This is a really strange story to write, as my personal involvement in the world of iOS editorial has a lot to do with Slide to Play. When the iPhone launched I was partners in a medical tech startup, which was pretty cool for how young I was at the time, but it’s hard to think of a less fun industry to work in than the dismally profit-centric world of American healthcare. I’m the kind of person who likes to keep busy, and always had various side projects cooking. When 3rd party iPhone apps started to become a thing, I decided I either wanted to take a crack at iPhone development, or just writing about iPhone stuff instead. I already had a day job that was heavily into software development, and always like writing about random stuff, so the latter won out. I wrote a bunch of reviews on forums, and eventually got encouraged by other people on those forums to try submitting my writing to either TouchArcade or Slide to Play since what I was publishing was better than what both site was posting at the time. (Which isn’t really a slam on either TouchArcade or Slide to Play, if you look at early stories, there just wan’t a lot to get super in-depth over.)
I couldn’t really decide between the two, as if you remember back in the early days in 2008 to 2009, both sites were pretty neck in neck with their content output and overall importance. So, I just reached out to both. TouchArcade responded first, and, here we are, a decade later. It’s pretty ridiculous how in the early days of the App Store, the mobile editorial scene was booming. iPhone games cost money, people paid money for them, and that money then went back to the studio who made the game who turned some of it around back to the editorial outlets for advertising to get more sales, make more money, and continue that cycle. It all made sense. Then free to play happened, direct user acquisition techniques were invented, and Apple decided they needed to be the sole curator of iOS content in killing the affiliate program– Effectively stopping the last few drops of revenue review sites were generating.
Today, after 10,747 posts and 11 years, Slide to Play announced they’re shutting down. There was a time when we weren’t super sure at TouchArcade that we would end up being the dominant voice in iOS editorial, as when Slide to Play was operating on all cylinders the rivalry was real. This makes it extra weird to be covering the site’s closure, as that very easily could be us, and to some extent feels like Scrooge being guided around by the Ghost of Christmas Future. The same things that led to Slide to Play’s closure are directly impacting us on a daily basis. Slide to Play was a big part of the history of gaming on the App Store, and it seems absurd to me that even though year after year all you read are reports on how mobile gaming is growing bigger and more profitable, there just isn’t a way for folks covering these games to survive. It blows my mind that things are ending this way.
So, today, we pour one out for everyone who has ever been involved in Slide to Play. Ya’ll deserve it.