THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

SaneBox

Clean up your inbox today and keep it that way forever


Is Apple Working On A Game Store?

Apple is looking for a better way to separate “regular” apps from games in the App Store. In fact, in a matter of a few months we might be looking at a brand new version of the App Store specifically meant for iOS games - a Game Store.

The process started in 2009, when Apple started creating custom section to feature specific applications like productivity apps, social networking apps, music apps. In the past months Apple created dozens of sections, and usually launched a new one every 10 days or so. Many of these sections have been about games: Retro games, Hardcore, Huddle games for iPad. They’ve also been the most popular ones and, indeed, they are still online.

The real issue Apple is facing in the App Store is that users are starting to feel overwhelmed by games: if you look at the App Store homepage (both for iPhone and iPad), it’s full of games. In the featured section, in the paid / free / grossing charts, in the new & noteworthy box:  productivity apps don’t jump to the first place in the charts anymore, and when they do they don’t stay there for more than two days. Especially on the iPhone. Admittedly, games represent the biggest part of the App Store and a decent source of revenue for Apple. The Angry Birds phenomenon comes to mind.

Apple also made sure to style the Games category differently: more boxes for featured games, games categories in the sidebar. Regular applications don’t come with sub-categories (say productivity > writing).

The introduction of Game Center in iOS 4 gave developers the possibility to expand games beyond local multiplayer and 3rd party infrastructures (namely OpenFeint). Already available on the iPhone and soon on the iPad (in November, when iOS 4.2 will officially come out), guess what - games that support Game Center got a special badge in the App Store. It makes it easier for users to recognize whether they can enjoy that game with their friends or not. Soon after that, Apple featured a massive sale of many popular games.

Last, just a few days ago Apple started featuring the “Game of the Week” in the App Store homepage, both for iPhone and iPad. Previously there was only an “App of the Week” section. Also, AppAdvice noted that a “What’s Hot” section from the iOS App Store app suddenly disappeared.

From what we’re hearing, the main problem is that Apple doesn’t want to entirely separate the “App Store for apps” from the “App Store for Games”: clearly the popularity of iOS games helps developers of other kinds of software gain visibility as well. Apple knows that and doesn’t want to create a brand new App Store - rather a better branded, more focused and organized huge “sub-category” for iOS Games. Still accessible from iTunes, but with less intrusive games and banners in the App Store homepage.

A personal speculation: if this will turn out to be true, if Apple will actually ship a “Game Store” with a full-featured interface to make it easy for people to download and browse games - what’s going to stop them from finally implementing a “demo” feature? Or a revamped Game Center accessible from a web browser and not just from the iOS app?

With games, Apple has a huge deal on its hands.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.