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  • PC Game Prices — Valve Starts the Race To Zero

    An anonymous reader writes "Last week Valve made an interesting but seemingly innocuous announcement: they're giving game developers control of their own pricing on Steam. Nicholas Lovell now claims that this has effectively kicked off a race to zero for PC game pricing. He says what's starting to happen now will mirror what's happened to mobile gaming over the past several years. Quoting: 'Free is the dominant price point on mobile platforms. Why? Because the two main players don't care much about making money from the sale of software, or even In-App Purchases. The AppStore is less than 1% of Apple's revenue. Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world on the strength of making high-margin, well-designed, highly-desirable hardware. ... Google didn't create Android to sell software. It built Android to create an economic moat. ... In the case of both iOS and Android, keeping prices high for software would have been in direct opposition to the core businesses of Apple (hardware) and Google (search-related advertising). The only reason that ebooks are not yet free is that Amazon's core business is retail, not hardware. ... Which brings me to Steam. The Steambox is a competitor to consoles, created by Valve. It is supposed to provide an out-of-the-box PC gaming experience, although it struggles to compete on either price or on marketing with the consoles. It doesn't seem as if Steam is keen to subsidize the costs of the box, not to the level that Microsoft and Sony are. But what if Steam's [unique selling point] was thousands or tens of thousands of games for free?'"

    212 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • EA's Dungeon Keeper Ratings Below a 5 Go To Email Black Hole

    fplatten writes "I would definitely call this unethical manipulation of the ratings system: the Worst Company in America, EA is routing all ratings made in game of 1 to 4 stars as an email that is sent to EA, but all 5 star ratings are routed to the Google Play store, where its rating is currently 4.3 out of 5."

    367 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Google Charging OEMs Licensing Fees For Play Store

    An anonymous reader writes "Google has begun charging OEMs for access to its proprietary Play Store applications for Android though the reported amount is as low as 75c per device. Between charging OEMs for Google Play apps, showing ads within these apps (Search, Maps and GMail) and profiling users with the data it collects this does show that Google is willing to leverage their stranglehold on the mobile market to control and monetize wherever it can. Add that these proprietary applications and the proprietary Google Play Services are the primary areas for Android innovation and development and you end up with an operating system that is less and less 'free' in the freedom and cost senses of the word."

    225 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Japan To Tax Online Sales Of Foreign-Made Content

    Qedward writes with this except from CIO. "Japan is planning to tax sales of foreign online content such as e-books, apps and downloaded music by late 2015. Japanese who purchase electronic content from foreign firms like Amazon.com through overseas servers don't have to pay consumption tax, currently at 5% but slated to rise to 8% in April. That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically. Physical products purchased from abroad are hit with consumption tax when they clear customs in Japan, but no such levy exists for online goods. The government plans to close the loophole and make foreign vendors selling consumer goods register with tax authorities and pay the tax. Japanese corporations that buy foreign electronic content such as business software, however, will have to pay the tax directly to the Japanese tax authorities, Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning."

    59 comments | about 3 months ago

  • Apple Pushes Developers To iOS 7

    Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chuong Nguyen reports that Apple is forcing developers to adopt iOS 7's visual UI for their apps, and has advised iOS developers that all apps submitted after February 1, 2014 must be optimized for iOS 7 and built using Xcode 5 ... 'It's likely that Apple is more anxious than ever for developers to update their apps to fit in visually and mechanically with iOS 7, as it's the largest change in the history of Apple's mobile software,' says Matthew Panzarino. 'iOS 7 introduced a much more complex physical language while stripping out many of the visual cues that developers had relied on to instruct users. For better or worse, this has created a new aesthetic that many un-updated apps did not reflect.' Most app developers have been building apps optimized towards iOS 7 since Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June 2013. Apple has been on a push over the past couple of years to encourage developers to support the latest editions of its OS faster than ever. To do this, it's made a habit of pointing out the adoption rates of new versions of iOS, which are extremely high. Nearly every event mentions iOS 7 adoption, which now tops 76% of all iOS users, and Apple publishes current statistics. In order to optimize apps for the new operating system, they must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 which includes 64-bit support and access to new features like backgrounding APIs."

    336 comments | about 4 months ago

  • CyanogenMod Installer Removed From Google Play Store

    sfcrazy writes "[Wednesday] Google asked the CM team to voluntarily remove the [CyanogenMod installer] app from the store or they would be forced to remove it administratively. CM team chose to remove the app voluntarily. According to the CyanogenMod team, Google initially said that the app was in violation of Google's Play's developer terms. When the CM team reached out to the Play team, they found that 'though application itself is harmless, and not actually in violation of their Terms of Service, since it 'encourages users to void their warranty', it would not be allowed to remain in the store.'" You can still install manually, though.

    255 comments | about 5 months ago

  • 1.2% of Apps On Google Play Are Repackaged To Deliver Ads, Collect Info

    An anonymous reader writes "Not a month goes by without security researchers finding new malicious apps on Google Play. According to BitDefender, more than one percent of 420,000+ analyzed apps offered on Google's official Android store are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. In the long run, their existence hurts the users, the legitimate developers, and Google's reputation in general. Google Play has recently surpassed the one million mark when it comes to the apps it offers, and the researchers have analyzed a good chunk of the total in order to discover just how many are hiding their true nature."

    131 comments | about 5 months ago

  • Nathan Myhrvold's $500 Cookbook Now an $80 iPhone App

    Nathan Myhrvold's six-volume foodie encyclopedia, Modernist Cuisine, writes reader SmartAboutThings, is one of the most expensive cooking encyclopedias, the original six-volume version retailing for $500, with the two-volume addition that followed after that selling for $115. "Now, Nathan and his team have transformed their huge food encyclopedia into an iPhone/iPad app. It's not just a digital book, but rather an expensive $80 interactive app that can do more than just provide recipes. The interactive digital cookbook is the fruit of a development team of 10-15 people that have worked over nine months on the project. The app contains 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos."

    193 comments | about 5 months ago

  • Blackberry BBM App and Suspicious Google Play Ratings

    sl4shd0rk writes "In what could be an act of desparation of a company in it's death throes, Blackberry has submitted their BBM messaging application to Google Play for download. While this may seem like a logical path for a company on life-support, what wasn't expected is the sheer number of identical 5-star reviews the application has received since being posted. In what appears to be review 'ballot stuffing,' it poses the questions of just how Google is going to handle the subject of manufactured reviews as well as how many other entities have engaged in the same behavior. The same problems have plagued Amazon's review system as well bringing into question the validity of 'crowd based review' and whether it's possible to legitimize this type of system." The linked article points out that the suspicious posts may be the result of ballot stuffing intended to hype one of the unofficial Blackberry apps, rather than RIM's own.

    67 comments | about 6 months ago

  • Single Developer Responsible For Over 47k Apps In BlackBerry World

    hypnosec writes "If you are a BlackBerry owner, navigate to BlackBerry World (or just visit the website) and you will find that developer S4BB has developed over 47k apps for the BB platform. Unsurprisingly, most of them are just spammy apps that don't add any value. Apps like 'Restart Me Free,' 'Daily Quote,' 'Lock for SMS,' 'Search for Amazon,' 'Silent Foto Free' are just a few among the thousands of apps on BlackBerry World that actually have no utility whatsoever. BlackBerry announced back in May that developers were increasingly interested in making apps for the platform, and that BlackBerry World had more than 120,000 apps. This raises questions about the authenticity of the claims, and about the approval process that's been accepting these apps. S4BB may have a few useful apps for the platform, but that doesn't mean all of their apps are of 'A' quality. A statement from BlackBerry said, 'Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics.'"

    176 comments | about 8 months ago

  • VLC For iOS Returns On July 19, Rewritten and Fully Open-Sourced

    An anonymous reader writes "VideoLAN revealed some very exciting news today: VLC for iOS will be back in Apple's App Store by tomorrow (July 19). The company tells TNW the app will be available for free worldwide, requires iOS 5.1 or later, as well supports the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. As you can expect, VLC for iOS version 2.0 will be open-source. This time, however, its code will be available online (also by tomorrow), bi-licensed under both the Mozilla Public License Version 2 as well as the GNU General Public License Version 2 or later."

    203 comments | about 9 months ago

  • Android Master Key Vulnerability Checker Now Live

    darthcamaro writes "Last week, Rain Forrest Puppy (aka Jeff Forristal) first disclosed the initial public report about an Android Master Key flaw. Code was released earlier this week for attackers to exploit the flaw — but what about users? Google has claimed that it has patched the issue but how do you know if your phone/carrier is safe? Forristal's company now has an app for that. But even if your phone is not patched, don't be too worried that risks are limited if you still to a 'safe' app store like Google Play. 'The only way an Android user can be attacked via this master key flaw is if they download a vulnerable application. "It all comes down to where you get your applications from," Forristal said.'"

    76 comments | about 9 months ago

  • Apple and Amazon End Lawsuit Over the Term 'App Store'

    An anonymous reader writes "After months of back and forth legal filings, Amazon and Apple have finally ended their ongoing dispute centering on Amazon's use of the term 'App Store.' As part of the agreement, Apple agreed to drop the suit and Amazon promised not to counter-sue Apple in the future. Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said that 'we no longer see a need to pursue our case. With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.' Apple initially sued Amazon back in March of 2011 alleging that the online retailer's use of the phrase 'App Store' in its mobile software developer program constituted trademark infringement. Apple expressed that allowing Amazon to continue to use the phrase 'App Store' would ultimately confuse consumers who associate the phrase with Apple's app store for iOS apps."

    79 comments | about 9 months ago

  • Amazon Debuts Multi-Platform Indie Games Store

    An anonymous reader writes "Amazon today announced an initiative to help indie game developers promote and sell their games: the Indie Games Store. The dedicated storefront is a new category in Amazon's Digital Video Games Store, designed specifically to help indie games for PC, Mac, and the Web get noticed. The store appears to be US-only, but if you don't live there you should be able to get away with just putting in an American address. Most of the games are Steam downloads, so where you are in the world shouldn't matter too much."

    67 comments | about a year ago

  • Vine Launches On Android

    Dawn Kawamoto writes "Twitter's free social media video app Vine is now on Android. But while the app rocked on the iOS platform, especially among teens, its move to Android has...dare I say...been a bit of a tangled mess. It launched on Google play without the capability for the two apps to sync, nor does it have such features as front-facing camera, search, mentions and hashtags. Another biggie is it doesn't yet allow users to post their six-second videos to Facebook. Vine says it's working on these features and all should be good soon. For now, however, a swing on the vine may not be a robust experience."

    33 comments | about a year ago

  • UK Gov To Investigate 'Aggressive' In-app Purchases

    hypnosec writes "The UK Government will be examining whether free to download apps are putting unfair pressure on kids to pay up for additional content within the game through in-app purchases. Office of Fair Trading (OFT), UK, will be carrying out the investigation of games that include 'commercially aggressive' in-app purchases after a number of cases have been reported whereby parents have incurred huge bills after their kids have spent huge amounts on in-app purchases."

    152 comments | 1 year,10 days

  • Why AppGratis Was Pulled From the App Store

    RougeFemme writes "By now, you may know that AppGratis, a popular app discovery app, was recently pulled from the App store. Apple listed violations of the following guidelines: '2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected. ... 5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.' Now, the company's CEO, Simon Dawlat, has made a blog post with 'the rest of the story.'" As it turns out, AppGratis had been cleared by Apple for guideline 2.25 as recently as October, and its iPad version was approved less than a week ago. The brand new Apple review team member who contacted the company isn't able to explain what went into the decision to ban it now. Dalwat says the complaint about guideline 5.6 was 'another surprise for us since we only send one "system notification" a day to our users, coming in the form of a generic, opt-in only "Today’s deal is here!" message, which is precisely how Apple recommends developers to use its push notification service.'" However, the AllThingsD article cites sources claiming Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure." Dalwat does not address this in his post.

    146 comments | 1 year,13 days

  • SkyDrive 3.0: Microsoft Gave Up Fighting Apple's 30% Cut

    An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday released SkyDrive 3.0 for iOS out of the blue. Last time the app was in the news, Apple was stopping Microsoft from pushing out an update in the App Store because the company doesn't pay a 30 percent cut of the subscription revenue it generates. Now we've learned how Microsoft managed to update its iOS app today. 'We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told TNW. 'The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.' Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"

    121 comments | 1 year,19 days

  • Apple Finally Fixes Unencrypted App Store Login

    Deekin_Scalesinger writes "More than eighteen months after being first brought to Cupertino's attention, Apple gets around to addressing insecure logins to the App Store. In theory, this could be used to view lists of installed apps and make unauthorized purchases." Yep, they were sending login information over plain http.

    52 comments | about a year ago

  • Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android?

    First time accepted submitter aNonnyMouseCowered writes "One of my favorite freeware Android applications has been pulled from the Google Play app store. While I found a replacement for the app, I've decided to install only apps that won't become obsolete merely because of the developer's whim or lack of interest. With the exception of games, which I don't deem essential for work, I don't want to install potential abandonware even if they cost the pauperly sum of $0.00. My decision has thus far meant installing a relatively crude text editor like BusyBox's version of vi, rather than any one of those full-blown mobile office suites. I've found a short list of open source Android apps at Wikipedia, including the usual suspects, Firefox and the VLC media player. There are also links to two other sites at the end of the article. But even the more comprehensive listings have large gaps in them even when compared 'merely' to the programs available in a typical GNU/Linux repository. So can anyone recommend useful or even just fun Free, Libre and Open Source Software for an Android smartphone or tablet? Free virtual beer to those that can find links for FLOSS programs for editing audiovisual media (Blender for Android?) and documents more sophisticated than HTML."

    134 comments | about a year ago

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