In our story about the first four years of App Store, we noted how Apple had been collecting apps and games in custom "sections" that, unfortunately, are often rarely updated and hard to find in the App Store once they are removed from the homepage.
For years now, Apple has been refreshing the App Store on a weekly basis to include custom “sections” showcasing hand-picked apps and games. These sections typically come with rotating banners and smaller “mini-banners” on the App Store’s homepage, and are later grouped into an “App Store Essentials” macro-section that includes several of past sections and recommendations.
Custom sections provide a decent solution to browse titles Apple has previously “curated”; however, these sections aren’t usually updated as often as they are created — N.O.V.A. 3, a new shooter game by Gameloft, still isn’t listed under Benchmark Games: Stunning Graphics, whilst the majority of reviewers and publications have outlined the game’s remarkable graphic capabilities.
With today's weekly refresh of the App Store's homepage, it appears Apple has started taking some first steps into a new direction -- grouping all previous game bundles into a bigger "collection". Aptly named Game Collections and linked from the App Store's homepage, the section offers a roundup of every selection Apple offered to date.
Game Collections includes:
- Games Starter Kit (App Store Essentials)
- Benchmark Games
- Big Name Games
- The Best Games You've Never Played
- Quick-Fix Games
- Hardcore Games (App Store Essentials)
- Turn-Based Games
- Game Center
- Racing Games
- Great Platformers
- Sports Games (App Store Essentials)
- Music Rhythm Games
- Retro Games
- Great Role-Playing Games
- Hollywood Hits
- Flight Games
- Galactic Games
- Games for Kids
Previously only available through the App Store's homepage or partially through the dedicated Games category page, the new Game Collections feature brings some much needed organization to the custom sections Apple has been "curating" over the years. They are now accessible from a single place, and Apple notes how they will be "updated on a regular basis".
As of today, "regular" apps still aren't being organized into a unified collection. Right now, the App Store Essentials page is the best way to browse previously featured selections, but it also still mixes games and apps, and doesn't provide the same elegant and simple layout of Game Collections. Hopefully Apple will provide an "App Collections" page as well, bringing past handpicked app selections and features in a single page.
Apple has been making a series of improvements to the App Store's navigation lately. Aside from the complete App Store revamp coming in iOS 6, Apple redesigned the App of the Week section and renamed it to Editor's Choice, leaving the former "App of the Week" to free app promotions.
App Store navigation and curation has long been an issue for third-party developers, with Apple's Phil Schiller recently weighing in, too, noting how "you can still get discovered and get a hit overnight".