Developer calls out Apple's 'disastrous' App Store update in iOS 6

Visibility shot to pieces, claims Lightwood Games

Developer calls out Apple's 'disastrous' App Store update in iOS 6
Alterations to the App Store launched via iOS 6 may have initially fostered a flurry of positive feedback – the sharper visuals a notable improvement for many – but one developer believes, from an indie's perspective, the changes are nothing short of disastrous.

Taking to his studio's blog, Lightwood Games founder and CEO Chris Newman lays out just where he believes Apple has got things so wrong, starting with the decision not to include a new releases section in the charts tab.

Your attention please

"For a small developer, this is terrible news," opens Newman.

"Although it’s only for a short period, the 'new release' exposure is extremely valuable. It's our opportunity to grab people's attention, build the initial user base and gauge the public's reaction without needing to spend a fortune on marketing."

New and noteworthy releases can now be found in the categories section under games, but Newman claims their disappearance from the charts tab will simply help games already at the top of the charts stay there.

"How does a new app break through? There is absolutely no way of being discovered unless a user is linked to your app directly, or searches for the app by name," he continues.

Painful process

Other regrettable changes, he claims, include the new side-swiping format for search results, which he suggests are a "painful" process to navigate, penalise apps played in landscape mode, and mean there's not enough room to see an app's entire name.

"There are dozens of word search games that now appear to have identical names," he adds.

"If you're looking for ours and know the name but don’t know what icon you're looking for, good luck."

On a more logistical note, Newman says Apple has undermined the store's search algorithm.

Now, he states, searching for something as simple as "word puzzle", or a developer's name, delivers an initial page that prompts the user to search for additional phrases, rather than the results themselves.

It's a change that could result in consumers going around in circles, unaware the app they want is just a swipe away.

Time to switch focus?

Finally, Newman points out that developers websites designed to redirect users to their games on the App Store no longer function with the new marketplace – an error he describes as "catastrophic".

"We shouldn't expect Apple to do our marketing, but we do want a chance to be noticed. I believe the new App Store removes that chance completely," he closes.

"We had a Halloween-themed game planned for release on iOS next month. I'm now giving serious thought to axing that project and concentrating our efforts elsewhere.

"Maybe we could have four or five launch titles on Windows 8 instead of three. Perhaps now's the time for us to start working with Windows Phone.

"But I'm responding to this very quickly and very seriously. If you're a developer, you should do the same. If you don't already have a contingency plan, make one."
You can read more of Newman's concerns about Apple's App Store update in his interview with

[source: Lightwood Games]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.