With the launch of iOS 6 last week, users who visited the App Store were visited with a staggering makeover. The new presentation brought plenty of changes, from new features appearing for the first time to old features being tucked away, and in some cases, totally removed.
As you might expect, the developers behind the games you’ll find in the App Store have had more than their share of opinion on the changes. Earlier this week Gamezebo heard from app promotion and SEO experts Tomasz Kolinko and Sylvain Gauchet on the subject, as the two discussed not just the impact these App Store changes might have, but how developers can best take advantage of them.
Today we’ve reached out to a number of notable developers in the iOS space to what they think of the new App Store, and just how they feel it might impact their releases.
Chris Ye, Uken Games
I think time will tell how the update impacts business for independent developers. It’s clear that Apple didn’t get it right the first time, and what they really should be doing is focusing on how to bring the best apps (and there are a diverse set of them on iOS) front and center for users, so I appreciate the attempt at making Genius more prominent. I also feel the design is much cleaner and puts the spotlight on the individual app rather than just the icon in a list of a bunch of other icons. Let’s hope they continue making changes that will showcase the diversity the app developer community has to offer.
There are quite a few radical changes. Rather than scrolling down to see the latest apps in the featured area, you scroll sideways. This method actually limits the number of apps you can see at a glance. The categories seem to be set up similarly, so that going to a category results in seeing New and Noteworthy or What’s Hot in that category, rather than seeing the top list of that category first.
I believe in many ways Apple have set it up so that they can have more control over what is shown, rather than relying on top lists. I think this can be a benefit or a stab in the back depending on how you look at it. For larger publishers and those likely to get featured by Apple, it is definitely going to be of benefit. But those who haven’t been featured very much, but still my rank higher [on the Top lists] may not actually benefit here.
As a publisher who generally gets featured by Apple quite a bit, I’d say it will benefit Crescent Moon and Forest Moon. The discovery is less for smaller devs, it will be harder in some ways to find certain games that may not have been featured.
Sampo Tyssy, 10tons
It’s probably too early to tell what the effects of App Store changes ultimately are. Tiny, subtle details may have great significance when dealing with the kind of traffic the iTunes App Store has. Maybe the nicer looks simply attract more customers? One thing is quite certain: the first screenshot will become even more important now that it’s displayed in search results.
Rob Segal, Get Set Games
App discovery is perhaps the biggest issue in any video game marketplace, and a very well-known one for iOS developers. There have been some nice improvements to the layout of the App Store to help with this, and overall it is a welcome change. Some of the nice new additions include…
- You don’t leave the App Store when installing an app/game (this was always a pet peeve of mine) so there’s now more of an incentive to install more games at one time since you remain in the store.
- Facebook “likes” within the App Store. Visiting your friends’ Facebook page you will see what they are liking lately.
- You can now share App Store favorites to Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email right in the App Store. Nothing mind blowing, here but it’s just that much easier to share your favorite things which is great.
Overall the changes aren’t mind-blowing, but they are definitely welcome.
Matthew Hall, Klicktock
Neil Rennison, Tin Man Games
I’ve heard a lot of indie developers complain about the lack of “New Releases,” meaning that it will be even harder to get visibility for their apps. I actually think that if you’re an indie dev and the success of your app depends solely on the being in the new releases, then you’re doing something wrong. The App Store has always had visibility problems for those with no marketing budgets, and while the new App Store layout may make that even harder, I think it’s up to us developers to find better ways to develop our business models. Developers need to think outside of the box more. Apple has given us a wonderful opportunity to create and sell stuff, and it’s up to small studios to stop complaining and find cunning ways to let people know you exist. 75% of making a game is the marketing!
Charley Price, Hidden Variable Studios
For a developer, we believe the biggest impact of the new App Store is the adjustment of focus on certain elements of your metadata. For example, the new App Store search results “card” puts a heavy emphasis on not only your icon and rating, but now also your first screenshot. Since the cover flow teasing the rest of your screenshots was removed, the first screenshot now needs to be able to convert a user from a look to a click.
This now places EXTRA emphasis on having one, clear, engaging screenshot to sell what your game is all about. For example, as a result, we’re currently exploring “merging” the message of our first two screenshots into one to make sure we’re getting the best, clearest, immediate impression. Thankfully, this presentation of your app is consistent between the iPhone and iPad versions of the App Store. At least you can now focus your attention on honing one specific pitch for your app without having to split the difference between two potential layouts.
The new store is definitely interesting, and hopefully having a screenshot early in the app discovery user experience will give each app more breathing room to genuinely show what kind of experience they have to offer (a burden that an app icon alone was never really equipped to bear). On the flip side, the lack of a list view after search will also mean that fewer apps will be displayed. Put succinctly, the spotlight appears to have grown brighter, but narrower.
Is it ultimately a change for the better? Only time will tell, but we expect fortune to favor those willing to adjust. How developers present their apps will ultimately determine the benefits of this new approach.