Why Apple should support sites like TouchArcade and why they won't

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by CrazedJava, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2015
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    If I worked at Apple and had sufficient clout I would have Apple buy TouchArcade. I would pay a small staff of writers to stay on full-time and see how much other work we could get away with free or freelance.

    Why would I do this? Because I am too lazy to curate the App Store.

    Apple is a lot like credit card companies in that it makes money off all sides. They get a cut of every transaction on iOS, they get money for dev kits, they get money for advertising on their platform. The App Store is essentially the Apple Mint and it almost doesn't matter how good or bad apps are so long as Apple gets money from them.

    The problem is the App Store is beginning to groan under the sheer weight of its library size. This is something that happens time and time again. Too many choices, not enough time or money. The App Store is horribly bloated and every 10 to 100 flappy-clones, "me to" F2p games, and rogue-lites there is that 1 diamond in the rough.

    I don't have the time or inclination to go diving in the sewer to find that gem and I think I just described most people. More and more if a game doesn't hit a top chart somewhere or pop on some top-level promotion it dies a horrible slow obscure death. What would bother me is the concern that the App Store may be drowning the golden goose instead of letting it lay those little gold nuggets. Would I, as an Apple Exec, be pleased with making a small fortune off of crap versus a possible huge fortune off of excellent games? TouchArcade is a barometer of the mobile gaming scene, even with their iOS focus.

    However, it won't change. Why? Because too much money is already being made. No business is going to say "I'd rather make 100 million than 1 billion!" but there are plenty that will say "I'd rather make the 100 million I know I can have than risk only making 50 million when I was shooting for a billion." When I worked with sales guys they'd often tell me it takes as much to land a $100,000 deal as it does a $1 million deal. So why ever bother with some of the $10,000 and $50,000 contracts we had? Easy money, even though it was taking time away from bigger deals.

    In the Steve Jobs era, someone at Apple, maybe Jobs himself, would be concerned about the glut in the App Store and looking at a long-term and innovative solution to keep it from collapsing under its own weight. In the Tim Cook era? Too traditional, too risk averse, too busy copying the competition and pretending they are innovating.

    The best part of Apple owning something like TouchArcade is that they are too big to be touched by anyone using the App Store. TA could run without ads and very little corporate oversight. Sadly, it will never happen.
     
  2. mid83

    mid83 Well-Known Member

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    This is my biggest concern with the future of mobile. There is no discovery outside of top charts, Apple features and sites like TA. At least Steam helps you sift thru the garbage with curation (and their library is a tiny fraction of the App Store).

    I'd love to see a heavily curated App Store, or at least curation features where people could browse games selected by TA, Pocket Gamer and others. Maybe even a Premium App Store (never going to happen).

    I just don't see Apple caring either way. They make money in either case so why bother spending more money for curation when they can continue raking in money as is. There's no financial incentive for any changes to discovery, which I think is the biggest obstacle for long term success of mobile gaming.
     
  3. squarezero

    squarezero Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver

    Do you folks live under a rock? Have you been to the App Store in the last three months. The entire store is now heavily curated, with most automated lists eliminated. In fact, there's a whole other thread in this forum bemoaning the fact that Apple has done away with "organic" discovery by making the store too curated.

    Right now you can go to the App Store and find lists for great RPGs, great action games, great paid-and-done games, great free-to-play games, and so on. New game lists are all hand assembled and include pretty much every game that gets features in TouchArcade.

    Apple, BTW, makes very little money from the App Store. In fact, the store exists to entice people to buy phones. They have a strong incentive to improve the customer experience and, to a certain extent, make it easier for appealing games to make it to the store -- especially ones that justify purchasing the more expensive phones. That may not always help small indie developers, but it's what keeps games like Transistor making their way to iOS.
     
  4. Based Xatu

    Based Xatu Well-Known Member

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    They don't make that much money? Where did you get that information from? If Apple takes 30% off all purchases, what would that mean for all the games on the top 150?
     
  5. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

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    If that is what Apple considers curation, it needs work.

    When I search I get tons of junk. On the other hand, there have been several games covered by TA that either never show up on the main page or very briefly.

    Also, what constitutes "not much money". Kabam reported profits of about half a billion recently. No matter what percentage of that Apple received it is still a ton of money. That's just one company.

    Apple can't survive on the App Store alone, but I also find it hard to believe it's not profitable either.
     
  6. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    Was going to say of course they make tons of money from the app store. You always hear how many biions they paid out to devs. Sure Apple make a fair bit of change as we
     
  7. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

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    #7 Rip73, Jun 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
    This is easily one of the worst ideas I've ever read.

    And anyway, when did it become Apples responsibility to keep TA going just because they happen to write about the games on the App Store?
    Isn't it the responsibility of the site to keep itself going?

    Should they bail out every developer whose app doesn't make money also?
    Should they buy Macworld as well?
    Or the Wall Street Journal? Or hell even the New York Times?
    They write about Apple too.

    Or maybe just a few music magazines and websites because, well , you know they write about music and Apple sells music on iTunes.
    Or maybe they should just buy outright Marvel studios and Disney because they sell stuff from them on the App Store and iTunes as well.

    Apple already employs people to curate, plenty of people to do the exact same thing.
    The minute Apple bought TA, it would simply be swallowed up, integrated and essentially closed down.

    And even if that didn't happen, they would simply not be independent anymore and they would certainly be subject to corporate oversight and the unbiased opinions that we've all grown used to and admire and love about the site would be dead and gone.
    And anybody who ever signed any kind of agreement with Apple would know that.
    They simply would not be the independent entity they are now.
    It's that independence and lack of bias that keeps me reading here.
    The minute that's gone, I'm gone.

    I neither support jail breaking nor emulators but those articles would be gone and many others and I see that as nothing but a bad thing for the independence of journalism and journalistic integrity.
    Do we really want Apple controlling the independent media around its ecosystem?
    No we don't.
    And neither does Apple.

    And anyway, it's still not Apples responsibility to keep the place going one way or another, it's the editors and the owners.
    And they are already doing their best and staying true to their vision.
    I'm sure they'll achieve what they set out to do and if not, they will adapt accordingly as they have a wealth of knowledge and expertise and I have plenty of faith in them.
    It might mean sacrificing some of their vision, hell, we've all had to that at some stage but I still believe their core beliefs will survive any transition to another payment model.

    So, no, the very last thing that should happen is Apple buying TA.
    Apple doesn't want that and neither should the reader.
    Apple values the independent input of outside sites just as much as we should value said sites independence.
    Apple is a fan of TA and a fan of it just the way it is now, independent.
    And they already have a strong editorial team for themselves and that makes the value of an independent editorial team in TA even greater as their not subject to the corporate influences that every corporation has and can (and always do) provide an out of box view on things that just can't be got by buying it.

    Worst idea ever.

    And on the App Store monetisation, of course the App Store makes Apple plenty of money.
    But don't kid yourselves into thinking its a cash cow on its own.
    It's only a cash cow as it is because of iPhones/iPads and is a driving force for people to buy the devices they make that happens to make money as well on its own, nothing more, nothing less.
    Each is dependent on the other but Apple is a hardware and software company primarily. Its own software for its own devices.
    Theirs devices and operating systems are their primary focus.
    iTunes only came in to existence to sell iPods.
    The same is true of the App Store. It exists to sell more iPhones/iPads. It just happens to have done quite well for them because of the closed ecosystem of iOS.
    So it's important to them, yes, but only as long as they are making iPhones/iPads and never consider it any other way.
    The App Store is the tail and the tail doesn't wag the dog.
    The fact that it is the best option out there is simply a reflection of the dedication of Apple to it's ecosystem.

    Just as the staff, writers, owners, editors of TA are dedicated to their product and that too is the best in its field.
    And TA needs to keep its independence because sometimes even the best need to be called out on things they've gotten wrong and TA has never shied away from doing that with Apple and I don't want that to change.
    And neither does Apple.
    That outside feedback is invaluable and irreplaceable but it needs to remain outside.

    If the worst comes to the worst, I will indeed be very sad and tremendously disappointed, but the good people of TA won't let me down, they will adapt and continue to write the excellent independent articles they are known and universally loved for (even though we disagree frequently:)) for many years to come.
     
  8. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2015
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    One of my favorite quotes applies - "That's just like, your opinion, Man."

    It's not about bailing out everyone who fails. That's a non-sequitur. At no point did I ever suggest any such thing.

    The point is that TA helps the discovery of good games in a sea of crap. In many ways they also help identify crap trying to pass itself off as a diamond.

    It would be mutually beneficial as at some point the current model will crash. Video games have gone through multiple crashes during the time I've been gaming. I played E.T. on the Atari 2600. I've been around for that and was gaming before then.

    TA is a quality site, not all of them are. Apple loses nothing if TA publishes a negative review and stands to gain, in the form of increased sales and IAP, for reviews of genuinely good apps.

    Part of the problem with the current App Store is that reviews are broken. Companies are incentivizing and some apps are actually blocking anything less than a 5 star review. The system is being abused by companies.

    Again though, I think I made it quite clear why it wouldn't happen.

    As for "the worst idea ever", maybe. I see a potentially mutually beneficial relationship where an excellent site doesn't have to scrounge for advertising dollars or beg for their continued existence while Apple can have an arms length relationship with a site that will evaluate App Store content and promote the best of the best.

    More than likely you are right in that if Apple did buy TA with its current management it would just get swallowed into the conglomerate. The current Apple is looking more Microsoftian by the day.
     
  9. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    #9 Rip73, Jun 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
    I didnt bother reading beyond the truncation.
    Derogation of alternate opinions doesn't help your case or validate your opinion further.
     
  10. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2015
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    Then you would have seen that other than that statement I did not make any derogatory comments and actually wrote a reasoned response and even agreed with one of your points.

    Sheesh.
     
  11. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    Well then next time you're replying to a post don't start by insulting it by truncating it into a "long angry rant" categorisation when it was none of those things but an expression of an alternate (and "informed" by the way) and then maybe next time I'll read it.

    It may be the internet where it seems all things are acceptable but I have better things to do with my time than read posts that start out by insulting my own so I'm simply not going to waste my valuable time engaging with that post or the person behind it.

    You may agree or disagree with my point or points, that is the nature of discussion, but you'll find simple politeness goes a lot further than smartassery when engaging with others.
    End of discussion.
     
  12. HelperMonkey

    HelperMonkey Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your central point, despite the needless venom in your post.

    TA using Patreon seems a great idea. I hope it works.
     
  13. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    It wasn't "venom", it was hyperbole and exaggeration in order to apply emphasis to the inherent flaw in the proposition.
    I also didn't dance around the issue and was pretty blunt.
    Still not the same as venomous.
    To call a ridiculous idea a ridiculous idea is just calling it like it is, no more no less.
     
  14. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2015
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    Yet you took great exception for having the same applied to you.

    You seem pretty thin-skinned about anyone saying anything negative or blunt in response to you but seem to have no problem responding in kind to someone else.
     
  15. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    Really? You're gonna try that one.
    Well let me explain.
    There's a big difference between exaggeration and hyperbole to elaborate the flaw in a notion or an idea and blatantly insulting someone by calling their post a "long angry rant".

    And when I'm venomous and "responding in kind", I won't be trying to hide it in an edit of the post I'm replying to and "truncating" it into a derogatory classification, I'll just be upfront about it.
     
  16. slamraman

    slamraman Well-Known Member
    Patreon Gold

    Aug 27, 2011
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    Whilst I do agree with Rip73's central point about journalism needing to maintain independence and thus it's integrity, can you ladies please stop arguing. There is not too much difference between hyperbole and exagerration and I'm happy for long posts to be truncated when responding. Let's all get behind TA rather than arguing over semantics.
     
  17. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    #17 Rip73, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
    Hmmm, are you trying to imply that with your use of the "ladies stop arguing" that's it's only ladies that argue?
    I'm pretty sure you would be unaware of our gender whatever it may be so that must be what you are implying.
    Bit of a cliched stereotype generalisation there and just a little bit sexist and misogynistic isn't it?
    I think some actual ladies out there might be a bit offended by that don't ya think.

    Anyway you misread my point about the differences.
    I didn't say there was a difference between hyperbole and exaggeration, I said there is a difference between hyperbole/exaggeration in comparison to a blatant insult. And editing a post in order to put in the classification of it being a "long angry rant" is nothing but an insult or at the very least an attempt to denigrate said post.

    And of course truncating is also fine but editing said truncation in order to put in ones own interpretation and categorisation of said post as a "long angry rant", well again, it is at the very least an attempt to denigrate the post or the poster or possibly to express disdain at said poster.
    Either way, the interpretation and intent is pretty clear even if one attempts to hide it by truncating and editing.

    I hope that's clearer for you now.

    And everybody is behind TA. That was perfectly clear in my original thread post as was my clear disagreement that Apple has any responsibility to bail out or buy TA either which is the actual subject of the thread, not as to whether people are behind TA or not.

    Maybe you should have just left go the discussion between me and the other persons rather than bring back up a dead discussion. Maybe.
     
  18. slamraman

    slamraman Well-Known Member
    Patreon Gold

    Aug 27, 2011
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    Probably.
     
  19. ackmondual

    ackmondual Well-Known Member

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    ?? Why does Apple have to take over TA to curate games? If they wanted to, they would've done it already. Whether or not they do a good job of it is another matter.

    Also, TA is currently independent, AND a site that's focused on iOS games. Why can't they continue doing what they're doing now to bring games to light? They can have a section for indies, or games otherwise lacking any sort of big budget. Say... 1/30th that of large companies or less?

    Folks have been complaining how Mac AppStore needs to allow charging for upgrades. For iOS, some have mentioned they need to do away with the "top x" lists. It really feels like a kiss of death if you're not on there, and given it has only so many slots, it does feel like playing the lottery. Except here, it's hardly as minimal investment as buying a few tickets.
     

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