App Store's Emphasis on Chart Positioning Squeezing Out Developers and Media Publications

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Apr 12, 2001
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When the App Store launched in 2008, it provided an exciting new way for developers to distribute third-party apps and games on the iPhone. With the release of iPhone OS 2.0, developers were no longer constrained to web apps and could take advantage of the possibilities afforded through fully native apps. At the time, it was an exciting and opportunistic new chapter for iPhone users, developers and mobile gaming websites.

As the App Store continues to grow in size, however, the landscape has begun to change. While the App Store was once a relatively even playing field, with a balanced mix of indie developers, mid-size studios and large publishers, the storefront now suffers from increasing disparity, a problem that is suffocating for many developers, enthusiast media publications and the broader ecosystem.

Clash of Clans, Game of War and Candy Crush Saga are top grossing iPhone apps

The shift away from paid apps towards free apps monetized with in-app purchases or mobile ads has driven the popularity of addictive games such as Clash of Clans, Game of War, Candy Crush Saga and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and the deep-pocketed developers behind each title will go to extreme measures to ensure their continued success, even including unthinkably expensive Super Bowl ads.

Eli Hodapp, Editor-in-Chief at our sister website TouchArcade:
"iOS gaming has since been pushed to two extremes: The giant, multi-million dollar studios of the world, and supremely tiny indie developers hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a surprise viral hit they built in their spare time. The mobile gaming megacorps are operating on a financial level that's hard to even fully comprehend, quite literally advertising during the Super Bowl, while the one-man indie studios typically can't even afford an artist to help them with a better app icon."
The main issue is not that multi-million-dollar game studios are spending considerably more money than independent developers, but rather the underlying App Store methodology that creates the artificial race to the top in the first place: chart positioning. Ranking near the top of the charts is still almost a must in order to be discovered within a sea of nearly 1.5 million apps and counting...

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Article Link: App Store's Emphasis on Chart Positioning Squeezing Out Developers and Media Publications
 

XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
I hardly get any new games or anything anymore. So many in-app purchases, nothing seems worth it these days. It feels like I'm going to end up spending like $15+ for sub-par crap rather than just $.99 or $1.99 for something of pretty good quality. The App Store is frightening now, really. I always think, "will I regret downloading this because of all the extra stuff I will be forced to buy?"

Even if I turn to look at more expensive apps, there are still IAPs! That $7 Minecraft game all the kids play is now FILLED with hundreds of skins to buy at $.99 each. It's terrible.
 

Bevz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
816
137
UK
I find the app store front page on iOS devices to be very off putting, hard to navigate and simply based on really old fashioned technology. I think the combination of Speech input and AI is the way forward for fast, customised hierarchical searches. Anything else just isn't going to cut it because the database is just so huge. The Top 100 list is largely full of junk.
Until they sort out the search tech I tend to use social media and websites to hear of new apps these days.
 

Bevz

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
816
137
UK
Oh, and slightly off topic (sort of), i think Apple need to do something about some of those in-app purchase games as some of them are simply adware bombs. You get 10 seconds of actual game and spend the next 30 seconds closing adverts. I really don't think that is what Steve had in mind when he agreed to an app store, and neither did we!!
 

Tubamajuba

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2011
2,070
2,008
here
i almost never look at featured or top apps any more they never change and you never see anything new there i prefer google to find new apps however sad that is
Yeah, it's mostly apps I decided I didn't care about months ago. It's been ages since I downloaded an app that isn't associated with a restaurant or business I frequent. I simply have no interest in games that are "free-to-play" (give me a complete $10+ game any day of the week, however!), and the stock apps do everything else I need.

I remember being in awe when I first browsed the App Store six years ago. Nothing on it excites me anymore, unfortunately. That's not to take away from the amazing developers that are still making great apps, but most of them just aren't my cup of tea.
 
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Charliebird

macrumors 6502a
Mar 10, 2010
838
90
The App store is a complete mess and Apple is completely tone deaf. Apple is pretending that it's a beautiful walled garden however it's filled with weeds. They need to overhaul the review system. The reviewers should be ranked for so good reviewers reviews count more then bad reviewers. A simple reputation system could be used. Apple could also break out a little bit and actually support website like Touch Arcade. They're providing Apple a huge service. Apple also needs to clean out of the blatant copies. Many of them use the same coding with slight modifications. Finally, Apple could be much clearer with their review process. Many Apps are rejected without a clear explanation why it failed.
 

seamer

macrumors 6502
Jul 24, 2009
426
164
The list of apps would grow much smaller if underwhelming apps are pulled. No downloads in 12 months? Hasn't been updated since ios6? Ratings have been consistently 1star or less in 24 months? Pull it.
 

LucasEVille

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2015
164
163
Nottingham & London, UK
I think it's disingenuous to use the front page of MacRumors as a plea for cash for Touch Arcade, especially under such a thinly veiled title that people might mistake for a real Apple related news article.
Same, thought this was leading to an actual piece of Apple news/rumor.

Felt awkward by such an obvious cap-in-hand plea.
 

subjonas

macrumors 68020
Feb 10, 2014
2,268
1,937
"Instead, developers pay countless different in-app advertising networks to just buy users and drive downloads directly."

This whole article hinges on this one sentence, but I don't even understand it. How are developers buying users? Doesn't it just say they are paying for advertising in one place rather than another?
 

rhoydotp

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2006
467
74
Yea, to get noticed as a new app developer on the App Store is like trying to get noticed on the stock market exchange floor in the middle of the day.
Exactly. Lots of social media outlet to start pushing info regarding apps. If the app is great, it will soon garner attention.
 

Zia_001

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2015
6
27
I don't get it. If MacRumors wants to advertise for a sister publication, then why not just openly do it? You can Just add a banner at the top of the site instead of trying to fool your audience into thinking this is a real Apple related article? Bad job on this one MacRumors
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,035
1,599
Lincoln, UK
Apple crack down on alternative discovery services, but more options are needed. Perhaps they should allow trusted sources to have their own discovery lists on the App Store, with TouchArcade at the top.
 

ElRojito

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2012
261
310
I find the app store front page on iOS devices to be very off putting, hard to navigate and simply based on really old fashioned technology. I think the combination of Speech input and AI is the way forward for fast, customised hierarchical searches. Anything else just isn't going to cut it because the database is just so huge. The Top 100 list is largely full of junk.
Until they sort out the search tech I tend to use social media and websites to hear of new apps these days.
You just completely contradicted yourself haha.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,434
2,908
App discovery has been a disaster for years now, to the point that I rarely buy or download anything new in the app store.

If they aren't going to improve discovery, please please please at least let me hide all games.
 

ButteryScrollin

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2014
838
1,383
I don't get it. If MacRumors wants to advertise for a sister publication, then why not just openly do it? You can Just add a banner at the top of the site instead of trying to fool your audience into thinking this is a real Apple related article? Bad job on this one MacRumors
Agreed. "Our sister site is looking for donations" is easy enough and honest.
 

Mclovincr

macrumors newbie
May 18, 2015
12
8
Maybe they need to great a special place for indie developers. I'm a gamer and steam launched the Greenlight project. It basically promotes indie developers and you can vote who is in the "top".
 
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WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,230
1,124
TouchArcade's situation may have been the inspiration, but we wanted to do a more complete story on what's been happening in the iOS games media industry, which is why we talked to folks at several similar sites.

Would we be happy if people supported TouchArcade because they saw this post? Sure...after all, we know the staff members there (some of whom work for both sites) and love the content. But it's a much larger issue that also affects developers and users, and it's something we thought merited coverage.

If we were simply looking to shill for TouchArcade, we would have done something a lot easier than putting all of this together.