It’s a tough time to be an app developer. Last weekend, Apple sent an ultimatum to a number of them: Update your app within 30 days or it will be removed from the App Store. The company appears to have decided to wipe out any software that hasn’t been updated in the past two years, even though the App Store Improvements support document refers more vaguely to removing “outdated” apps.
Nobody knows at this point how many apps are at risk of being removed for being outdated, or for any of the other criteria listed in the support document. (It also points to removing apps that no longer work as intended, a penalty you hope will actually be enforced by a strict, well-managed store that customers can trust.) But it probably would be too much: 1 rating It is estimated that about 70 percent – more than 1.5 million apps – have not been updated in three to five years, let alone two. It might be a bloodbath.
It’s hard to argue with the theory behind Apple’s crusade. Nobody wants outdated and poorly made software in the App Store, and separating the wheat from the chaff is a commonsense idea that should have been implemented years ago. But the blanket rule based on time since update is the wrong way. It will capture perfectly maintainable apps whose developers don’t have the time or resources to deliver an update to an app that is no longer (or may never have been) profitable while still being easy to play for unprincipled scammers with few programmers on the team.
The thing is that it is not easy to fix the problem of bad apps. The sad truth that the owners of all the mega software stores have to face is that you either have to devote serious resources to controlling the quality of the software or accept that a large percentage of it will be insignificant. To determine what is acceptable and what is not, you need either humans or a very complex algorithm. You need a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.
Burning the Library of Alexandria
Earlier this week, we wrote about Texas Hold’em, an iOS game developed in-house at Apple that appears to violate the company’s own rules. (It was last updated in October 2019, which may change in the near future if Apple wants to avoid the embarrassment of removing or excluding its app.) about to be removed.
Quickly browsing through game folders on your iPhone and iPad, it’s amazing how many apps I’ve discovered so quickly that haven’t been updated in the past couple of years. I sincerely hope this changes, but here are 12 cool axe-faced killers:
Note that all of these games work fine on my devices. In fact, you could do a lot worse than download anything you haven’t played, should they disappear next month.
There will be hundreds of other examples. Find the games you enjoy the most and you will find more. I must stress that Apple is not suggesting to take them out of it you; Users who previously downloaded the app will still be able to use it, and it may also return to the App Store in the future if the developer plays ball and sends out an update. But new players will be denied the pleasures of discovering many of these games, which is a colossal shame.
This is the second remarkable event of app extinction, after 32-bit was scrapped in 2017, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Apple, at a corporate level, doesn’t like games very much. This is a pity, because the company, it seems, by chance, a little more than a decade ago, found itself owning the largest gaming platform in history. With its low entry cost and affluent user base, the App Store has attracted crowds of talented independent game developers and witnessed an unparalleled explosion of creativity.
The fruits of this creativity must be preserved, and it is worrying that Apple has shown so little interest in doing so. It wouldn’t be particularly difficult: As Macworld contributor Craig Grannell has repeatedly argued, Apple could easily have acquired GameClub, a subscription service dedicated to taking back and preserving old game classics, properly funded, and integrating them into Apple Arcade. (Craig looks at issues of maintaining and emulating games in a fun piece for Wireframe.) But Arcade was built from the start to focus on the new; Even later, when the company backtracked around tariffs and added older games under slightly new names, it focused on classics that were still in constant interest, rather than those that were in danger of dropping out of the store.
In most cultural areas, age is not considered negative. We still watch silent films and read poems in dead languages. Many artists have struggled to be taken seriously in their lives. But Apple, for some reason, still thinks gaming has a shorter life than a good pair of shoes. And his frequent purge of App Store treasures is nothing short of cultural vandalism.