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900,000 live apps and games
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$10,000,000,000 paid to developers
50,000,000,000 app downloads
5 years since the App Store launch
On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 the App Store will celebrate it’s fifth anniversary. Five years of apps. 50 Billion downloads of well over 900,000 apps and games. To say that the App Store was a sea change would be a bit of an understatement. The impact it has made on the software market is immense.
So, all this week we want to look back on the App Store’s five year history, talk to the movers and shakers, get the insight of the veterans, and maybe even look ahead a bit to see what’s next.
App Store Insiders
We’ve got a full week talking to the biggest App Store insiders, some of the people that have been around since the beginning and have helped shape the App Store into what it is today.
Friday, July 12th:
As our week long look at the App Store turns 5 comes to a close, we have a full list of great interviews and posts to go up.
First up we talk with Keith Shepherd of Imangi, developers of the smash hit Temple Run. It wasn’t always top of the charts for Imangi.
Jamie Gotch is the CEO and co-founder of Subatomic Studios, developers of the great Fieldrunners. We talk with Jamie Gotch about their history in the App Store.
With a 30+ year career in video games, William Volk, COO of Playscreen has more experience in the industry and perspective on the App Store than most.
John Casasanta has never been one to hold back a strong opinion. We find that out in our talk with him, John Casasanta of tap tap tap, maker of Camera+ tells us what he really thinks.
David Frampton, the creator of Chopper and The Blockheads talks about his life on the cutting edge, as one of the first developers to not only be on the App Store, but to later experiment with TV gaming.
Being featured as a Staff Favorite on launch day is a pretty good way to start your mobile app company. Jiva DeVoe tells us about advice that he luckily ignored.
Thursday, July 11th:
Sega was first on the App Store at launch with Super Monkey Ball, a tilt enabled game that still holds up pretty well five years later. We talk with Ethan Einhorn about the App Store launch and how Sega approached the $9.99 launch price.
Jason Citron, co-founder of OpenFeint is one of my favorite people to talk to in the industry. He’s done and seen it all and is always ahead of the curve. Hint: he’s now working on games for core gamers on the iPad.
Gedeon Maheux from Iconfactory shares some interesting thoughts on how a traditional company transitioned onto the App Store.
Rovio launched a little game called Angry Birds onto the App Store in 2009. That little bird flinging game would turn into a multi-billion dollar company with over 1.7 billion downloads, more than any other game in history. We spend a few minutes with Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio to find out their secrets.
EA could be considered the old guard in video games. It’s been around since 1982 yet has successfully transitioned from home console to digital downloads almost completely in the past couple years. Not without issues of course. We talk with Nick Rish, VP of Mobile Publishing for EA about the transition from console to digital.
Doodle Jump is one of the most known games in the world. We talk to Igor Pusenjak about Lima Sky and the App Store.
Wednesday, July 10th:
First up today we have Jani Kahrama of Secret Exit. Secret Exit makes some of the most original games on the App Store, we talk to Jani about adapting to the changes that have taken place in the past five years.
Namco’s Alex Adjadj is one of the few old guard at Namco Bandai Games still around from the launch of the App Store. Alex gives us a very open look at Namcos experience with the App Store.
Kepa Auwae, Rocketcat Games, the long-time developer of pixel art games with their own unique style discusses why their games are so original, and what their future on the App Store will be.
One of the App Store’s most creative minds, Adam Saltsman of Semi Secret Software discusses the impact of his games, his thoughts on current business models, and the future of the App Store.
Tapulous co-founder Mike Lee talks history and responsibility on the App Store 5th anniversary.
Tuesday, July 9th:
Our first interview today is with Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative, creators of Pocket God. We talk with Dave about the serial update model and that not every app needs to be freemium/free to play to make a profit.
Next up we have Ian Marsh of NimbleBit. NimbleBit created the game of the year in 2011 with the massively successful Tiny Tower and they know how to do IAP with the highest percentage of sustained IAP conversion I’ve ever heard of.
Colin Smith, co-founder of Freeverse has a lot to say about the frightening transition Freeverse made from premium to free to play. One that, in the end, didn’t work out too well for Freeverse.
ngmoco:) purchased Freeverse in 2010, just as the free to play ecosystem on iOS was kicking off. Clive Downie, CEO of ngmoco/DeNA West recounts the transition to free to play as one that was the right one for ngmoco.
Monday, July 8th:
We speak with Brian Greenstone of Pangea, possibly the person responsible for driving game prices down to $0.99. Read the article for the full details on that and his inside story of how app prices started out at $9.99 even though Steve Jobs told him they should be lower.
We also speak with Ed Rumley of Chillingo about how Chillingo has approached the App Store and adapted over time.
We’ll have many more interviews throughout the week.
How much have things on the App Store *really* changed over the past five years? A lot, actually. Here’s a quick history.
If you were looking for a needle in a haystack. And that needle is an underrated app in the 900,000 apps in the App Store, Rob has you covered in 10 Unfortunately Underrated Apps on the iOS App Store.
“The App Store was the beginning of a long process that changed who I was and made me the person I am today.” Carter Dotson looks back at five years with the App Store.
There’s a theme here – the App Store allowed Rob Rich to start living the dream and become a freelance writer.
The App Store is a great marketplace, but it has its share of quirks. Here’s what a number of long-time, new, and potential developers think about Apple’s digital venue in Ups and Downs of iOS Publishing.
Rob digs out his Ten Biggest iOS Surprises in a look at some of the apps that have surprised us.
Our writer Jordan Minor talks about how video game journalism means business and how the App Store gave direction to his journalism plans.
Jennifer Allen rounds of a few thoughts from the new kids on the block (no, not the New Kids on the Block), the new developers, the first timers, and the future stars in The New Generation Of iOS Developers Spout Off.
Rob LeFebvre talks about how the App Store gave him the opportunity to do what he wanted to be, a full time writer in Five Years Of The App Store: Rob L’s Career Change, Soul-Search, And More.
Jennifer Allen gives us a heart felt look back at here favorite apps and games from the past five years in Five Years of App Store Favorites.
Rob LeFebvre takes a look at some the Top 20 Landmark Games on iOS. All of these games extended and improved the true state of the art in mobile gaming.
Rob Rich recaps the Best App Ever winners from the past five years in 5 Years Worth of Winners.
Rob LeFebvre takes a look at 10 Landmark Apps released in the past 5 years.
Apple is celebrating the five years of the App Store by giving away five apps and five games, both small screen and iPad versions.
Our friends over at Pocket Gamer are running down their favorite (or favourite) 50 games of the past five years. Here’s part 1: games 50-31, part 2: games 30-11. Pocket Gamer’s top 10 all the way down to number 1 is up now with an interesting pick for number 1. And our friends over at AppSpy have their Top 5 Games from the past 5 years list up now.
Share Your Favorites!
Some of our writers share their favorite apps. Starting out Amy Solomon shares her favorite kids apps. Also favorite apps and games from Carter Dotson, Jen Allen, Rob Rich, and Jeff Scott.
We’d love to know your favorite apps and games. We’re posting some of ours over on the Best App Ever Facebook wall. Please post yours there as well.
Celebrating the App Store’s 5th Anniversary
App Store Insiders
First up, check out the over 20 interviews that Jeff Scott (with a little help from Carter Dotson) did with the App Store’s best and brightest, like this one from Tapulous co-founder, Mike Lee:
148Apps: If you have one single success within the App Store you’d like to highlight, what would it be?
Mike Lee: I’m really excited about the work the New Lemurs are doing. I’ve been trying to blend technology and altruism both on and off the App Store since before it was a thing, with everything from the Club Thievey fundraising drive that linked Mac developers with the Madagascar Fauna Group to the Obama ’08 app to Appsterdam and on into Lemurs Chemistry.
What distinguishes my work now from what I was doing 5 years ago is this: while I’m still focused on providing great products and experiences to people, that has stopped being the end in and of itself. Now I am much more concerned with spreading good memes. My abilities as an App Maker, and my ability to be an example of what kind of apps we should make and what kind of App Makers we should be, have switched seats.
My current obsession is the idea that games would not be a waste of time if they were made based on science. By replacing the arbitrary game mechanics with rules from nature, you end up with games that happen to be educational as a side-effect, instead of trying to gamify education. Lemurs Chemistry is the embodiment of that idea, and it’s the best game I’ve ever produced.
Be sure to read all of the interviews, chock full of insight and info, right here on 148Apps.
It was a special week across the 148Apps network of sites, as we celebrated the App Store’s 5th anniversary with a wealth of original content from our team of reviewers. Take a look at some of their picks for the best apps from the past five years.
In all my time playing iOS games, I’ve never been quite so tempted to buy an in-app purchase as I was while playing Fairway Solitaire. This isn’t because there’s so little content bundled with the free version (there’s enough) but because it’s so addictive that I didn’t want to stop playing. For a game that’s essentially a twist on card game solitaire, this is praise indeed. As the name suggests, Fairway Solitaire is a version of Golf Solitaire, a classic variation on the card game that everyone knows and loves. The difference here is that rather than create suits such as in regular Solitaire, the player must score runs by clearing the card deck using the least amount of moves. Once the pile of cards run out, the par is determined and the player moves onto the next hole. At the end of the course, a star rating out of three is offered as a way of encouraging players to master the stage. –Jennifer Allen
Rage of Bahamut wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It definitely involves collecting cards and battling other players, but it’s more akin to a browser game than what most would consider a “proper” iOS title. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends a lot on personal preference, but anyone willing to look past the clunky interface just might find themselves having a great time. At its core, Rage of Bahamut is all about gathering cards in order to complete quests (or battle other players) in order to get better cards, etc. But that’s just the basics. Quests can be completed in order to acquire treasure, more cards, cash, and experience for whichever card has been designated the Leader. It’s all used as expected (i.e. buying car packs, building a stronger deck, etc), really. –Rob Rich
Disc Drivin’ is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn. There’s a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin’ is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you’ll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem. –Carter Dotson
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon served up her App Store favorites during this week’s fifth anniversary festivities:
Toca Tea Party is a wonderfully creative app from one of my new favorite developers, Toca Boca. This app creates a lovely interactive tea party environment which has become a huge hit with our entire family. This is a wonderful iPad app which simulates a tea party for three, be it a child and two adults, a child and two dolls or stuffed animals, or three toys with the help of little hands. This app has been enjoyed in our house in every conceivable way and I can say that my husband, son, and I all love this application. –Amy Solomon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore is a very special interactive storybook for iPad that is perfectly realized in every way. Strong words, I know, but this app is simply wonderful, poetic and beautiful experience for all ages. Based on the short film of the same name, this ebook has interwoven interactions and other animated visuals that are simply striking for use of imagery that will stay with the reader for a very long time. It is hard really to write this review as I would encourage readers to experience this themselves, as I don’t think my words here will do this app justice. The story is said to be inspired by hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, and the Wizard of Oz equally, and is about a man who is currently writing a book about his life. One day, his world gets turned upside down but is fortunate to later find a library filled with books with flying abilities that need a caregiver. In reality, this app is really about so much more. My son, at 3.5 years, still takes things on face value, and for him, this story book is about the love of reading and the warm embrace books deserve as the protagonist takes care of these flying books as if they are living, breathing things. –Amy Solomon
Beautiful, drop dead gorgeous 3D graphics. Relatively easy controls. Frankly who cares about backstory?
Smash Spin Rage is a game that brings mythical elements to 21st century handheld gaming. It brings to bear murder, the supernatural and an unquenchable desire for revenge. I mostly like the graphics in this one. The colors avidly bring to life the spooky ambiance of the location, with natural light combining and contrasting with shadows at the same time. The animations are smooth, and the supernatural effects worked well. From the opening cutscene to the battles all the way to the creativity of the belligerents, the game looks good. –Tre Lawrence
So many of us cut our gaming teeth on scrolling beat em ups. You know, those games like Fighting Force that gave us the opportunity to graphically beat up hordes of violent thugs. There was usually the simplest of backstory, plenty of swinging limbs and even a weapon or two to procure. Ultimate Stick Fight is in that same glorious vein. Jumps, kicks, punches and tons of people to practice them on. And stick figures. Part of what sets this game apart is the look; instead of regular-looking characters, we get souped up, colorful stick people. Interestingly enough, the developer does well with colorization, and is able to imbibe a good deal of character into the thin guys. The movements and animations were fairly life-like, but kept the whimsical nature that we expect in characters of this genre. When matched with the numerous, creatively diverse backgrounds, it makes a pretty compelling 2D visual feast. –Tre Lawrence
Leaping Legend is an arcade-style infinite climbing/running game. The virtual world is decidedly medieval, with the jittery characters and animations presented in 8-bit retro glory. As noted, all the elements come together to create a game with an arcade feel. The animations are fairly utilitarian, and do the job without being too flashy. If creating a remarkable ode to the past is the goal, I think the developer mostly succeeds admirably. In this one, the higher up one goes the better. Trying to free the fair-haired maiden at the “top” is the goal, and to accomplish this, our protagonist has two parallel walls to run up, as well as the ability to leap from one wall to the other on the quest to the top. This ability to leap is invaluable, as along the way, there are all sorts of run-ending obstacles, ranging from scary looking rotating blades to barrels and plenty of dropping debris. –Tre Lawrence
Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »
How has the App Store impacted my life? Well, if you give a mouse a cookie…
It started when I first decided to give the iPod touch a whirl: I had heard about the App Store launching, and I picked up a discounted first-generation model of the iPod touch as the second-generation launched. I figured, hey, this might be the future, I’m gonna get onboard now. The store was exactly what I expected it to be: a collection of interesting and occasionally odd games from a wide variety of developers. It was, and still is, an endlessly-fascinating world.
Still one of my favorites from the early days of the App Store.
The App Store was also indirectly to blame for me getting hooked on Twitter. Apps like Tweetie from Loren Brichter helped me on my way to become the Twitter addict that I am today, especially once I got an iPhone proper. I’ve met many great friends from Twitter, and most importantly, it’s why I’m here on 148Apps today.
It was through following someone on Twitter who recommended following The Portable Gamer that led me deeper down the rabbit hole. One day, they posted that they were looking for new people to record iCasual segments for them. I took them up on their offer, as I figured, “hey, why not – might be fun to do on the side while getting some free games to play.”
Soon, scripting and recording those audio reviews turned into written reviews. It turned out writing about games was pretty fun, plus, I was halfway-decent at it! I was made managing editor of the site a couple months after I joined, and for the next year, it was a regular part of my life. I got to feel important in helping to arrange and post new content on the site, and even got printed in iPhone Life magazine at one point. That was pretty cool.
A little over a year after joining The Portable Gamer, that was when 148Apps advertised that they were looking for a new paid writer. I decided to go for it. For a while, it was just a hobby, albeit a really cool one.
Eventually, I decided: why not try to make writing my career? I love doing it, it was giving me more of a sense of purpose than my college studies were giving me, and hey: I was already getting paid for it. So I ramped up my game. I spent more time writing for 148Apps. I started looking for other writing gigs, which came through connections and just reaching out for other opportunities, with my work here at 148Apps playing a significant role in proving I could be a good and trustworthy writer.
And a year ago, it finally happened. I was able to support myself on my writing work and I moved to Chicago. It was all thanks to the App Store. Sure, there were a lot of steps in between, but I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if it didn’t exist.
It’s been a pretty sweet ride so far, one that I hope continues on for a long time.
I’ve been in love with video games for over 25 years, ever since the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System. And while the technology has been advancing exponentially ever since, one thing has been constant: my envy of video game reviewers. These were people who were paid to play video games and then write about them. How freaking cool is that??
I idolized everyone who worked for Nintendo Power, IGN, GamePro, EGM, and later Play, Game Informer, OPM, and so on. I’d dreamed of being able to do the same thing myself but it was always one of those “there’s no way, but it would be cool if” kind of dreams. At least until I actually started doing it when I more or less tumbled into writing for Crush! Frag! Destroy!
I’ll never forget the years I spent at CFD! – first as a contributor, then as Managing Editor/website mom. They were instrumental in helping me put together a sizable and diverse body of work that included console, PC, mobile, AAA, and indie games. I got to talk to game developers. I received review copies (FREE review copies) of games like Persona 3 Portable, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect 2. I went to Pax East one year and felt like a friggin’ badass. However it wasn’t until I got myself an iPhone 3GS, crossed my fingers, and sent a resume off to 148Apps that I really started to live the dream.
Much to my amazement I was brought onboard almost immediately as a freelancer. Suddenly I was making money–real money–reviewing video games (and apps). After a few months, a senior writer position opened. Then I crossed my fingers for a second time as I expressed an interest, and was again amazed at how quickly I was given the go-ahead. That was two years ago, and things have only gotten more amazing since then.
Thanks to 148Apps and the existence of the App Store, I’ve been able to write about games (and apps!) to my heart’s content and pay some bills in the process. I’ve been able to meet and interview some great developers, both from the indie scene and from big name studios. I’ve been invited to special press-only preview events. Some developers have come to me specifically so that I can critique (not just review but actually critique) their works in progress. I’ve come to understand and appreciate just how influential, creative, and downright fun iOS games can be. And I’ve made some really great friends that I’ve never actually met in person along the way, too.
If it weren’t for the App Store and 148Apps I honestly have no idea what I’d be doing now. Maybe I’d still be writing gratis while waiting for my big break. Maybe I’d have given up on the dream and focused on something a little more “realistic.” Thankfully I don’t have to worry about any of that because I’m already doing it. And I’m going to keep doing it no matter what.
The App Store has been around for five years, and in that time its library has grown from just under a thousand titles to over a million. Even with so many releases (and more on the way) there are still a fair number of developers – prominent, indie, or otherwise – who haven’t gone near it. Why have some embraced the App Store while others have hesitated? Why are there still so many talented people, whose games would be a great fit for iOS, not releasing their games for the platform? I reached out to a number of developers, some who have and some who haven’t released games on iOS, to try and figure it out.
The Initial Draw
With such a big install base (600 million devices sold and 575 million user accounts) and a unified operating system, it’s only natural for many a developer to find the App Store appealing. Especially if the popularity or puslisher support for certain platforms starts to wane. Daniel Steger of Stegersaurus Games has been doing pretty well on the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace, but lately it’s looking like Microsoft might be pulling the plug on the once indie-friendly venue. “iOS has been seen as one option because it has many consumers and seems to fit the scale of games I enjoy making,” Steger said, “Frameworks like Xamarin’s Monotouch could also make porting my games from XBox to iPhone fairly pain-free which is an added bonus as I could continue creating games for both platforms.”
Daniel Steger/Steger Games
It was the portability and popularity of Apple’s iOS devices that first attracted ISOTX
‘s Jeroen Roding to the App Store. “The iPad is something you have with you all of the time, it is accessible at any given time of the day,” Roding said. “The average revenue per unit is pretty high and the whole shop backend is easy for the users.” It wasn’t just the install base, either. As a developer for Facebook games there was also cross-platform integration to consider that would allow users to “start the game on PC and Mac and finish it while on their tablet,” he said.
Both Marios Karagiannis from Karios Games and independent programmer Suraj Gregory-Kumar attribute their initial interest to the App Store’s popularity as well as Apple’s certification process. According to Karagiannis, “Companies that consider creating casual games for mobile devices cannot really afford to skip the App Store,” since he considers it to be “the biggest, more consistent app store of the 3 major platforms right now.” Gregory-Kumar agrees, but views the situation from a more practical standpoint. “I own an iPhone and wanted to venture in to unknown territory,” said Gregory-Kumar, “but more over it was a way of showing those around me the games I could produce, since the device is portable and easy to show off.”
As for getting apps certified, Karagiannis considers it to be a necessary buffer. “Remember that the lack of any kind of certification means in practice that a VERY large number of apps are utterly useless – including malicious apps.” In other words it’s like the Wild West. However, that also means getting something approved for the App Store can take a little while, as Gregory-Kumar recalls. “The App Store approval process is something which takes a lot of consideration, as the app must meet their strict guidelines, otherwise the app is declined.”
Mike Roush, co-founder of Gaijin Games, has a slightly different perspective on the matter. BIT.TRIP BEAT has been on the App Store since 2010, however he doesn’t feel like they’ve had much involvement in it’s App Store appearance. “I don’t really feel like Gaijin Games made the game, seeing as it was a port of the Wii version.” Roush said, noting that Namco’s involvement with publishing and co-developing the port attributed greatly to his feeling of detachment. He also believes they could take advantage of the shift in App Store shopper preferences from the quick and casual games of the early years to something more complex. “Nowadays,” Roush said, “it seems to me that people are interested in deeper, richer and more polished experiences.”
As appealing as any development platform might be there are always going to be a few aspects that give someone pause. Apple’s certification process, while a welcome buffer for some, becomes an unnecessary barrier for others. Daniel Steger had this exact problem when he attempted to move a few of his Xbox Live Indie Games to iOS. “I spent some time porting my game engine to work with Monotouch,” Steger said, “Unfortunately, after all that time I did not account for Apple’s sensitivity when approving games.” The first game he had attempted to port was rejected three consecutive times; the last of which was anything but constructive or informative. “I was told not to submit the game again, as it would never get approved.”
Jane V./Price Rhythm
He tried to make the best of it by porting two other games, both of which did fairly well on Xbox Live and were, in fact, approved for the App Store, but it just wasn’t enough. “They were quicker ports just trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” he said. Unfortunately, while these games performed well on Xbox Live they didn’t even come close to recouping the time and money spent porting them to iOS in the first place. He’s been understandably hesitant to port any other projects ever since. Jane V from Price Rhythm
was also initially put off by the approval process. “I am holding myself from developing games because I believe that in order to succeed in it and make the “killer” game, you have to make it really beautiful and engaging.” She said, “This requires a lot of graphical capabilities, marketing budgets and etc that a lot of indie developers just don’t have.”
Marios Karagiannis/Karios Games
Jeroen Roding, Marios Karagiannis, and Suraj Gregory-Kumar, on the other hand, were more concerned about the development tools themselves. Gregory-Kumar wasn’t much of a Mac user initially and was also worried about budgeting on top of his unfamiliarity. “Fortunately, my husband is an Apple fan so his Mac came in handy.” Gregory-Kumar said, “With the Unreal Engine you need a windows machine to install the software, and a mac to submit it, so developing using this process without the technology would prove costly.” Roding, on the other hand, was limited to his prior experience with developing browser-based games. “We didn’t really have the experience at the time to get our game functioning on iOS.” Roding said, “Now we are working with scaleform and Unity in order to get the game running smoothly on iOS and retaining the same value on PC and Mac.”
Marios Karagiannis, however, has had a fair bit of experience in designing for mobile ever since 2011. Although it was for Windows Phone. A platform he picked mostly due to the accessible development tools. “XNA was providing (at the time) an excellent game development framework for indies and Microsoft was really pushing for the platforms, which gave me a lot of perks.” He was also a little preoccupied at the time, what with pursuing his PhD and all. “Revenue as well as user acquisition was not my number one priority,” Karagiannis said, “I opted for having fun creating my games while making them available through a number of people through a centralized store at the same time.”
Mike Roush was mostly concerned about he and his team’s extensive background in console development, as mobile platforms are something of a different beast. The App Store is also a fairly unpredictable marketplace. “If we invest a significant amount of money into an iOS project and it doesn’t hit, then we are in trouble.” Roush said. There was also a lot less pressure for their games to succeed because they were a much smaller studio at first. “We had no fear of failing because our office burn-rate was around $1000.00. We didn’t really have much to lose and we could function on very little.”
Even though they’ve had issues or reservations in the past, everyone agrees that there are some qualities the App Store possesses that made (or will make) it worth the effort. Even Daniel Steger hasn’t totally written off Apple’s mobile platforms. “I wouldn’t say an attempt to return to iOS is out of the question,” Steger said, “but there are a few places that take priority because of my experiences.” He’s been attempting to use Steam Greenlight to release his most recent project, Mount Your Friends, on PC and has been eyeing Google Play for another go at mobile devices. He’d still be willing to give Apple another shot, however. “If I heard Apple was being more transparent now on their review criteria, or heard that my old, rejected submission to the app store would be considered today by Apple that may influence a return.” Suraj Gregory-Kumar is simply looking forward to more time to learn, and hopes that Apple eventually opens up iOS to other development tools. “It would be easier being able to use a windows machine to develop for Apple (using Xcode/Objective-C),” he said.
Mike Roush/Gaijin Games
Marios Karagiannis and Jeroen Roding are pretty much on-board already thanks to Apple’s install base. Since finishing his PhD last December, Karagiannis Has found that his priorities have been changing. “App Store users seem to be willing to pay more than Android users.” His biggest theory on this phenomenon has to do with the install base on Android versus iOS. “While on paper Android users are many more,” Karagiannis said, “the average Android user uses an old device and is used to getting all of their apps for free.” Of course a similar case could be made against iOS users, but there definitely seems to be a more universal acceptance of $0.99 releases on the App Store. Roding is more interested in the number of iOS users rather than the particulars of the App Store’s economics. “From a marketing point of view we really liked the average revenue per unit and the fact that we can reach a larger audience.” Roding said, “Also looking at the numbers for PC gamers having access to or owning a tablet are really good, around 30% of the PC gamers now owns a tablet.”
Karagiannis concurred. “Apple’s ecosystem proved to be quite robust and iOS as a gaming platform seems to be one step away from being the most successful gaming platform at the moment, including game consoles and PCs,” Karagiannis said. Mike Roush feels the same way, and has high hopes for Gaijin Games on the App Store. “We are actually working on the iOS version of Runner2 (it’s super amazing btw). I would be willing to bet, from here on out, every game we make will be on an iOS device.” Roush said, “You just can’t argue with the number of iOS units currently in the hands of people.”
When talking about the impact Apple’s App Store has had on people during the last five years it’s easy to just rattle off the numbers. But its influence goes beyond the hundreds of thousands of apps and the billions of downloads. Technology can simultaneously change the lives of entire populations and lowly individuals, individuals like me. The App Store has opened up opportunities for me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, all while making me better at it.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for writing and a passion for video games. Naturally, video game journalism seemed like the best career to pursue because it allowed me to easily combine the two. In 2007, just as I was settling into high school, I started practicing my craft on tiny fan sites about big games most players had already made up their minds about.
In 2009, though, as App Store games and the sites that covered them were coming into their own, I saw the chance to really get serious about this strange path I was on. With so many games to choose from, players were actually in need of advice. App Store coverage was a growing segment of games journalism that could really help people, so it seemed as good a place as any to launch my career. From 2009 to 2010 I wrote for SlidetoPlay.com and in 2011 I made the jump here to 148Apps. Writing about the App Store these past four years has undoubtedly driven me to strengthen my writing and provide quality analysis, although there are definitely improvements still to be made. I’m incredibly grateful for the editors who have had faith in me and my work.
Reviewing over 150 games for 148Apps alone has also given me a greater understanding of video games as a whole. At least, I’d like to think so. Playing all of the different kinds of games on the platform, no matter how good, bad or crazy experimental, while trying to articulate how and why they do or don’t work has been an immensely beneficial intellectual endeavor. Video game criticism has the potential to be more than just simple purchasing advice. Like games themselves, the writing can become a true art form. As the App Store evolves, its role in gaming is increasing. By highlighting these smaller App Store games I’m hoping to make whatever tiny contribution I can to the larger field. These games can be reviewed on their own terms, without worrying about having to conform to some AAA gaming consensus or fandom pressure and that’s what makes them so special.
Of course, what also make the App Store so special are the people behind it. To get a better understanding of the industry, I’ve recently been trying to talk with more developers and other members of the press. Before leaving Chicago and coming back home for the summer, I had dinner with Tom Eastman of Trinket Studios, creators of Color Sheep, and drinks with 148Apps’ own Carter Dotson in the same week. Both experiences were great. The App Store itself may just be a cold, technological service set up by a massive corporation, but the communities of developers and writers that have come together because of it more than proves its value.
At just five years old, though, the App Store still has a bright future ahead of it. As I prepare to enter my last year of journalism school, I can’t wait to see what that future is and start covering it as a true professional. Writing about games is important to me and that’s not changing any time soon. So thank you App Store, 148Apps, and the wonderful people behind them both for helping me make my insanely frivolous dream an insanely meaningful reality.
Five years ago, I was eight years into a job that took me around Alaska via bush plane, working with kids with severe disabilities out in rural communities around the state. I was burning out, hard.
At the same time, I had just co-founded a site called GamesAreEvil (still active today!), a video game news and reviews site. We were starting to see some traction from publishers and PR folks, as they began to send us games to review without us begging them for a copy.
Then July 2008 hit and the App Store happened. We totally ignored it, being the snobbish console and handheld gamers that we were. As games trickled out, we started covering them because, hey, it was super easy for developers to send us their games, and, heck, these guys were pretty nice to boot.
Once 2009 rolled around, I launched The Portable Gamer (now a part of the 148Apps network) and started reviewing iOS and handheld games (Sony PSP, Nintendo DS) exclusively. The App Store continued to grow, as did we. Soon, we were reviewing and reporting on iOS exclusively. There just were that many games.
My day job, in the meantime, was increasingly frustrating. I kept getting raises (yay!) but wasn’t really doing much innovative work (boo!); in addition, I wasn’t seeing much impact of my work with kids. The burnout continued apace with my paycheck increases, and I felt worse and worse every day. I began to look forward to locking myself in my home office and writing for free every evening (when I wasn’t traveling). Looking back, I wish I’d seen the writing on the wall sooner.
As time moved on, I went to my first Game Developers Conference. I met 148Apps founder Jeff Scott there, and it turned out we had a lot in common (beer, old age). We worked together a bit, him helping me with coding things, me fawning all over him and promising to send beer that I never was able to find.
The following year, I said to him (over a beer), “Hey, you need an editor. Why not bring me on part time, see how it works out.”
That was in 2010. I’ve been here ever since.
It’s 2013, and I’ve just quit my day job to devote all of my time to writing. Mostly about the App Store, iOS, and Apple.
Without the App Store, I’d never have had the ability as a tiny site owner to practice and fail at writing, editing, and running a site.
Without the App Store, I’d never have gotten better at doing those things.
Without the App Store, no one would have wanted to hire me, let alone put me in charge of a ton of freelance writers and a crapload of content every day.
Without the App Store, I’d probably still be making a lot of money, and still be incredibly unhappy.
So, thanks Apple. Thanks App Store. Thanks GamesAreEvil and ThePortableGamer. Thanks Jeff and 148Apps. You all have made me a much better person, a much better writer, and–ultimately–a much better human being.
Adam Saltsman is one of the most talented, intelligent, and opinionated developers working on the App Store nowadays. He’s worked on a selection of titles on the App Store as diverse as the influential endless runner Canabalt to the abstract touchscreen game Hundreds. However, there are reasons why he thinks Canabalt isn’t quite as influential as it appears to be, and his concerns about the future of the App Stores and the indies working on it.
148Apps: Canabalt remains one of the most influential games on the App Store as one of the first high-profile endless runners, and the one that seemingly sparked a million more games. What do you think of the game’s legacy, though? Do you see it in similar terms?
Adam Saltsman: So the funny thing about Canabalt to me is that it hasn’t sold as well as a lot of people think. We’ve probably sold maybe 250,000 or 300,000 copies or something, and a lot of those were during sales over the last few years combined. That’s nothing to laugh at, and I’m super thankful and grateful for that response from people, but I think the game had a bigger impact on journalists and other game developers than it did on the general public. Not to mention the hordes of games inspired by the games that Canabalt seems to have inspired, which probably outnumber Canabalt’s direct influences by a few orders of magnitude!
It’s important to remember that lots of games influenced Canabalt too, though, as well as Wurdle. These were not things created in a vacuum! All the same I could not be happier with Canabalt’s reception and impact. It feels like a huge honor, all the time, forever.
148Apps: The way that developers make money within the App Store has definitely shifted in the past 5 years, yet you have remained an outspoken critic of the way that many games use in-app purchases. Why is that? Has your position shifted at all over the last few years?
Saltsman: I don’t think my position has changed much. Most of the approaches to IAP or “free to play” style designs that are deployed on the App Store, especially in financially successful games, remain fairly corrupt or coercive in a way that makes me pretty uncomfortable. Some of these approaches have actually been outlawed in Japan, so I don’t think their coercive nature is completely imaginary. These approaches have even become formalized enough to have actual names (treadmills, energy systems, tight loops, etc).
I think players in general are at least slightly more aware of these systems. This is important, especially for kids. Many of these games still target children with schemes like “give us $5 or your virtual fish will DIE.” It’s good for people to understand that a “game” on their phone might operate that way.
But also there have been games with large IAP components that don’t really feel particularly coercive, like ShellRazer, which I think is cool. These games actually speak to the promise of IAP and F2P as a way of engaging a broader or different type of audience in different ways. These games are very definitely the exception to the rule, though.
148Apps: What do you think about the viability of the App Store over the next five years? Will there be any changes, or any directions that you would like to see the marketplace go in?
Saltsman: The App Store to me seems to really strongly favor a particular kind of approach (if you don’t do IAP of course), which we used on Hundreds. This approach goes something like this: “work on the game in relative secrecy for like 1–2 years, then launch it and hope it gets featured and impresses everybody enough to get the critical mass you need to get good word of mouth and a good long tail in the future.”
As a member of a small team, and somebody with a growing family, this approach freaks me out pretty bad, and there are a lot of platforms (especially PC/Mac) where you don’t have to take that kind of crazy all-or-nothing path. I would love it if the App Store could support preorders, and bundles, and a lot of these other things that help sustain small teams through risky development on other platforms.
On top of that, launching on the App Store first places certain price limits on your work in some people’s minds, and selling at a higher price point on other platforms later can be a challenge. For small teams, it seems like designing for PC/Mac first, with potentially touch-screen friendly controls in mind (e.g. favoring the mouse over gamepads), is a really superior way to approach things, from a business and tech perspective.
In the “old days” (ha ha!) it felt like you could just think up a real good game for the only model of iPhone/iPod Touch that actually existed, build it in a reasonable period of time, and kind of blow people’s minds. Prices weren’t quite as low back then either. It’s totally natural and understandable that those early successes would draw in more competition, but at this point, as a small team of 2 or 3, you have to be pretty receptive to the idea that you are up against teams of 10 or 12, with 1–2 years of publisher-backed runway. You can still compete, indies can ALWAYS compete…but if you are trying to make games commercially and take care of your family, you have to be cognizant of these things, and more considered in your approach in the future.
Thanks to Adam Saltsman for his time; it’s always a pleasure.
Over the past five years, many thousands of developers have tried their luck in creating the next big hit for iOS gamers. While some were there right from the beginning, others have found success in only the last couple of years. I took the time to chat to four relatively recently successful developers to find out exactly why they were so interested in pursuing the App Store route, and how they’ve found the experience so far.
“First and foremost it was the ease of development and getting things…running quickly, with no development kits and long processes of approval,” explained Simon Flesser of Simogo (most famous for the rather exceptionally spooky Year Walk). “That coupled with us being interested in the iPhone as a gaming platform and the different features it provides, touchscreen interaction, motion controls, constant internet connection…”
Simogo’s Year Walk
Barry Meade of Fireproof Studios (makers of BAFTA award winning The Room) had similar views: “As a small team with little resources to draw on, the fact you could self-publish on the App Store was a huge enabler for us…The Room might never have been made if we’d had to rely on a publisher as it was a bit too unusual…they would not have believed in the game like we did.” As he pointed out, “the App Store allowed a team from nowhere to make a small game and see big success.”
The Room‘s Fireproof Games is one such team made up of ex-AAA developers, with the studio formed by six ex-lead artists from Criterion Games’ Burnout franchise. Similarly, Warhammer Quest‘s Rodeo Games came from such a background. Formed from executives previously working for the likes of EA, Lionhead, Criterion and Codemasters, Rodeo Games were provided the opportunity to pursue something new, thanks to the App Store.
“Well, we’d been in the AAA games industry for many years and had been talking about how to take steps in setting up our own company. The App Store was just flourishing at the time. It was this awesome, new, bold place for smaller dev teams to put their games in-front of a huge audience. So we crafted a plan with the mindset of making the very best turn based strategy games on iOS, and Rodeo Games was the result,” Ben Murch, co-founder, explained.
Fireproof Games’s The Room
Neil Rennison of Fighting Fantasy developer, Tin Man Games, enjoyed a similar revelatory moment, after a move to Australia, gave him the chance of starting his own indie development studio, just as the iPhone and the App Store came to fruition: “I was originally running a small games art outsource company in the UK and then…I…moved to Australia with the dreams of starting my own indie and making my own titles instead of working on other people’s games.”
How different do they all think things would be if the App Store didn’t exist, though? “Very! Certain types of business models and certain types of games would probably not exist without the App Store,” Simon reckoned. Ben offered similar views, although noted the loss of the “middle tier” of gaming: “The gaming world would be a very different place right now. Just think about how many small companies and jobs have been created just from iOS gaming alone. Before the App Store, there was this surge towards “middle tier” gaming, i.e. titles coming out in the £10 – £20 bracket. I guess that market would have grown more and become an eco-system in itself. However, thanks to the App Store, creators who were interested in that model shifted into the mobile market, effectively crippling the whole “middle tier” gaming sector.”
Rodeo Games’s Warhammer Quest
Mention was also made, by Neil, of the fragmentation of the mobile phone operator universe, something that was a significant problem before the advent of the App Store. “Apple’s stock would be worth a lot less”, noted Barry. All quite rightly pointed out that none of them would be in the position they’re in today, if it wasn’t for the ease of the App Store.
For the most part, all four of our interviewees were very positive about the App Store’s impact. Each citing how it’s “paved the way for many small developers”, as Simon eloquently put it, and enabled them to try riskier material. As Ben pointed out, “Without the App Store, it would be nigh on impossible to get your strange little game idea in front of….well, thousands of people would be a struggle. Suddenly, anyone can release something that has exposure to HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of potential buyers. Just thinking about that blows my mind.”
Financial barriers are also lowered, as Barry explained: “The relative cheapness of mobile games development allows niche ideas to thrive.” Neil reinforced that point, citing how the games industry “was slowly becoming a bloated AAA only console game market and traditional game developers were beginning to struggle as the mid-point of the market was getting squeezed. The app revolution helped give developers options and in a way created its own new market in which everyone had the same opportunities from the big publishers to the lone bedroom coder…[it] was a perfect springboard for budding entrepreneurial devs like us.”
Tin Man Games’s Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom
Simon was slightly more cautious, enjoying the risks that were possible to take, but also citing how it’s “paved the way for some very questionable money-grabbing schemes… the market place has been somewhat flooded with low-quality software. It might have lowered the quality bar for what is considered to be a release-able piece software.”
That’s clearly a thought that runs through each of the developers’ minds, given that each recommends changes that make it easier to find good apps and games. Ben would appreciate a better quality Related Apps section and a twist on the Genius section, “Some form of “We recommend these Apps for you based on what you’ve downloaded already” type thing.” Discoverability is a big thing for Barry too, “There should be a lot more ways to format the lists of games when browsing the store. A chart by user rating is very needed for those smaller companies who make great games but get buried by the marketing clout of richer but arguably less skilful publishers.”
Higher “quality control” is an important wish for Simon, while Neil would appreciate a way to reply to App Store reviewers.
Rodeo Games’s Hunters 2
For the most part, though, all four developers were, understandably, happy with how the App Store is performing, both in terms of business and personal use.
“I think Apple does a marvellous job at finding and promoting good games. It’s so nice that they can give small developers, such as us, a big spotlight if they find something that is good…it’s almost…unbelievable that something as strange as Year Walk can get the same type of exposure as a mainstream game from a big publisher,” beamed Simon.
The “open territory” of the Store was appreciated by Barry, also, “You can upload a game to the store and be published in 150 countries within 24 hours – this is really quite incredible when you compare it with how difficult it was to get a game onto other platforms only a few years ago. It’s pretty much a revolution in terms of enabling creativity,” with Neil offering similar views.
Simogo’s Bumpy Road
As a consumer, it’s also proved quite the hit with Ben pointing out, “it’s that feeling of being able to browse a huge catalogue of games from your sofa, eventually finding something that’s right up your street. They have great landing pages in the App Store making it easy to find great games that you may not have heard of previously.” Neil appreciated the vast wealth of games, too, “it’s enabled me to play games that I haven’t played in over 20 years and also experience new innovative game designs from some truly talented people that wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to shine.”
While it’s clear that the App Store isn’t perfect, mostly in terms of offering great visibility to the titles that deserve it, these four developers have clearly found it an overwhelmingly useful experience. Each of them, from different backgrounds, have found great and deserved success, highlighting the best of what can come out of the App Store in terms of original efforts.
We’re certainly fascinated to see what will come next from these relatively new developers, part of the next generation of exciting game makers.
Thanks to Simon Flesser, Ben Murch, Barry Meade and Neil Rennison for taking the time to answer our questions.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games
Released: 2013-05-30 :: Category: Games
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-09-19 :: Category: Games
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-06-11 :: Category: Games
Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what’s so great about a device and service that you can’t imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It’s given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here’s a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it’s all been for me.
Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I’d had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn’t feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It’s hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn’t show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.
Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!
Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I’ve used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.
A career path: It’s a pretty significant one, but if it wasn’t for the App Store, I wouldn’t be writing this. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It’s changed my life for the better. It’s been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I’m immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.
The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven’t yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That’s got to be a good thing for creativity, right?
Beloved Apps and Missed Titles
Favorites: I’ve struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it’s practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.
Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.
Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I’ve played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble’s use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.
It’s been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring. It’s looking like a pretty rosy future to me!
Posted by Peter Willington
on July 9th, 2013
Celebrate the App Store’s birthday with us — share your favorite apps and games on Facebook.
It’s hard to believe that just half a decade ago, apps weren’t a “thing”. If you wanted to game on the go, or be productive while mobile, your choices were few, you were usually limited to the in-built software for your phone. With apps though, pretty much anything’s now possible. You can use your phone to write documents, find recipes, DJ, play all manner of games, oh yeah, and call and text.
So with this in mind, we’re celebrating this landmark along with our friends at Pocket Gamer, PocketGamer.biz, AppSpy and beyond, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Page. Our editors and regular contributors will be documenting their five favorite apps and games of the last five years, along with their hopes for the App Store in the future.
We’d love for you to be a part of it too. Share your favorite five games, and your wishes for the store moving forward, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Wall.
via: Best App Ever at Facebook
Update: 11:00am The time that Apple took the original 10 free apps live has come and gone. Perhaps this isn’t an Apple promotion after all. But, it’s still some great free, and historic apps.
We told you Sunday of the first round of apps and games set free in celebration of the App Store 5th Anniversary. Early indications look like Apple is about to swap those out for 10 new apps and games as the following have just gone free.
- price returned to $4.99, was on sale for FREE!
Make sure you head here and grab the first round too, if you haven’t already. There’s a chance they could go back to paid soon.
Posted by Andrew Stevens
on July 8th, 2013
Apple is celebrating five years of the App Store by giving away five of the best games and apps. For a limited time, to celebrate the five year anniversary, you can download Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings HD, and Where’s My Water? for free. Also, the following apps have been made available for free to download; Barefoot World Atlas, Day One (Journal/Diary), How to Cook Everything, Over, and Traktor DJ. That’s a pretty sweet deal and a nice way to celebrate!
The App Store turns five this week, and we’ll be taking a long look back at this disruptive force in the way we use our mobile devices. Back in 2008, when the App Store launched, we had no idea how far it would come in such a short time, but hindsight is a good thing.
During that time, there have been a ton of apps that changed and improved the state of the art. Here, then, are ten that we think really matter, apps that had an effect on our lives, even now. Apps that changed the landscape of what we expected from a mobile device, and gave us new ways of interacting, sharing, and understanding our world.
The grandaddy of social image sharing, Instagram created, with an ease of use and pretty image filters, a whole new social network based on images. In an era of Facebook (who eventually bought the service) and Twitter, that was no small feat.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-10-06 :: Category: Photography
While derided as a possible porn-chat app, Snapchat took a single idea and refined it to a razor’s edge: take a picture, caption it, and share with your friends. Then, zen-like, that picture disappears. The hidden potential in this app caught on with young and old alike, changing the way we communicated with pictures. Without an archive, Snapchat lets users freely share what they might not otherwise.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-07-13 :: Category: Photography
Here’s an app that allows anyone on any platform to exchange messages with anyone else on any other platform. In a world where you’re just as likely to have friends using Android or Blackberry as iOS, this was a revelation. Many other apps tried something similar, but Whatsapp has the userbase and an easy to use, intuitive app that brought it to the forefront. Now we can stay in touch with all our friends and family, regardless of platform, for free.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-04 :: Category: Social Networking
The photographer’s photography app, Camera+ fairly invented iPhoneography, letting iPhone users capture and edit better photos than the built in app with ease. Since its launch, the app has kept pace with upgrades in technology and the camera lenses in each iteration of iPhone, empowering real photographers and talented amateurs alike. Heck, they even pioneered using the volume button as a shutter release, until Apple shut that down, only to use it in the built-in Camera app.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-06-07 :: Category: Photography
Before Google Drive, before iCloud, there was Dropbox, a service that mirrors your documents across computers with a simple, unified login. The Dropbox app on the iPhone took the same, intuitive simplicity and allowed us all to access and edit the same documents on the go as easily as doing so on our Macs and PCs.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-29 :: Category: Productivity
Take notes, save pictures, record audio, bookmark websites. Do this on any device you own: Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android. Evernote has become the de facto standard for network-connected note taking, and much more. You can use this app to write a shopping list on your computer, and then pull it up on your iPhone while at the store. You can collaborate with others on documents, sharing notes and notebooks with ease.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Productivity
Ever been in the car when a song comes up on the radio and you just can’t remember the artist that performed it? Hold your iPhone up, launch Shazam, and let the app magically recognize the music, returning the artist name, album, and easy-purchase buttons for the iTunes store. Newer features include movie preview recognition with links to more information, and television ads that, when recognized, provide links to vendor websites. It’s magical technology at its best.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Music
Marco Arment created Instapaper as a basic web app, single handedly creating the “read it later” market that many other apps now compete for. Arment started the service in 2008, built the iPhone app himself, and saw the service grow far beyond his initial vision. He’s subsequently sold the app to another company, who promise to maintain and improve it as we continue forward.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-08-21 :: Category: News
Waze was one of the first social mapping and traffic app, allowing users to share road conditions with each other while on the go. It may be one of the most unappreciated apps on this list, but it continues to serve a loyal and vocal user base, providing real-time help from users to help us all plan the best route possible.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-08-01 :: Category: Navigation
The check-in craze started here, with Foursquare. Becoming the mayor of a location, along with various gamification features, provided a stickiness not seen before the apps release. Even with privacy concerns dogging its every step, Foursquare has managed to remain in the public imagination as the way to let our friends know where we are at any given time.
Released: 2009-03-27 :: Category: Travel
RSS is great, as are Twitter and Facebook feeds. But what we really want is a place to see all of those things at once, published in a slick, easy to use layout. Enter Flipboard, still the best darn social news reader around. It makes the various web sites and social feeds we all rely on much prettier and interesting to look at, letting us keep up to date without having to dip into several different apps to do so.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-07-21 :: Category: News
Founded as a streaming internet radio service on the web, Pandora made the transition to iOS brilliantly, becoming a force to reckon with in the competitive streaming music market, as well as a household name known by one and all. While other services continue to chip away at the venerable service, offering on-demand music access, Pandora continues to be the music access app of choice on iOS devices everywhere.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Music
Can’t decide where to eat? Shake your iPhone and Urbanspoon will randomly choose a restaurant nearby that matches your criteria of price, cuisine, and distance. Released in August of 2008, Urbanspoon was the first app on the App Store to combine GPS location data with a database of local dining and drinking establishments, creating a loyal community that reviewed meals, restaurants, and service for other users.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category:
We met with Thomas Konkol today, an indie developer who runs Imminent Games. Drip Drip, originally released on the Mac App Store, is coming to the iPad within the next few months. The game looks great, and the touch-screen really seems to be a great fit for this rain-management game.
Your App Authority
Having trouble making sense out of the overwhelming number of apps released each week? Have no fear! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
I’ve never really been one for taking video with my phone, mostly because of storage space. I also like to mess around with the videos that I do take, and straight-up iOS video doesn’t really give me that opportunity. With an app like VideoGrade, however, I might start using the feature a lot more often. VideoGrade is probably easiest to describe as Instagram for video clips. Users can make all sorts of adjustments from Brightness to Vignettes, and even cut down their video if they so desire. They just have to allow access to their Camera Roll, pick what they want, and start editing. Most values are adjusted via sliders that can be set back to the default at any point if a mistake is ever made and once everything is good to go users just have to save the new clip and they’re done. –Rob Rich
Tin Man Games has done a fantastic job lately, of bringing the Fighting Fantasy experience to iOS. Now, it’s the turn of a different studio, Inkle. Bringing Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! to iOS is quite the undertaking given the mini-series encompasses four books, but if the first book is anything to go by, this is going to be quite the collection. Don’t expect an experience in which players flick through the book’s pages. Sorcery! isn’t like that. Feeling more like a crossover of a board game and an interactive novel, players are presented with a beautiful hand-drawn map as they drag their character’s pawn through the ever dangerous world contained within. Choices are dictated through a series of blue flags, indicating what can be done, rather than simple text. –Jennifer Allen
Circles Memory Game is a lot like the popular ‘80s game, Simon, if it were reproduced for iOS today. It’s a beautiful and challenging game that’s almost impossible to put down for too long. Players are presented with a clean and polished interface. There are four ways to play: practice, levels, top score and multi-player. It’s best to start with practice to get a feel for things. In practice, gamers can select up to six different colored circles. The idea behind the gameplay is simple. Players watch a sequence of circles light up and play a sound. That sequence must then be repeated. Every turn adds a new part to the sequence and players keep at it until they make a mistake. –Angela LaFollette
Hot on the heels of content creation app, Stampsy, Flowboard is quite the revelation in making it easy to tell a photo story or present a portfolio of work. As simple as it sounds, users can just pick out a template before adding pictures, videos, text and web links to their content. More advanced users can opt to create their own template from scratch. It’s the kind of interface that’s reminiscent of desktop publishing tools of old, but with a much more intuitive touch based set of controls. –Jennifer Allen
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:
Readers and fans of Spinlight Studio may be familiar with an app of theirs from last year, the memorable YodelOh – a wonderful take on the classic shooting gallery-style game taking place in the Swiss Alps. This is a game that my son, although far from mastering, really enjoys playing and although it is not specifically an app with a high educational value, I am happy for my son to use his screen time playing this game as the look of this app is lovely and fun as well as being great for his reflexes and hand/eye coordination. Because of this, I am very happy to let readers know about Spinlight Studio’s new app, YodelOh Math Mountain, with much of the same game play as their original app… –Amy Solomon
When I first read about the app Little Dead Riding Hood, I assumed that it was a novelty platformer with zombie elements, as these types of apps can easily be found in iTunes, typically devoid of any educational value.
I am so very happy that I gave this app a closer look because my assumptions were totally wrong, as Little Dead Riding Hood is an interactive storybook app with both English and Spanish translations included as well as the highest of production values – a refreshing tale on this classic story of Little Red Riding Hood. Although I highly recommend this app, this recommendation is a qualified one… –Amy Solomon
I am quite pleased to let readers know about Fairytale Maze 123, the third in a series of Maze apps by GiggleUp. My son and I are huge fans of these mazes, as they are the ones chosen by my son to work with over and over again. He was tickled pink to explore Fairytale Maze 123, as this app weaves wonderful fairytale elements within, including oftentimes iconic characters as well as other details my son simply adores. –Amy Solomon
Tennis in the Face is a morality tale about tennis, energy drinks and the curiously-named Pete Pagassi. In my quest to free society from the debilitating addiction to Explodz that destroyed my promising career as a tennis pro, I used my racquet to defeat hordes of platformed folks with different attributes. The action was leveled and fast paced; Pagassi was armed with a racquet and balls, had to take out different types of opponents by making use of ricochets to get into tight spaces and to avoid deadening obstacles. To put the ball in play, I simply used a finger to draw a path in a straight line to where I wanted it to head to. Basically, I wanted to take out the caffeinated drones out with point-garnering strikes to the body, with extra bounties paid for head shots. –Tre Lawrence
Chicago’s bubbling-under indie scene has seen some Kickstarter success, and the latest project to come up from the Windy City is Dan FitzGerald and Lisa Bromiel’s Dog Sled Saga. This is a cross-platform arcade dog-mushing game. Ever play that before? Well, they’re looking to raise funding for the game’s development via Kickstarter to make this idea a reality. The core gameplay involves tossing food to the team of four dogs to keep them at their peak performance in order to do well in the mushing competitions that are entered. It’s a simple control scheme to use, just tap and hold to control the angle the food will be launched at, but doing this effectively at a continuous rate will be the challenge. –Carter Dotson
Fish Tails was a fun game that I stumbled upon while reviewing Green Throttle Bluetooth Controller. In this side scrolling aquamarine game, I got to guide my adventuresome koi fish on gold collecting errand. The game made me think of arcade games, with its soft color schemes that made up the background. Visually, it was made up of mostly stills; the animations were not groundbreaking, but they worked. Air was air, water was water and little ambiguity existed. The extras, like fish and birds, were utilitarian in looks and movements. –Tre Lawrence
Posted by Andrew Stevens
on April 9th, 2013
Over the weekend, AppGratis, the popular app promotion app with over 12 million downloads, was pulled from the App Store by Apple. It was originally thought that it violated the rules Apple has in place to keep apps from looking too much like the App Store, the 2.25 clause. Yesterday All Things D heard from Apple that it did indeed violate this rule as well as a rule that prohibited commercial use of push notifications.
Today, AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlett tells the AppGratis side of the story.
Dawlett says that he is shocked by the actions Apple has taken against his company due to the fact that AppGratis had cleared some of the rule violations with App Store reviewers prior to being taken down. This included a new iPad version of the app that was approved a few days before the takedown. However, Dawlett notes that it was a new Apple employee that he’s never heard of that made the decision to take down the app for breaking rules, even though they had worked around some of them before. This shows how fine of a line AppGratis was previously walking.
Apple made a decision to do what’s best for the App Store and its ecosystem rather than what’s best for AppGratis. This could be because AppGratis had impact on the the AppStore as their app was able to push almost any download to number 1 on the free charts. Apple probably didn’t like seeing them, or any company, have that type of power over the App Store and sell the service to do so. Most likely, Apple brought in a rule enforcer to take care of the problem.
Dawlett also reassures AppGratis customers (and investors) that the service continues to work. “Our iOS apps may have been unavailable now for a few days,” he wrote, “but at the same time, a few million free apps have been downloaded through AppGratis since last Friday. So for now, it’s business as usual in AppGratis’s world.”
Image: The Next Web
This week at 148Apps.com all eyes were still pointed at Firemint’s upcoming Real Racing 3. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.
Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.”
Want more? Read more at 148Apps.
GiggleApps.com writer Amy Solomon contributed a review of Whack A Bone: “Whack A Bone is a wonderful app for iPad that is truly an educational delight, teaching about the anatomy of bones found in the human body.
Nicely sectioned into groups, users will learn about the bones that make up one’s core, such as cranium, sternum or vertebrae which is grouped here into three different categories – cervical, thoracic and lumbar, as well as the arm and leg bones, each consisting of its own section as well.
To play this pirate-themed anatomy game, place the bones from the different sections back to their rightful places inside a skeleton with the direction of a talking parrot whose attitude kids will find witty and fun.”
Read all about Whack A Bone at GiggleApps.
$2.99 iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-11-27 :: Category: Education
And what week would be complete without a KickStarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. This week, writer Joseph Bertolini focuses on Freedom Planet: “It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.”
Follow up on this Kickstarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.
Another week down, but another one right around the corner! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did! See you next week.
The App Store can be a wonderful place full of far too many games to count spread across every genre imaginable. However, despite all the rules and regulations for submissions, a few shady characters will inevitably fall through the cracks. In my numerous App Store searches I’ve seen my fair share of cash-grabs, some obvious and some not so much, but I’ve also begun to notice a few telltale signs that can be a good indication of a developer’s intentions.
This guide is not written in stone, and there are always exceptions to every rule. And I in no way mean to imply that the majority of App Store developers are simply out to con the unwary out of their money. Quite the contrary. Most of them are great folks who are just trying to make an honest dollar doing what they love and making other people happy. I only wish to pass a few tips along in the hopes that it may give you all a better idea of some of the things to look out for.
Tip #1 – Judging a game by its icon
Not all icons can be winners. That being said, if you see an icon featuring a recognizable character or a recognizable character who’s been slightly tweaked so they look a little different, proceed with caution. Using an icon that looks incredibly similar to a top selling iOS (even PC or console) game is a tactic often used to trick potential buyers.
Tip #2 – Check the screen shots
Screen shots are another good indication of legitimacy. They won’t all feature showpiece visuals but they still need to be there. If a game only has one or two screens available for viewing in the store, and those screens don’t actually show any in-game content, tread very carefully. Another “tell” of sorts is the actual content of the game screens. If the visuals look exactly like another game, or if (and I’ve seen this before) it looks like someone pasted some virtual buttons on top of a screencap, you might want to think twice before buying.
Tip #3 – File size
You see a game that looks awesome and the description makes it sound like the best thing since, well, the iPhone and it has a dozen glowing reviews. Before you hit “Purchase,” just take a quick peek at its file size. If this jaw-dropping showcase of iOS visual prowess takes up 5 MB (or even 50), it’s highly unlikely those screens or reviews are for real. Which brings me to my final tip.
Tip #4 – Check those reviews
User are largely subjective, but they can still be quite telling. If a game has a dozen five-star reviews and three or four with one-star, take the time to read the one-stars. Not liking a game is one thing, but when a buyer claims the game in question is totally different than what’s advertised you might want to pay attention. Also look out for reviews that are way too positive. It might be a trap.
This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott interviewed Kevin Dent, creator of P4RK: The Game Achievement Network. Dent says, “So right now gamers on mobile can engage in different rewards platforms, most of these firms reward gamers for having “moments” I am not making this up. Once you hit that “moment” you get a bag of Pop Chips etc. Now I am sure there are people that enjoy Popchips! P4RC is different in that we go in altogether different direction. We created a platform where gamers accumulate points regardless of whether they have their “moment” or not. With those points they can spend them on whatever they want, we are empowering the rewards business.
They are your points, it’s your choice and they are your rewards.
Also we do not cap the points so you can go big, medium or small; they are your points.”
Read more about P4RK at 148Apps.
At GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon reviewed another game from the celebrated PBS Kids series Martha Speaks: “Martha Speaks Story Maker opens with a series of questions for the players about the story they would like to create – be it characters, locations or items of interest to be used in their own fun and creative adventures. These choices are then used in a creative and fun story and there are enough variables to choose from that each story can easily be different from the last and can be stored in this app’s library to be enjoyed in the future.”
Find out more about Martha Speaks Story Maker at GiggleApps.
$0.99 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-11 :: Category: Education
And our AndroidRundown.com KickStarter spotlight of the week was for Trellie. Joseph Bertolini writes, “Enter the Trellie, a metallic key chain that attaches to the outside of any woman’s purse and has two lights that illuminate and blink when ever the connected phone is receiving or has missed a call. This really does two things because, especially at night, the blinking will be a great visual alarm as well as something that lets the user dig into their bag and check their phone less. This secondary use really does free up social situations and keeps the user engaged in the people around them instead of constantly rummaging through their purses.”
Read more about this new device on AndroidRundown.com.
Thus ends the week that was, but there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow right around the corner. Join us for the latest app news, reviews and more, and keep track of everything by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. See you next week!
When a week starts off with New Year’s Eve, it’s bound to be a good one, and this week was no exception at 148Apps.com. Site founder Jeff Scott started us off with a bang by saying, “We are proud to announce the nominees for the fifth annual Best App Ever Awards. The awards that celebrate the best apps available, not just the best selling. This year we saw an amazing response with over 715,000 nominations submitted for 6,755 unique apps!
Voting is now open and will remain open through January 31st, 2013. Winners will be announced in February and details on that are to come.”
Want to see the complete list of nominees, and get in on the voting? Head to 148Apps.
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at Hansel & Gretel: Lost, saying, “Hansel & Gretel: Lost is a well crafted re-telling of this classic story for iPad, wonderfully illustrated with animations as well as including top-notch narration, music and sound effects. Auto-play is also an option as well as silencing the narration to read this book by oneself.
It is easy to tell from the first page that this app is something special. The illustrations are lush with color and beautiful to look at with a marbled textured style that I always find appealing. Every element in this book is at a superlative level of quality that adults will greatly appreciate, as will their children.”
Read Amy’s complete review at GiggleApps.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-10-05 :: Category: Books
Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson took on the establishment and challenged the conventional wisdom about “iPhone Killer” hardware: “Well, it took a bit longer than expected, but it seems like Google is finally going to use their Motorola acquisition to actually make a standout phone for themselves, the “X Phone.” Or whatever the next Nexus device will be called.
The immediate speculation swirling around is that this is finally Google’s “iPhone Killer.” You know, like the other Nexus devices that were iPhone killers. I don’t think that anything at this point will be an iPhone killer. It just isn’t going to happen.”
Read more of Carter’s missive at AndroidRundown.
And so begins 2013! Keep track of all the latest happenings, including developments in the Best App Ever Awards, by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and following us on Pinterest. And from all of us across the 148Apps network of sites, have a Happy New Year!
As another year draws to a close, millions of people will find iOS devices and iTunes gift cards waiting for them under the tree. That means lots of people looking for apps and games to download and that means it’s time for a HUGE sale. This year does not disappoint with tons of apps and games on sale and a ton going free for Christmas week.
If you enjoy this list, feel free to tweet or share this post on Facebook.
Here are our picks from the best of the best apps and games on sale. And as a reminder, you can always find the latest apps and games on sale at our iOS Price Drops page.
Update 12/24, 10am: updated with a couple dozen newly found great apps on sale – at the top of the list of “all the rest”. Merry Christmas Eve!
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games prides itself in putting out a new game every day. And most of their games are now on sale. That’s a lot of games. Here’s the full list and a few of our favorites below.
EA / Popcap / Firemonkeys Annual Game Sale
EA has, once again, put nearly all of their games on sale for $0.99 the holiday. A great way to stock up on any that you may have missed. Here are a few of our favorites, or see the full list for EA, Firemonkeys, or Popcap games on sale.
A few of the more recent Gameloft games are on sale for $0.99.
- price returned to $6.99, was on sale for $0.99
Sega have put a few of their games on sale.
- price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $1.99
Squeenix has put a bunch of their games on sale as well. Here’s the full list and our favorites are below.
- price returned to $7.99, was on sale for $3.99
Telltale celebrates their winning multiple Game of the Year awards for The Walking Dead by putting the first episode out for free, and all of their other games on sale for $0.99.
All The Rest
- price returned to $1.99, was on sale for FREE!
- price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $0.99
- price returned to $1.99, was on sale for $0.99
- price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!
METAL SLUG 3
- price returned to $2.99, was on sale for $1.99
- price returned to $3.99, was on sale for $0.99
- price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $1.99
- price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99
This week at 148Apps.com, we turkey trotted our way into Thanksgiving and the holiday season with a tremendous list of apps for sale, courtesy of site founder Jeff Scott: “Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.
This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games.”
Want to know more? Read our full Price Drop list at 148Apps.
The holiday spirit continued at GiggleApps.com, with Amy Solomon’s review of Wombi Toys: “Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids is a new interactive app that my son is really enjoying.
My son always get so much out of immersive role-playing apps, be it mini-games or more open-ended adventures which allow my son to cook for animals, plant a garden, pretend to be a doctor, fix a car or play tea party.
For those parents who know exactly the genre of app I am talking about, it is worth getting to know Wombi, a Swedish developer with a wonderful sense of style.
They have developed a series of really fun jigsaw puzzles of different themes and other apps that I have also enjoyed, so I was super-excited for the release of Wombi Toys – a toy workshop for kids which allows children to play toy-themed mini-games, building or fixing a very nice variety of toys such as wind-up car, painting alphabet blocks or using a hand pump to inflate a ball as each of these games are cute and fun, tactile as well as intuitive.”
Get your child into the toy workshop and read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-18 :: Category: Games
Finally, AndroidRundown.com writer Carter Dotson shared some unfortunate news: One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.
OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform.”
Read Carter’s full report on AndroidRundown.
And, as the tryptophan kicks in, we bid you a fond adieu this week. But make sure you keep track of all the latest sales, contests, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and Facebook. See you next week. Gobble gobble.
Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.
This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games. You can head also over to our Price Drops page for the full list.
In general most of the following apps and games are on sale in the US App Store. But many will be on sale in all stores all over the world. Have an app on sale that’s not in our list? Send a quick email to editor at this domain and we’ll take a look.
2012-11-21 – Looks like it’s going to be a big year. To keep things more reasonable, we’ve split up our list into three parts, Games, Apps, and Educational. See below for the three links.
2012-11-20 – Initial version, some of the app and game sales that have gone live early so we’ve gone live with our list for your app shopping pleasure.
We have 113 top sale apps and games in total. Click below to go to the appropriate post for the sale type you are interested in:
» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Games on Sale
» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Apps on Sale
» Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPhone and iPad Educational and Kids Apps on Sale
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed some exciting new printer technology for everyone with an iOS device: “The Lantronix xPrintServer is one of those rare bits of networking/printing hardware that just…works. I can’t be more effusive in my praise for this device, having been an IT coordinator for a small office in which printers and the network printing thereof was a weekly headache for my staff and I.
The tiny little plastic xPrintServer comes in a nicely packaged box, which includes a plug with several adapters for various national plug configurations, an ethernet cable, and the device itself: a cute little white plastic rectangle that isn’t much bigger than an iPhone 5. One of the short ends of this device has a port for the ethernet cable, the power adapter and a USB port.”
Want more? Read it all at 148Apps.
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Toca Tailor, saying, “Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.
Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.
Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.”
Indulge your inner fashionista, and learn more at GiggleApps.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, Carter Dotson explored a paradox at 148Apps.biz: “Thursdays are all hype. Despite being the big release day for many new apps, there’s actually very little benefit to marketing or downloads in this period, according to ad firm Chartboost, and every other day has different benefits versus Thursday.
First, according to Chartboost, Wednesday is actually the most popular release day, because it’s the day right before Apple updates their featured lists on the iPhone and iPad App Stores. In reality, what’s happening is that developers are scheduling releases for midnight (0:00) on Thursday, and because apps get released at that time worldwide, which winds up being 11pm eastern in North America due to the Atlantic Time Zone, these apps start appearing on Wednesday.
But here’s the thing: that Thursday is actually a lousy day to be promoting apps.”
Intrigued? Read more at 148Apps.biz.
And that brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving here in the US. Be sure to follow us right here, or on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news, reviews and holiday sales. See you next week, smart shoppers!
Posted by Jeff Scott
on November 8th, 2012
Macstories noticed that the iTunes App Store pages on both the device App Stores and the desktop versions have been updated to feature more apps. The individual category pages (like Productivity below) have been updated to look more like the front page by featuring special apps more prominantly. It’s a move that’s been expected since they updated the Games category earlier this year.
This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott’s discussion of changes in the iOS App Store: “Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, ‘This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.'”
Read more of Jeff’s commentary at 148Apps.
Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: “Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for.”
Intrigued? Read Amy’s full review at GiggleApps.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-01 :: Category: Games
And staying on the ‘Super’ theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: “Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage.”
Want to know more? Read the full article at 148Apps.biz.
That’s it for this week, but with fall…um…falling, there’s sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We’ll make it worth your while! See you next week!
Many of the changes to the App Store on iOS devices has updated the visual look of the apps, better exposing a wider variety of apps to the user. While the changes taken individually seem small, taken together they represent a possible big change in how we will find apps in the App Store.
Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, “This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.”
Top 25 – iOS 5 (left) vs. iOS 6 (right)
Another big change has been the app detail page. That page places much greater emphasis on the first screenshot and reduces the importance of the description. When landing on an app, the user will see a larger icon than before, the rating, and the first screen shot. Scrolling down they will see the truncated description and a few more details. Previously they user would see a small icon, the rating, and the top section of the description.
These changes on the whole place much greater emphasis on the icon and the name of the app. These must be compelling as they are–in most areas of the App Store–the only thing the user will see. Ratings, developer name, and description have all been hidden from initial view in multiple places in the store.
What this will mean to app sales, we’ll have to wait to see. While it seems as though the changes are all for the better for the user, developers may need to prioritize their icon, name, and first screenshot much more than in the past.
In traveling the internet for interesting iOS conundrums to solve, I came across this one on Reddit: “How do I get games that are no longer offered on the App Store?” Now, this was both referring to buying games not available for sale any more, and a false positive at that. But it raises a very good question, one that some people may not realize: it is possible to get a game that is no longer on the App Store if it was once purchased on an iTunes account.
See, when an app gets pulled from public view on the App Store for whatever reason, Apple still allows users to reinstall the app, even if it’s deleted. The thing to remember about this is that purchases are tied to an Apple ID, not to a device. This means that as long as a device is authorized with that Apple ID, either through iTunes or by logging in to the account on the device, that app can be downloaded to that device. This means that some apps that may have been once downloaded and since updated can be redownloaded if once purchased or downloaded, even to a new device – and it also works if the app has gone universal.
For users who sync apps to iTunes, the app should still work if it’s in the library. Just set it up to sync with the device of choice, and it’s good to go. Well, assuming it still works on modern iOS versions.
The other method is to go through Purchased history. Now, one would think that it would be as easy as just searching for it and seeing if it pops up, right? Wrong. This did work shortly after the Purchased tab was introduced in iOS 4.3.5, but Apple changed it so that deleted apps do not show up when searching any more when searching. But they’re still there. It just takes a lot of patience. On iPhone/iPod touch, the Purchased section is available under Updates, at the top of the list. Open this section, and just keep scrolling through the list (either sorted by date or by alphabet, depending on which seems like will pull the app up sooner) until the desired app is found. On iPad, tap the arrow in either the upper or lower right corner to keep going to the next page until the app is found.
This works as recently as iOS 5.1.1 on the App Store – I used it personally to redownload Casey’s Contraptions after it was pulled shortly after the Amazing Alex launch. Some other interesting apps to download if they’re pulled and presumably lost: iDOS, the original Tetris by EA (sans IAP), and heck, even Tris, possibly the first big iOS pulled app controversy, is still available. No app truly dies, it just takes a lot of searching to find. Happy hunting!