Here’s my response to How clones, fear, sanitisation and free-to-play soured Apple’s iOS gaming revolution
First it’s good to see a post which accurately reflects the issues affecting the iOS App store. As an indie dev I want the iOS app store to flourish, but not just as a means to help devs earn but also as a discovery mechanism to help devs get their hard work in front of as many players as possible, and where there is no doubt the App store succeeds with the former it fails completely at the latter.
Essentially Apples charting algorithms and App store design has not kept up with devs needs.
Of course it all comes down to what Apple see as the main purpose of the App store. And that might well just be a method to get your game from A to B and nothing else, but of course it’s not as simple as that because users of the App store will mostly play what’s put in front of them, and who decides that? yup Apple by what they feature but more importantly how they structure the App store (what kinds of charts they have etc) and the kinds of algorithms they use for their charts.
Nobody quite knows what Apples chart algorithms are but it’s probably fair to say that the number of downloads plays a major role. And that’s the first problem. Because what it means is it stacks the cards hugely in favour of developers who have lots of money to spend on advertising and promotion, i.e major gaming companies who frankly don’t need any help to get high up the charts anyway. What this means is that even if you have a great game, if you have no funds to promote it, your chances of chart success are pretty much zero.
The 2nd issue is just the design/structure of the App store. It’s amusing to me that there’s a more streamlined approach to content on NetFlix on my desktop then there is on the App store on my iPad mini.
Regarding publishers, I totally agree with this “but the inability of publishers to see what else mobile gaming can be leads them to be profit-chasing and risk-averse to a ridiculous degree”. This has been my experience as well. Publishers are jittery about backing projects, which require any kind of investment whatsoever, especially if it means actually helping to fund games to launch, which in my opinion is exactly what publishers are for. I would go as far to say that most of the companies that call themselves publishers on mobile as not, they are just promoters, they are happy to put a bit of money into promoting your mobile game after it’s been launched (and proven to be successful financially) but that’s all.
So what’s the answer?
I think a Netflix type approach is needed. Let’s do away with most of the global charts (apart from latest released) and just display tailored charts which show the player games based upon their previous gaming choices and players who like similar games choices. It’s not up to Apple to decide what games we would like to play and I’m sure they would rather not do that anyway.