stuff asked me to write about the subject. The result is Apps are brilliant, so stop moaning about paying for them. Within, I explore how developers ended up in a race to the bottom and how Apple and Google obliterated the value of software, setting many people’s entitlement dial to 11.
Really, it’s all about this:
… without apps providing income, the alternatives are grim, because developers would have to find other ways of making a living. This could be free apps with intrusive advertising or privacy implications, products packed with sneaky in-app purchases, or simply shifting apps to spare-time pursuits, thereby reducing the likelihood of focus, quality and regular updates.
The conclusion is in the title, but please read the article anyway!