The Disastrous Changes to the App Store for Indies

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by StarlitSkies, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. The new App Store in iOS 6 offers no exposure for New Releases anymore. If you browse to a category, you see only 'Top Paid', 'Top Free', and 'Top Grossing' (which is surely just a reordering of the previous two?!)

    Gone is the 'New Releases' section to browse of a morning to find the next big thing. To check out the innovative niche apps that don't have a marketing budget to fling them up the charts to success.

    The search results are now so slow and painful to browse (only 1 app on a screen at a time, and no fluid scrolling) that the chances of anyone bothering to look past the first few results is minimal.

    They've changed the font so now everyone's carefully chosen names are getting chopped.

    Landscape apps are penalised by their screenshots being shown much smaller rather than letting users rotate to see them properly.

    We need to make a noise! We need to complain! If Apple leaves things this way then only the top of the charts will be seen, and they'll get to stay there, without anyone ever seeing the new games that they're missing out on!

    Have you noticed these changes? Have you realised their impact? Have you tried searching for your games?
     
  2. slamraman

    slamraman Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2011
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    Yep - for the last two years i have woken up to check the new releases every morning. Thankfully I kept my iPad 1 so i can still do it this way but it really is proper rubbish. Can't do on my phone or ipad 2 any more.
     
  3. visionwebs

    visionwebs Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2012
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    This is why I don't update
    Also it's bad news for me this year.......
     
  4. OniMitch

    OniMitch Active Member

    Jun 17, 2011
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    Games Designer
    Oxford, UK
    It definitely needs some improvement. It many ways it feels like a step backward and I really hope Apple sort it out quickly.

    I spoke to Edge Magazine about this very subject the other day.
     
  5. Future777

    Future777 FDG Entertainment<br />Co-Founder

    #5 Future777, Sep 23, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
    Yes, the iOS 6 app store needs major improvement. The loss of new release browsing is a huge bummer. It's also much slower than the old store. Still no videos in addition to screenshots - the only improvement for me is the new app details page.

    There's also an ongoing discussion in the apple dev forum
     
  6. Pubzombie

    Pubzombie New Member

    Sep 23, 2012
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    Hi,
    I am gutted and more than a little annoyed at the new App Store. I got an iPad simply because I wanted to be able to play loads of indie games. I put off getting an iPad for a long time because I never really liked the company and the locked down nature of the iPad.
    Since I got my iPad in August I have really enjoyed monitoring the daily games releases, and as I have a professional interest in supporting indie devs I feel this a kick in the teeth to both my work and indie devs careers...
    Now I feel like my fears have been confirmed.
    Is there a way to go back to the old App Store ?
    And how do you think the best way to complain is?
    Cheers all.
    Pz
     
  7. OniMitch

    OniMitch Active Member

    Jun 17, 2011
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    Games Designer
    Oxford, UK
    The unfortunate thing is I get the feeling Apple has their hands full with the iOS 6 Maps that it may take their focus away from the App Store.
     
  8. I'm so glad to see other people actually concerned by this issue. My searching on the internet showed people upset about the change to search results but no one seemed to have noticed the lack of New Releases. Even that article on Edge Magazine doesn't seem to mention the lack of ability to see new things! :(

    Being lucky enough to have had real human contact with a real human being at Apple, I’ve already ranted at someone. Apparently this person works in "iOS Developer Relations", so I explained just what it means for our relationship and I’m hoping that his remit is to actually care what developers think.

    If you don’t have a direct contact, use this form: Apple Developer Program Support

    If you’re an end user and feel strongly enough about how crappy this makes your App Store experience, here’s your link: http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/contact/
     
  9. Zenout

    Zenout Well-Known Member

    Thanks all, I am also concerned by this removal of hope and have sent some developer feedback to the link provided by StarlitSkies above.
     
  10. OniMitch

    OniMitch Active Member

    Jun 17, 2011
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    Games Designer
    Oxford, UK
    Good job StarlitSkies :) I'll send some feedback too!
     
  11. Could you point me to the discussion on the dev forum? I can't seem to find it!
     
  12. Future777

    Future777 FDG Entertainment<br />Co-Founder

    Category distribution -> app store
     
  13. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    Does anyone have any statistics regarding the sort of sales these new listings typically generate? Not to downplay this issue at all, but I really doubt many of the "typical" iOS device owners ever delve that deeply into the App Store? It seems like there's two distinct ends of the iOS user spectrum between people who know about app discovery sites; might have the AppShopper (or similar) apps on their phone and people who never do anything more than just download whatever the free things are featured on the main screen of the App Store or in the top ten free charts.

    How big of a demographic are the people in the middle who don't know about in-depth discovery tools and instead would scour the new release lists? I rarely even bothered with those as they seemed to have an abysmal signal to noise ratio with all of the shitware that gets submitted to the App Store on a daily basis. It seems like if you're that into the App Store to even do that you'd know more efficient ways to find things, right?
     
  14. I can't reveal numbers without talking to my partner first, but in the case of our (probably) least discoverable game we've released this year, there is a very significant difference between how the game performed on iOS where there was a 'New Releases' section and on Google Play where there isn't.

    [​IMG]
    (Taken from a blog post so I know I can share!)

    I realise this is like comparing apples to oranges, but it's the best I've got. I don't know any way to track where exactly our downloads come from. Whilst we have some cross promotion in our own games which certainly help get people downloading it, we've always felt that the 'New Releases' section was important.

    It's certainly how I tend to find new games to play. Whilst I'm aware of apps like AppShopper to help, I prefer to use my own eyes so that I don't risk missing something awesome which everyone else is skipping over thanks to a terrible icon ;)

    Surely there must be similar tools for Android (like AppBrain?) and yet we saw almost zero downloads over there.
     
  15. csddavies

    csddavies Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2009
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    Westerville, OH
    Ya, my sales are down 80%. It kind of stinks that anything I release now also won't get a few days of exposure. Not sure how an Indie with little budget is going to have a chance to get seen.

    doug
    funkyvisions.com
     
  16. PikPok

    PikPok Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2009
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    Wellington
    From the various games we have released and had featured from time to time, Apple iTunes features and listings can make a big difference, but only a few matter.

    Top 10 rankings aside which get you visibility all over the place, for the desktop iTunes client, being in a featured slot at the top of the App Store is most important. Then being in New and Noteworthy, and the closer to the left in this category the better.

    Anything else, whether further down the page or buried under a category specific header helps marginally, but is of much lesser value than the above.

    Getting visibility is very, very hard, as are getting feature slots on the Store.

    Devs would be well advised to build their user network any way they can because that is the key asset they are going to have to (cross) promote from rather than relying on a blessing from Apple.
     
  17. PikPok

    PikPok Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2009
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    Wellington
    Tiny Wings got a topline App Store promotion the week after it released.
     
  18. squarezero

    squarezero Moderator
    Staff Member

    Perhaps I am not understanding the complaint here, but I have no problem seeing new games in the iOS 6 App Store. When you click on Categories and select Games/All Games, I get immediate access to New and Noteworthy, What's Hot, and What We're Playing. Selecting on a specific subcategory of games shows New and What's Hot. Non of these choices lead you to a Top Paid or Top Grossing screens.

    What exactly is the problem?
     
  19. ColeyWoley

    ColeyWoley Active Member

    Jul 3, 2012
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    Artist, Disparity Games
    We had very few sales from being listed as a "new release" under the old system. Assuming a customer went there, they would have had to scroll several pages to find us anyway. Most of the sales we've had have been from media that's outside the app store/review sites, and from being in the top 10.

    Apple has no interest in helping games from indie devs get discovered. Its their App store, and they want to be in control of what's on it. If I had a store, I'd probably want to control it too.

    You have to get people to buy your game without their help. Just like last week.
     
  20. tim240

    tim240 Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2012
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    Glad I haven't updated yet. There's a part of me that wants to check out the new features..
     

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