Opinion: Square Enix’s flip-flop on iOS 8 support spotlights App Store ambiguities, risks

worldendswithyou

Square Enix’s The World Ends With You

 

Buying an app from the App Store is designed to be as easy as possible. A large button with a price tag sits as close to the app’s icon and name as possible, while additional details linger below. You’re not supposed to think or worry too much about each purchase — the transaction is impulse-driven when the price is low — and the implication is that the app will work when you get it, and keep working for a long time thereafter.

But what happens when an app — marketed as compatible with current iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches — is never updated for the latest version of iOS, and either stops working after an iOS upgrade, or never works at all on new devices? That’s the situation buyers of Square Enix’s $18 The World Ends with You: Solo Remix (and $20 iPad version) have found themselves in since iOS 8 was released. The game’s description claims that it “requires iOS 4.3 or later” and is compatible with devices that shipped with iOS 8, but it wasn’t actually iOS 8-compatible. Yesterday, Square Enix publicly flip-flopped on whether it would leave the game unplayable or fix it. Before changing its tune, the company told customers that they’d need to continue to keep using iOS 7 in order to play the game — an unrealistic alternative, though one that’s faced by users of numerous iOS apps that aren’t being updated by their developers.

By considering abandonment of the 69% of iOS users who are currently on iOS 8, Square Enix wasn’t just making a business choice; it was also spotlighting the risk App Store customers take every time they purchase an app. And it also revealed how long-unsolved App Store listing ambiguities are subjecting users, developers, and Apple itself to unnecessary problems.

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Apps & updates: The World Ends with You, CNN 2012 U.S. Election Center, Clueful, more

The World Ends with You: Solo Remix: Square Enix has reworked the title originally released for Nintendo DS in 2007 with an all new combat system, HD art, and new music. The $18 iOS port (and $19 iPad version) has made a few changes that hardcore fans of the game are not too pleased with, but overall first impressions have been positive.

Square Enix’s fresh-faced hit The New York Times called “one of the best role playing games ever designed for anything” has busted onto iOS in a big way… Enjoy the game in full HD on your Retina-enabled iPhone 4 or later device. Art and animation across the game has been redrawn just for this release, making combat a beautiful experience. This is how all 2D classics should look.

CNN app for iPad version 1.7: CNN’s iPad app, in addition to its official iPhone app, was updated today with the ability to follow the 2012 presidential race through CNN’s U.S. Election Center. The update also includes improved “easy-to-use navigation” for browsing stories and video.

Clueful: A few weeks back we mentioned that BitDefender’s iOS app for detecting apps that access private data was removed from the App Store without much explanation from Apple. Today the company has relaunched the Clueful app as a web app accessible from your iOS devices at Cluefulapp.com. The new web app will let you manually search for info on any given app, opposed to the previous app that would detect the apps running on your device.
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