Years ago I co-produced an Amiga game about shipping called “Ports of Call” (Aegis Development, 1988).
I’ve mentioned this in some of my presentations, most recently in Ottawa a few months ago, as an precursor of the Farmville type economic game.
Suddenly I find myself subscribed to the "Lloyd's List Intelligence” magazine. 116 glossy pages on the global shipping industry.
Lloyd's List Intelligence is founded on the heritage of the industry bible, Lloyd's List. Plus our unique global network of specialist sources of business-critical maritime data. It brings together the expertise of a global staff of maritime analysts and journalists with the most extensive system of shore based and satellite intelligence gathering to create the complete information support service for the maritime industry.
(Originally published on Huffington Post)
I agree that children shouldn't be exploited in games with in-app purchases. Finding out that my child has racked up in-app purchases while playing games on an iPad would infuriate any parent.
As you said:
I've been following this issue for a few years. In 2013 I wrote this on the subject:
Freemium games depend on "whales," users who make large purchases, for much of their income. A typical title may only have 2 percent to 3 percent of players making purchases. This isn't a problem with social casino games targeted at teens and adults. These are rated at ages 12+ by Apple.
Many children's games, like SpongeBob Moves In, My Little Pony, Skylanders: Lost Islands, and Littlest Pet Shop, offer in-app items as expensive as $99.99. The SpongeBob game (rated ages 4+) isn't even a freemium title, as the download runs $3.99. So even parents trying to avoid free-to-play games can get surprised by these purchases.
The problem today is that apps targeted for 5 year olds are relying on in-app purchases even more so than they did in 2011. The top-grossing children's game category shows 17 out of the top 20 are doing just that.
I just checked the Kids category today, five years old and younger, 16 out of the top 20 grossing apps offer in-app items for sale in the game. While Apple does have excellent parental controls, spending limits etc., not every parent (and probably not Kanye) takes advantage of this.
There is a solution.
The 99¢ Solution (Twitter hashtag #JustSpend99Cents).
There was a time when you paid once for a game. Played it as much as you wanted. Were never asked for more money. For example here's a game I wrote in 1982 (yes, I've been at this for that long).
(According to the US Inflation Calculator, that $30 would be $74.09 today. Ouch.)
Luckily today there are games, children's games, that retail for 99¢. For the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you can buy three of them. And they will never ask your children to spend money in the game. OK some are $2.99 or even $4.99, but you get the picture.
Fun games like this:
(Sago Mini Babies, $2.99)
Or a 99¢ game from our company, PlayScreen:
(Pigs A Pop'n $0.99)
And you know what, just as the music industry responds to popular tastes and demands, the more parents #JustSpend99Cents the more games you'll see that do just that. Make you pay only once, and don't ask for more money from you or your children.
I know most of us in the game industry would prefer this too. Let's make it happen.
There are going to be 1000's of blog stories about Steve Jobs because there was so much to the man. He changed the world and in my case, made my career possible. From my first published game on the Apple II in 1980 to my current work on the iPhone.
But personally there's something in Mr. Jobs' life that has always resonated with me so very strongly.
Steve Jobs left Apple Computer in 1985. In fact he was fired from Apple. Here's what he had to say about that:
“I feel like somebody just punched me in the stomach and knocked all my wind out. I’m only 30 years old and I want to have a chance to continue creating things. I know I’ve got at least one more great computer in me. And Apple is not going to give me a chance to do that.” – Playboy, 1987
If you have ever felt wrongly judged, this has to resonate with you. Perhaps it was a company where you thought you were doing great work and were fired unjustly. Maybe it was a spouse who just lost faith in you. Or maybe you were wrongly accused of something you didn't do.
In "The Shawshank Redemption" Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker who is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover, a crime he did not do.
This is one of my favorite films. Why? Because in the end the good guys win. In fact I can't think of a single film with a more satisfying conclusion than Shawshank.
When things were especially difficult in my life, when it seemed the tables had turned against me, this quote always centered me:
"Get busy living, or get busy dying." - Andy Dufresne
That's what Steve did after he was kicked out of Apple, the company he had co-founded. He got busy living. First with NeXT Computer, which while not a huge business success, did change the world of computing ... the very World Wide Web you are reading this on was created by Tim Berners-Lee on a NeXT Computer in 1991. Then he went onto Pixar where the first fully 3D rendered feature film success, A Toy Story, was created.
But nothing, not in any film or novel, compares to the "I told you so" triumph of Jobs' return to Apple in 1997.
Apple was truly on the ropes in 1997. At the time Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computers had this to say about Apple:
"What would I do?" Mr. Dell said to an audience of several thousand information technology managers. "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."
What happened next has been well documented. The iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad were wild successes. Jobs didn't just win product categories, he created entirely NEW product categories. Was there even any sort of tablet market before the iPad?
For me, a lifelong video game guy, the iPhone app store created the first 'meritocracy' for games ... a place where anyone could come up with the next cool app, and get rewarded for it.
So when I think of Steve, I think of how he proved everyone who wrote him off wrong. It has motivated me during the last decade to make great things happen.
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” - Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address
Thank you Mr. Jobs
In 1985, Doc Brown invented time travel and the first MacWorld Expo was held in San Francisco.
I attended the show as a co-founder of Aegis Development, where we previewed the game "The Pyramid of Peril"
You can see it at the show at 36 seconds into this clip:
Good times indeed.
Twenty Six years later and I'm back with a new game, this time created by the team at PlayScreen, PlayScreen BOCCE-BALL:
I think iPhone games are exciting now, as those original Mac games 26 years ago.
Stop by at MacWorld from January 27th to the 30th and play a frame or two.
Here's a story about a new "PlayStation Phone":
The PlayStation Phone, or PSPhone as I’ll call it, comes with Android as its OS – probably Gingerbread, although this wasn’t working very well on the prototype - a 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8655 CPU, half a gig of RAM, 1GB of ROM and a slide out physical ‘play area’.
So it doesn't appear to have a PSP display or run PSP Software.
Wow, can they really be that clueless?
The rope-a-dope is performed by a boxer assuming a protected stance, in Ali's classic pose, lying against the ropes, and allowing his opponent to hit him, toward the end that the opponent will tire and make mistakes which the boxer can exploit in a counter-attack.
In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, attempting thereby to become the eventual victor.
So today Apple announced that you'll be able to use alternative tools to create iPhone/iPad/iPod touch apps:
"... In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need."
But here's the thing, that's NOT Flash running as a plug-in in Safari. That's an Adobe tool that converts Flash applications into Native iOS applications which are submitted into the iTunes App Store, which Adobe has shown in the past.
With all the review processes and controls etc...
And at the same time Apple clarifies its rules on approvals. No 'junk' apps. Apps have to use iOS controls.
So, MTV is launching a new casual game to promote a TV series: