The Future of Apple’s App Store

The Future of Apple’s App Store

Video game history is dotted with examples of instances where a system, company, or game seemingly became a force overnight. But to date, there hasn’t been a game-changer quite like Apple’s App Store. Two years ago, the iOS’s digital distribution service was a curious distraction for techies with an affinity for cutting edge toys. Now, it’s in the vernacular of the entire developed world. Need to look up directions, figure out a tip, or hurl some cheesed-off birds at some grabby pigs? There’s an app for that.

The complexity and depth of iPhone/iPod Touch games has evolved alongside the App Store, which has led to Nintendo, Apple, and Sony competing for the hearts of busy commuters. The iPhone excels at puzzle games, word games, games involving ballistics, and other bite-sized distractions. It’s also capable of deeper works, like full-fledged adventure games, fighters, and RPGs. The question is, should the App Store work to promote these larger, more complex games? Or should it focus more on promoting the aforementioned distractions?

Foremost, if a developer feels like creating a large-scale project for the iPhone, that developer should be encouraged to do so even though more “complete” games often play better on the Nintendo DS and/or PSP thanks to a wider range of control options. But if developers don’t experiment with touch-screen controls and find ways to make them less frustrating, the iPhone will quickly reach its limits as a game platform.

That’s unless Apple takes another path and uses the App Store to promote games from genres that tend to excel on the iPhone–in other words, those puzzle games, those word games, and those games that involve ballistics. At this point, it’s hard to imagine that the iPhone will ever host an action game that’s as responsive and smooth as, say, the average Super Mario game. Why should Apple fight directly against Nintendo? Why shouldn’t it trumpet its own strengths in its bid to win commuters’ time?

It wouldn’t be a bad marketing move in the short-term, but it might hurt the App Store in big ways down the road. It’s better to let iPhone owners know that they have options, even if some of those games don’t live up to what’s available on the Nintendo DS or PSP. Besides, if developers aren’t given incentive to find ways to work with the iPhone’s spotty controls, why should they even bother trying? Why not just make another Angry Birds clone? Nobody wants to see that degree of stagnation in a service as young and promising as the App Store.

Picture Source

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

Leave a Reply