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Just like millions of other people I was really excited when Apple announced the AppStore for the iPhone. I immediately thought that this could be the thing that makes the iPhone a great buy despite the hardware failings (pretty cruddy camera, no video recording, no real bluetooth support, etc.). However, it wasn’t long until I no longer felt this way.
First there was the fucking NDA that created an inhospitable environment around iPhone-development and made it impossible to build any kind of community around it. Apple finally made good on that one but it took way too long and that they had that crap in place to start with is inexcusable anyway. What were they thinking?
Secondly, and this is a big problem that still remains, there’s the whole fiasco with the approval process to get your apps to the AppStore. Since Apple has the final say-so on what gets published on the AppStore and there is no other way to get apps on a non-hacked iPhone if they deny your application to publish your app on the AppStore you’re shit out of luck.
Now that’s bad enough, but what makes it even worse is that there seems to be no clear guidelines as to what gets approved and what doesn’t. Some apps have been denied while other apps with almost the same functionality have been approved. Is there an official way to appeal a denial? I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.
One app in particular stirred up a lot of attention from the blogosphere and the internet in general, the NIN-app, published by the band Nine Inch Nails. The whole debacle has been well publicized elsewhere so I’ll not get into it in detail but basically the app was first approved but then just a short while later the developers released an update which was denied into the AppStore, which in turn, if I’m not mistaken, made the app unavailable on the AppStore. The reason for this was that you could apparently access some son (via streaming I believe) that had “offensive lyrics” or something like that through the app. OMG! There’s swear words on the internet? Meanwhile you can buy a million gangsta-rap songs on iTunes that contain a multitude of fucks, motherfuckers, “kill whitey”, bitch and other “offensive” things as part of their lyrics. But I guess that’s OK since those songs supply Apple with steady revenue.
Anyway, after a couple of days of uproar on the web by thousands of Nine Inch Nails-fans the app was re-evaluated and finally approved. Now what if this app hadn’t been published by a successfull rockgroup with a very solid and borderline rabid fanbase? Apple themselves have bragged about how awesome the AppStore is because it has turned one man software development companies into successfull businessess and enabled developers to live the dream of being their own boss and still make a solid living. What if an app developed by one of those companies was rejected for some obscure and/or stupid reason thus strangulating their cash flow completely? That could mean disaster and bankruptcy in a worst case scenario and how do we know this hasn’t happened already to some poor unfortunate developer?
Now another app has been rejected for the most moronic reason. As reported by Torrentfreak.com a remote control app for the popular cross-platform BitTorrent-client Transmission has been rejected because according to Apple “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights”. That is such total and utter bullshit! You’d think that a company that actually makes software would know better than to damnify an entire class of technology because it “could be used to do wrong”. Hey, let’s ban Safari then because using any web browser you can easily find illegal stuff on the internet and download it and you could also use it to access the web-GUI for Transmission! Let’s ban cars because they can be used as getaway-vehicles in bank robberies. BitTorrent in itself is just a protocol and it’s used for lots of legitimate things. Banning applications based on them using a specific kind of technology is stupid beyond belief.
Just a couple of weeks ago, days before the whole Nine Inch Nails-thing got started, I was seriously contemplating getting an iPhone since the prices have now dropped to a reasonable level and the amount of good apps appeared to make it a good choice for a new cellphone, which I am very much in need of. I was also looking at the Android-phone, the G1, and thinking it may also be a good alternative. I do however own an iPod touch which I love. It really is an awesome device which I use everyday. But if I could have that plus a great cellphone in the same device that would be very nice. For this reason I may never completely be able to write off the iPhone as a candidate for a future cellphone.
However, with all of the crap that’s been going on around the AppStore lately I’m really not considering an iPhone anymore. So now I’m basically holding out for the next generation of Android-phones. The Android-software is just as good as the iPhone-software, maybe not as sexy and Apple-ish but I can live with that, and most of all it is based on open source and a platform not encumbered by the problems discussed in this post. So you could say that you lost me again Apple, and for such stupid reasons.
What Apple should do is let people install whatever the hell they want on their phones. If I bought the phone and paid for it I should be allowed to do whatever I want with it. If I want to install an application that floods my screen with random swear words who are they to decide that isn’t appropriate? If I want to use an iPhone to monitor my torrent-downloads that’s none of their business. If I’m doing something illegal that’s what we have law enforcement for. Basically, butt out of your customers’ business Cupertinoites.
Naturally, they should keep the AppStore because it is great to have a source for apps that Apple vouches for so to speak. But if I wanna take a risk and install something that Apple doesn’t deem worthy of publishing in the AppStore I should still be able to do that. This would benefit everybody involved, developers, iPhone-owners and Apple themselves, since it would make the iPhone an even more appealing platform.
But until radical changes are made I’m most likely to go Android for my next cellphone. The future will tell.
Every now and again it happens that a much anticipated game gets canceled or for some other reason never gets released.
In recent memory there’s “Manhunt 2” which was stopped completely but has since then, after it’s developer Rockstar Games had censored parts of the game, been released for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii and PSP in the US. Europe has yet to see it’s release since the BBFC rejected even the modified version of the game.
Also there is the case of “Project H.A.M.M.E.R.”, a game for the Nintendo Wii announced at E3 2006 which received much initial interest from the gaming community, myself included. The prospect of playing a raging cyborg armed with a huge hammer in his quest to cause massive blunt-force trauma to evil alien robots was one hard to pass on, especially considering the Wii’s controls. The Wiimote was practically made for games like this.
However, for reasons unknown “Project H.A.M.M.E.R.” will probably never see the light of day since Nintendo decided to cancel or “pause” indefinitely it’s development earlier this year.
When I read about this I was beside myself with disappointment and quite a bit pissed off, that’s how much I’d been looking forward to crushing malevolent robots with my Wiimote.
Why Nintendo would decide to cancel a game that has already received a fair bit of push and exposure, and that there has obviously existed some sort of playable demo of for well over a year, is beyond me. I think it’s a waste and really stupid.
But OK, so they will not finish “Project H.A.M.M.E.R.” and I’ll have to live with that, but what about that demo that they showed at E3 last year? Could we have that? Slap it up on The Shopping Channel and make it a cheap download. That would at least make me a little happier. At least then we can crush a couple of robots and delight in some aggressive flailing of the Wiimote, even if it’s not a full game.
As a matter of fact, why doesn’t the game companies do the same for other titles that get canceled but are still kind of playable? I’m sure plenty of gamers would be willing to fork over $5 or something like that for a small morsel of what could’ve been. I know I certainly would.
The “Manhunt 2” story got a lot funnier a couple of weeks ago when it was widely reported that the fully playable uncensored version for the PS2 was available for download in various locations. It made me chuckle to say the least, but it was no surprise – I knew this would happen sooner or later.
The gaming world wants “Manhunt 2” and it wants it unedited and uncensored. I’m not saying that the final release isn’t a great game even though lots of gore has been taken out of it, but the uncensored version is really the game as it was meant to be, and that’s way the gamers want it.
It’s later been revealed that the leak that put the game out there for download was someone working at Sony in Europe. Normally I wouldn’t condone this sort of behavior, making intellectual property available for illegal download I mean, but in this case I say give the guy a friggin’ medal!
I have no idea why this guy took the risk and did what he did, but I’m hoping it has to do with him being someone who actually gives a shit about gaming as an art form and understands that as such the uncensored game deserves to be made available.
More than anything though, this effectively shows that censorship doesn’t work and is just plain stupid. Just like me and my friends found a way to get uncut copies of gory horror movies back when I was a teenager, as long as an uncensored version exists of a game or any other kind of media, it will eventually end up in the hands of those who really want it.
So let grown ups decide for themselves what they want to play or watch. Period. Censorship is stupid and doesn’t work.
And give us the spoils of your canceled projects. Now.
If you read gaming news or even other news sources there’s no way you’ve not already heard about the controversy stirred up by the sequel to the stalk-and-slashfest “Manhunt” from Rockstar Games. But now the shit has really hit the fan.
Apparently Nintendo will not allow the release of “Manhunt 2” for the Wii unless it gets a “better” rating, and this sucks so bad. Now if that isn’t bad enough, Sony seems to feel the same way!
I’ve been looking forward to this game ever since it was announced for the Wii. I love the original “Manhunt” on the PS2. It’s an awesome, if fairly violent and gruesome, horror-game that I enjoy thuroughly for hours at a time. It’s chilling realism and details such as that for once the hero of the game isn’t some superhuman commando-type dude with tons of weaponry at his disposal makes it a really special game. I wouldn’t call it revolutionary but none the less it’s a great game if you’re the least bit into the horror-genre and can stomach the gore.