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Category Archives: Soap Box

'I Love Your Game. I Give It One Star' - The Crazy World of App Store Reviews

I've got a confession to make: I take a perverse interest in trawling the App Store to find the most absurd reviews. It's an unusual sport, I'll grant you, and there certainly aren't any winners. It started with Monument Valley [$3.99], or more specifically with its super-cheap but still-not-quite-free Forgotten Shores expansion, which some people were really mad about. That was when we all witnessed just how entitled, angry and vicious the gaming public could be. Now, granted, we knew that already, but this dark new era is marked by irked gamers' realisation that they can actually harm a good game's sales by overwhelming its App Store reviews with negative scores...

Don't Fret About the Future of Mobile Gaming. Everything's Going to be Okay.

We are cursed to live in interesting times in gaming. Things are chaotic, and the industry could go in any one of a million directions. Eli Hodapp talked recently about how he sees signs of console/desktop publishers making new, more concerted mobile efforts. Dedicated gaming hardware is in decline and its possible death throes. The way games are bought and sold is changing as digital distribution and the internet continues to be the biggest shock to media since the invention of the printing press. Established publishers and developers are shifting focus. Independent developers don't know if it'll still be possible to make a living off of their games. Everything's a mess and it could all change tomorrow. It can be easy to see the way that gaming has changed recently, and the direction that you might see it going, and fret about it. I agree, things are chaotic and unpredictable right now. But here's what? As a fan of mobile gaming in particular? Don't worry about it. So many signs point to possible futures where free-to-play is widespread but more palatable to enthusiast gamers than ever; where big publishers help innovate and expand mobile gaming beyond its current state; where mobile gets to pick up where dedicated hardware leaves off; and where our backlogs continue to expand until the sun engulfs us all. Everything is going to be okay!..

How Long Do You Feel Entitled to Updates After Buying an iOS Game?

If you talk to a lot of iOS developers like we do, it seems like one thing most of them wrestle with is how to deal with consumer expectations. The early days of the App Store were a brutal mosh pit of developers throwing their elbows in the form of dropping prices, constant update schedules, and doing everything they could to win over a potential fan base. Sales for literally any reason practically became a running joke and games like Pocket God [$0.99] were a big part of what pioneered the whole "Pay us 99¢ and we'll update a game for the rest of your life" mentality that seems to have stuck with a lot of iOS gamers...

Why You Should Consider an Android Phone or Tablet for Mobile Games

So perhaps you find yourself somewhat curious about Android. Maybe you just have an iPhone and want to explore getting a tablet that's not an iPad. Or you've grown bored of iOS and want to try something new. I am quite experienced with both Android and iOS: I was the editor of an Android site for over three years. I have multiple Android phones and tablets sitting around, and even an Ouya. I currently use an iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Mini 2 as my main phone and tablet, but that's because I write about iOS for a living. I have zero qualms using Android as my main mobile OS. Android has its drawbacks compared to iOS – if I'm buying my grandma a tablet, she's getting an iPad – but as an audience of tech-savvy folks, I figure I should fight the good fight and tell you why you should consider buying an Android device. ..

Today I got an email from an EA Mobile representative collecting data from respondents on the current perception of EA Mobile in the industry. Thinking about it, it's actually really rare for anyone from the giant gaming outfits to take time to ask what we think. Communication is typically pretty one-sided, with information controlled behind sanitized press releases and embargoes. When people ask me what I think, I'm often brutally honest, so earlier this morning I drafted a response. After sharing it with the rest of my crew before sending, it was suggested that I just turn this into an open letter, with hopes that it'll actually amount to something beyond just a "Thanks for your feedback."..

It seems like lately the video game think piece (I'm not sure who coined that phrase) is becoming a requisite part of a game's release cycle. Instead of vague teaser, potential preview, availability announcement, and review, the internet as a whole apparently got together and invented a new story to sandwich in there, dubbed the think piece. Now, when a game is released, the cycle is closer to: Vague teaser, think piece on teasers, potential preview, think piece on whether or not the game should exist, availability announcement, think piece on whether or not this was the right time to launch the game, review, and think piece post-mortem. Now, all these think pieces aren't required, but, why half ass your think piecing?..

Yesterday we posted about news of Apple cracking down on ads that reward players for viewing advertisements. NimbleBit has fully embraced this sort of thing, and if you've played Disco Zoo you've no doubt watched a few Vungle ads to get some free bux. NimbleBit and other developers would potentially be hit pretty hard, or need to make substantial changes to their games, assuming Apple goes forward with mass-rejecting games that incentivize players sharing their game or viewing in-game ads. NimbleBit's David Marsh writes the following guest editorial:..

I created my Yelp profile in early 2010. I'd used the site for years before then, but for whatever reason, I didn't feel compelled to start writing reviews until a few years ago. Yelp, in the off chance you've never heard of it, is a massive community-driven site which primarily focuses on offering honest customer reviews for all sorts of businesses. It's equally useful to find a place to get lunch, somewhere to get your hair cut, a cool shoe store, or a million other things. Taking a step back, there's tons of similarities between Yelp and the App Store, but Yelp does two things that make a massive difference...

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