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Apple iOS App Store blamed for too many apps as Sony NGP is called "dead on arrival"

post #1 of 112
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Speaking at the Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco this week, Trip Hawkins railed at Apple's App Store for having too many titles, while blaming Nintendo for inventing the concept of licensed games as Ngmoco proclaimed Sony's Next Generation Playstation "dead on arrival" due to the App Store's success.

My failures, your fault

Hawkins, once Apple's director of strategy and marketing, left the company in 1982 to found Electronic Arts. In 1991 he left EA to launch the failed 3DO gaming platform, which after attempting to transition itself into a games developer, went bankrupt and sold off its assets to French game publisher Ubisoft.

He's now running Digital Chocolate, which creates scores of games for mobile platforms, including Apple's iOS. However, he's not happy about the App Store, complaining that the company has "over-encouraged supply."

Hawkins told CNN that on average, the App Store earns publishers "$4,000 per application. Do you see a problem with that? That doesn't even pay for a really good foosball table," he told the audience from his conference panel post.

Apple now has over 400,000 iOS apps in its library, and recently said it has paid out $2 billion to developers. About a third of those are free, so even on average apps make far more than the $4,000 Hawkins said, even before advertising revenues are included. But more importantly, the App Store is a meritocracy, where good apps make a lot while thousands of junk apps make little or nothing.

"If we can't figure out how to make it a healthy ecosystem, it's not going to be a great business for developers to be able to remain employed in," Hawkins complained, before turning his attention to Nintendo, which originated the concept of a hardware platform creator licensing third party development and charging a cut of software developers' revenues.

"We used to have a free and open game business, and then Nintendo came along and introduced a thing called a licensing agreement," Hawkins said.

In 2008, Hawkins praised Apple's new App Store after his Digital Chocolate successfully launched several apps to "spectacularly pleasant surprise," but today he's changed his tune to say that the "overcrowding" of the App Store makes it hard for many games to get noticed.

He has set his sights on web-based games, saying "there is a place that we can all gravitate to over the years. Think more about the browser. The browser will set you free." Hawkins didn't elaborate on how the number of web pages compare with App Store titles, how gamers will discover web-based games any easier than in Apple's App Store, or how developers will make money from web games.

Nintendo fears change

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime panned the market for mobile games (which competes with dedicated handheld devices like the Nintendo DS), saying "the only thing that concerns us is that it becomes a distraction for developers, and it ends up driving development effort down a path that potentially has very little return."

Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata stated earlier in the conference keynote that "the objectives of smartphones and social-network platforms are not at all like ours. Their goal is just to gather as much software as possible, because quantity is what makes the money flow. Quantity is how they profit. The value of video-game software does not matter to them."

"When I look at retailers, and I see the $1 and free software, I have to determine that the owner doesn't care about the high value of software at all," Iwata later added. "I fear our business is dividing in a way that threatens the continued employment of those of us who make games."

Nintendo has refused to make games for iOS or other platforms after shifting its business from software development on early 80s consoles from Atari, Coleco and the Mattell Intellivision into an integrated platform business that sells console hardware, creates first party games, and earns licensing revenue from third party game developers, a model very similar to Apple's iOS.

A market for mobile apps and games

Apple entered the mobile software market and revolutionized how smartphone software was sold, creating the first viable market for mobile software. Speaking at the company's shareholder meeting last month, the company's leader of iOS development Scott Forstall pointed out that Apple has, in the iOS App Store, "created the best economy in software in the history of the planet."

Apple also brought its smartphone market to the iPod touch, which focused on games, and later expanded to the iPad, which supports a wide range of games, productivity apps and creative media titles, including Apple's own Pages, Keynote and Numbers, and the soon to be released iMovie and GarageBand titles.

Like Nintendo and every other game console developer, Apple licenses third party development and imposes a platform cut that helps support the App Store market. The difference is that Apple runs its App Store near break even, while other game platform makers rely upon licensing for the bulk of their profits, often selling hardware at a loss, as Microsoft and Sony have historically done.

The console makers' business model, which imposes a much steeper cut and fees upon developers, also makes it far harder for small indie developers to launch titles. Apple's App Store turned the tables, allowing individual programmers to launch iOS apps on a level playing field with big game development companies.

Consoles head toward online gaming, indie developers

Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have more recently attempted to address the needs of indie developers via new download-based online stores, ranging from Nintendo's WiiWare to Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade.

Last month, the developer of World of Goo noted that it launched its popular title for iPad to find much higher sales and revenues compared to the console online stores and even the Steam store for desktop Mac and PC games.

"In the short term, we still think that if an independent developer can get their game on a console its a safer bet than playing the App Store lottery," the company said, "but one might wonder whether, in the long run, it even matters who wins the PSN / WiiWare / XBLA race."

App Store predicted to kill PSP and leave NGP 'dead on arrival'

Other game developers are even more supportive of Apple's App Store model, with Ngmoco's chief executive Neil Young saying "I think [Sony's] PSP is done and the new [NGP successor] is dead on arrival.

"Its really difficult to compete with an App Store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality. So I just dont think Sonys going to be able to compete with that."

Nintendo has seen enthusiastic sales for its new 3DS handheld gaming device, but has been clearly pinched by the growth of Apple's iPhone, iPod touch and now the iPad in taking over territory in a space it has almost exclusively dominated for decades.
post #2 of 112
Those who can, do. Those who can't, well, they piss and moan about it apparently.
post #3 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Hawkins, once Apple's director of strategy and marketing, left the company in 1982 ... went bankrupt and sold off its assets to French game publisher Ubisoft.

He's now running Digital Chocolate, which creates scores of games for mobile platforms, including Apple's iOS. However, he's not happy about the App Store, complaining that the company has "over-encouraged supply."

I'm willing to bet that he's part of the Old Apple, the Apple that doesn't think how Steve Jobs thought and didn't like the man. And no doubt he's complaining when he has to compete in the real world against competitors versus trying to do marketing for a big company.

Move over Hawkins, figure out how to swim or just give up. Ngomoco clearly got it, why can't you? I think he'd gain more respect by blogging about how lousy his apps are nowadays because no one's heard of them because no one's been recommending them (hint: they're junk games and simplistic too compared to the competition)... and that he needs to clean up his act. He decides instead to take his rage out on Apple, instead of accepting responsibility for his own faults. But haters gonna hate, I guess.
post #4 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But more importantly, the App Store is a meritocracy, where good apps make a lot while thousands of junk apps make little or nothing.

I'm trying to figure out the bad in this

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #5 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Those who can, do. Those who can't, well, they piss and moan about it apparently.

exactly, amen.
post #6 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple now has over 400,000 iOS apps in its library, and recently said it has paid out $2 billion to developers. About a third of those are free, so even on average apps make far more than the $4,000 Hawkins said, even before advertising revenues are included. But more importantly, the App Store is a meritocracy, where good apps make a lot while thousands of junk apps make little or nothing.

Is it any wonder he's confused about the success of the app store
post #7 of 112
I think he has a valid point...it's easy to say that the App store is a meritocracy, but if good apps are mingled in with poor apps then the good apps are increasingly hard to find.

It will be interesting to see how Apple handles this. For now I will rely on MacWorld to let me know the best app in a certain category is the one to choose.

Best
post #8 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Is it any wonder he's confused about the success of the app store

That's the article writer's comment, not Hawkins. The writing is a bit confusing.
post #9 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I think he has a valid point...it's easy to say that the App store is a meritocracy, but if good apps are mingled in with poor apps then the good apps are increasingly hard to find.

How's that? Lots of good apps rise to the top via word of mouth in the media. Like selling any product, you have to get good buzz going.
post #10 of 112
Being a former QA tester at a popular gaming company that has been at both the bottom and top I can see where Trip Hawkins is coming from. He wants the $10,000 foosball table in his $10 million office developing the next $1 billion dollar game.

Gaming is changing. People are sick of paying $60 for a game and $29 for additions when they can have fun for under $10. Developers can now sit at home and write games which hasn't been possible since the early 1980's.

If anyone is greedy, it's Trip Hawkins. I suggest he wake up or he's going to be a middle aged gamer that can't find a job.
post #11 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I think he has a valid point... [...]

It will be interesting to see how Apple handles this. For now I will rely on MacWorld to let me know the best app in a certain category is the one to choose. Best

Indeed. I sourced my apps from charts, web reviews and Apple's own promotions. If those whiners can't make to any of the three above then why don't they just quit since they're not that bothered to market theirs to make it look good or even make a good app worth a mention in the first place.

Worth to mention, if you happen to stumble upon a v. good app/games that deserve recognition shout it to the world, would you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Being a former QA tester at a popular gaming company that has been at both the bottom and top I can see where Trip Hawkins is coming from. He wants the foosball table in his million office developing the next billion dollar game.

Gaming is changing. People are sick of paying for a game and for additions when they can have fun for under Developers can now sit at home and write games which hasn't been possible since the early 1980's.

If anyone is greedy, it's Trip Hawkins. I suggest he wake up or he's going to be a middle aged gamer that can't find a job.

+1

Also, good app/games will find their own way up no matter what. Too bad stupid games are at the bottom. \
post #12 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I think he has a valid point...it's easy to say that the App store is a meritocracy, but if good apps are mingled in with poor apps then the good apps are increasingly hard to find.

How does one find, in the millions of web pages out there, the dozen or so that you think warrants a bookmark? .... Same idea, no? The cream usually, if not always, rises to the top. "Build it, and they will come".
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #13 of 112
""$4,000 per application. Do you see a problem with that? That doesn't even pay for a really good foosball table"

Less foosball, more marketing, fella. It's time to move out of the frat house and grow up.
post #14 of 112
This guy should be taken seriously?
post #15 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I'm trying to figure out the bad in this

I had much the same response. Crap doesn't make money and never has. Frankly it sounded like he felt entitled to a profit no matter how much effort he puts into it.
post #16 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

""$4,000 per application. Do you see a problem with that? That doesn't even pay for a really good foosball table"

Less foosball, more marketing, fella. It's time to move out of the frat house and grow up.

I just flat out don't believe his numbers either. They are at odds with the rest of the article and everything we've ever heard about the app store.

It's easy to see how iOS and the app store have destroyed or lowered the value of console apps but to argue as he seems to be doing that no one is making money in the app store because of it's very popularity is just strange.

The article is spectacularly poorly worded though so it's hard to know if he's actually an idiot or if the article is just written that way.
post #17 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But more importantly, the App Store is a meritocracy, where good apps make a lot while thousands of junk apps make little or nothing.

...

The console makers' business model, which imposes a much steeper cut and fees upon developers, also makes it far harder for small indie developers to launch titles. Apple's App Store turned the tables, allowing individual programmers to launch iOS apps on a level playing field with big game development companies.

Two best points in the article. Completely agree.

This guy seems to have a knack for leaving companies just before they get really big lol. No solution is going to be perfect, but at least the App Store lets anyone who has the will and creativity to create an app do so for a fee that anyone can afford. I think that's a big unsung point. In the 80s, many of my favourite games were written by small independents. That's back, and it's great to see.

There's nothing to stop developers advertising their App Store games just like they have always advertised traditional games. If you rely on Apple to lead the customers to your door, you can't complain when you find your app lost in the crowd. Advertise your app in magazines, tele, just like you do your Xbox and PS3 titles. If you believe in your app, why not?
post #18 of 112
Alright, who moved that guys cheese? come on now, fess up!
post #19 of 112
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post #20 of 112
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post #21 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

URLs?

Everything I've read shows a very long tail: the top 100 make very good money, the second and third hundred make about as much as many small desktop software companies, and the other 399,700 make somewhere between a minimum wage and zero.

But if you have stats that can show even a tenth of iOS devs making more than they could make doing IT work ($100k-$150k annually) I'd love to read it.

Who cares? it's not Apple's job to guarantee them a six-figure income.

Apple created a marketplace. Just like any other marketplace, people are free to participate if they wish or pass on it if they don't. if they choose to participate, their income will be controlled by how good they are. it would be foolish (and bad for the market) if Apple arbitrarily started cutting apps just so other developers could make more money. If a developer doesn't make enough money to be happy, he's free to drop out (which doesn't seem to be happening, so the evidence is that developers are, by and large, content.

Oh, and btw, all the revenue figures are missing a very important element. The value of advertising supporting those apps isn't included.
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post #22 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I had much the same response. Crap doesn't make money and never has. Frankly it sounded like he felt entitled to a profit no matter how much effort he puts into it.

I agree, but could have done without your insulting my political views in your title. We lefties are not the cartoon view you have of us. We value hard work and the rewards that come from it. Always have.
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post #23 of 112
Hey, I would be pissed off too if I cashed out of Apple in 1982. Had he kept his nose to the grindstone he'd be Balmer rich by now.
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post #24 of 112
Wait, good apps make money and bad apps don't?

And that isn't a healthy eco system?

LOL.
post #25 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Those who can, do. Those who can't, well, they piss and moan about it apparently.

Apple and Jobs have really gotten under all these guy's skins haven't they. From Ballmer to this guy they just can't believe what they are witnessing.
post #26 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I just flat out don't believe his numbers either. They are at odds with the rest of the article and everything we've ever heard about the app store.

URLs?

Everything I've read shows a very long tail: the top 100 make very good money, the second and third hundred make about as much as many small desktop software companies, and the other 399,700 make somewhere between a minimum wage and zero.

But if you have stats that can show even a tenth of iOS devs making more than they could make doing IT work ($100k-$150k annually) I'd love to read it.

I guess one could ask the same of you...URLs?

Face it guys, this is business. The good ones shine and the bad ones don't. There are a few hundred dentists in my region, how do I know which one is good? Good old word of mouth and marketing, just like the App Store.
post #27 of 112
Trip Hawkins: WTF is "over-encouraged supply"? What does that mean? I guess Hawkins has never heard of this concept called the market economy. Supply and demand will balance each other out in the long run. What exactly does Hawkins want to do? Have Apple start creating artificial "app shortages" to stimulate demand for the "chosen few apps"?

I'm not pretending the App Store doesn't have problems. I just think this notion of "over-encouraged supply" is the natural result of an open market with low barriers to entry. Nintendo (Sony & Microsoft) puts up these high barriers to entry: you have to fork over tens of thousands of dollars and sign licensing agreements. Is that what Hawkins wants? Or perhaps an ultra-curated market like the one for console games?

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post #28 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Does anyone here actually know who Trip Hawkins is?

Trip Hawkins hasn't produced a good game since Larry Bird vs. Dr. J: One on One.
post #29 of 112
His name is William and he goes by 'Trip'. He's an Ivy with a III after his name. Meritocracy and having to struggle against market forces ain't his thing.
post #30 of 112
Nintendo? I'm not familiar with that. What is it exactly, some kind of sushi?
post #31 of 112
Most of the games his company pushes are all knockoffs and there are 133 titles listed. Half of them are free versions. Put out some really good games (not knockoffs) and you stand a better chance of a hit.
post #32 of 112
The moral of this story.... Sony could be where Apple is right now but they spent all their time and effort trying to make DRM.
If Sony would have just got off their @sses and made a phone similar to the iPhone with Sony exclusive title games and good hardware, they would be in the game.

I 100% agree with the post that said people are tired of paying $60-$70 for a game and then having to add another $50 for addons to play it.
Sony used to be a name the people were impressed by. Now people in general, couldn't care less what Sony does or doesn't do.
We now have options that are just as good or better than Sony.
post #33 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Supply and demand will balance each other out in the long run.

True, but that pretty much never results in quality. Quality comes from a concerted effort to go against the lowest common denominator of the so called "free market." Apple products don't happen because of the the free market, they happen because the people who run the company and the people who work there refuse to make crap. Trip has a point that over-choice dilutes quality and makes it difficult for quality to rise to the top. Apple succeeds through sheer force of will not by letting the market decide what they make.
post #34 of 112
The guys just pi**Ed he hasn't had an Angry Birds and no wonder Digital Chocalate titles are junk they carried over from developing Java games for dumb phones.

I really can't think of any Digital Chocolate titles off hand, I've never seen any promotions, such as Gameloft's Christmas advent calendar, which prompted EA to discount a lot of their to titles to 99c which Gameloft then matched.

I think I ended up buying a mix of around ten top tier titles including the $8.99 Nova 2, that's called marketing and prompted me to follow them on twitter and FaceBook so I know what's coming up.

A game I discovered by word of mouth is Back Breaker, they popped up an in game ad for Back Breaker 2 which I then bought, these are pretty fun games based on American football, they've obviously cut a deal with KFC as the billboards around the virtual stadiums contain KFC advertising.

If games are good people will buy them dropping the price puts it up the sales charts and brings it to casual browsers attention.
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post #35 of 112
I don't think the number of iOS titles is necessarily a barrier for entry for new platforms. The PS3 was successful even though the 360 had a lot more titles, because they had a few ready A-grade titles that grabbed people's attention. That is how a new player will have to do it.
post #36 of 112
Where do guys like "Trip" Hawkins get these names, anyway? Like "Mitt the Mutt" Romney and "Chop" Keenan (property destroyer in Palo Alto)?
post #37 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

True, but that pretty much never results in quality. Quality comes from a concerted effort to go against the lowest common denominator of the so called "free market." Apple products don't happen because of the the free market, they happen because the people who run the company and the people who work there refuse to make crap. Trip has a point that over-choice dilutes quality and makes it difficult for quality to rise to the top. Apple succeeds through sheer force of will not by letting the market decide what they make.

Good point about quality, but did you notice (to further your example) that Apple doesn't play in the same "race-to-the-bottom" of the PC market that Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, and literally hundreds of Chinese clone PCs play in? The $299 laptop? The $499 PC? Of course these cheap, plasticky machines are sold on razor-thin margins. Apple can sell few high-end Macs and make more profit.

So why are the vendors who care about and can deliver quality in the App Store not raising the prices of their software? Why aren't they doing what Apple did in its market? Who is stopping ISVs from saying, "OK, let's see if people can tell the difference between crap and quality, and let's see if enough of them are willing to pay for it." Maybe there is a market for low-volume, high-margin Apps. Who says you have to play the same thin margin, high-volume game?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #38 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

So why are the vendors who care about and can deliver quality in the App Store not raising the prices of their software? Why aren't they doing what Apple did in its market? Who is stopping ISVs from saying, "OK, let's see if people can tell the difference between crap and quality, and let's see if enough of them are willing to pay for it."

Nothing is stopping them. When you upload an app to the App Store there are plenty of very high price points you can choose from. But Apple themselves are encouraging low prices in the App Store (probably to help spread the platform). Look at the new GarageBand for iPad demonstrated earlier this week: an amazing piece of software, real professional piece of work - $4.99!
post #39 of 112
Unfortunately apple has gone down the angle that windows did with their software availability. Hundreds of thousands piece of shit software, with a few pieces of good ones. Sure apple can highlight the good ones, but finding something decent in an area apple does not care to highlight is a frikin abomination, and the user reviews in the store are frikin awful.

Probably why i have only brought four apps in three years.
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post #40 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

Unfortunately apple has gone down the angle that windows did with their software availability. Hundreds of thousands piece of shit software, with a few pieces of good ones. Sure apple can highlight the good ones, but finding something decent in an area apple does not care to highlight is a frikin abomination, and the user reviews in the store are frikin awful.

Probably why i have only brought four apps in three years.

Another reason is you're probably lazy, and cheap.
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