This week, February 13-20, Apple launched subscription services for applications, meaning that developers must offer an in-app purchase option if they offer an outside-app purchase option, like a newspaper does through its website. For example, if Company A offers a monthly service charge of $10 for its articles, and it has an application on the App Store, it must now offer that same deal for the same price ($10) or less through its iOS application. Here's the catch - that $10 is subject to Apple's 30% commission policy.
"Apple feels as though they are providing lots of new users for these services and Apple wants to be compensated for that. That makes sense. They are providing a service and bringing users to these subscription services, they should be compensated" writes Jeff Scott, Founder of 148Apps. However, he warns that "in the end, it’s going to backfire and we the users are going to lose out" - outlining a number of possible scenarios, one of which is shifting the extra cost of paying commission onto the consumer. So that $10 service would need to rise to $13.33 (30% of $10, plus the original $10) in order for the developer to remain no better or no worse off. And that's not good for consumers.
In other news, the all-time favourite Angry Birds has reached a new App Store peak: 250 non-consecutive days at the number one spot on the biggest application store the world has ever known. The iOS favourite was launched on December 11 2009 and, in less than six months after its conception, reached the number one spot in Apple's App Store on April 27 2010. Bonnie Eisenman's been hard at work, collaborating a myriad of data to produce a pictorial review of its massive success. You can see (and read) all about it right here.
In other news, this week 148Apps awarded NBA Jam Review 4.5 stars as well as the Editor's Choice badge for its excellent gameplay and 5 star graphics. "EA has managed to perfectly recreate the NBA Jam experience on a device that was never designed to handle that volume of visual insanity" writes Blake Grundman. "Every dunk, jumpshot and alley-oop runs smoothly and flawlessly, once again raising the bar for gaming on the platform. There is really no amount of praise that can do this game enough justice. It is simply outstanding."
But there are many who just don't find touch screen gaming an equal substitute. "When it comes to iOS gaming, the biggest complaint that continues to come up is the lack of physical controls. While veteran iOS gamers have gotten used to virtual controls, games still often suffer from not having actual physical buttons and joysticks to use" writes Carter Dotson, who goes on to outline a number of solution for hand-using gamers, such as the Fling, JOYSTICK-IT, iCade and iControlPad.
And to wrap up this week, we've brought back the much-loved Favorite 4 column. This week, Favorite 4 examines "the finest examples of established gaming franchises making appearances on iOS" - Street Fighter IV, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, NBA Jam and PAC-MAN. Episode 72 of The Portable Podcast is also available to download, featuring your host Carter Dotson and special guest Brett Nolan from AppAddict.
I'll leave you this week with a glimpse into the future. It has Telltale Games written all over it.