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"Apple is ahead of digital distribution rivals"

"Apple is ahead of digital distribution rivals"

Apple is leading the digital distribution wars, says the developer behind Rolando on the iPhone.

He may be a tiny bit biased but Simon Oliver, the indie developer behind Rolando on the iPhone, reckons that Apple is leading the digital distribution race by far and that companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are being increasingly left behind.

Talking to GI.biz, Oliver said that he'd considered creating Rolando for other platforms, such as Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, but saw that Apple's AppStore was much better in nearly every way.

"Well, XNA was good, and this was before the whole community games thing," he said. "At the time, you could develop games, but there was no way of getting them out there. That was probably the primary reason at the time that I discounted it as a platform to work on."

"The thing about the iPhone is that the distribution is phenomenally good as well - the cut that Apple takes is great, and is so streamlined. You compare it to WiiWare, or even XBLA, it's such a streamlined process. You can do it via computer, via your phone, it's very easy and the automatic updating system is just fantastic."

Oliver continued to point out that the rising market share of the iPhone was a good indicator of how well the AppStore was working and that, though Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony were trying to catch up, Apple had already outdistanced them.

"Nowadays, I think there's a certain amount of response from guys like Sony and Nintendo to this, and there are rumours of what's going to be on PSP 2 in terms of digital downloads, plus there's the DSi and DSWare, WiiWare, etc," he said.

"But I think Apple's placed so far ahead, there's going to have to be a rapid reaction from the others - just in terms of the sheer amount of the content that's produced. Obviously there's not the same level of quality control that you get on XBLA or WiiWare, but I think you'll get so many more interesting games on the iPhone because the barrier to entry is so unbelievably low."

Hmm. Interesting how Oliver doesn't touch on PC digital distribution platforms. We wonder what he thinks about Steam, Impulse and Greenhouse. Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the forums and check out our round-up of iPhone games to see what titles we recommend at the moment.

7 Comments

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[USRF]Obiwan 21st April 2009, 12:25 Quote
Valve is waaay ahead of Apple.
dyzophoria 21st April 2009, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
He may be a tiny bit biased

I think tiny bit is an understatement . lol
Ross1 21st April 2009, 12:51 Quote
Its nice to that a large amount of shovel ware is being directed where it wont bother me.
Skiddywinks 21st April 2009, 15:01 Quote
I think everything quote in that article can safely be ignored as largely biased bullshit.
Sebbo 21st April 2009, 15:09 Quote
Apple may have a streamlined distribution model, but as for development you're basically screwed as an indie dev unless you have two things:
1) An Intel Mac of some sort
2) extra money to splash around to purchase (1), and the US$500 Apple Developer Membership to even be able to run your own code on your own iPhone!
All fine and dandy for those who have them, for everyone else, Steam and XNA are surely better options (Steam for their distribution model, XNA because it is quite easy)
Boogle 21st April 2009, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebbo
Apple may have a streamlined distribution model, but as for development you're basically screwed as an indie dev unless you have two things:
1) An Intel Mac of some sort
2) extra money to splash around to purchase (1), and the US$500 Apple Developer Membership to even be able to run your own code on your own iPhone!
All fine and dandy for those who have them, for everyone else, Steam and XNA are surely better options (Steam for their distribution model, XNA because it is quite easy)

1. All Macs are Intel macs now - and they're not that expensive. A mac mini uses your existing kit - for entry to a non-PC platform its dirt cheap. You can always make a hacintosh for your initial dev.
2. Apple iphone dev license is $99 (£59 in the UK). It lasts for a year, and has to be renewed. However, if you don't want to use any hardware-specific features (accelerometer, GPS, etc.) then the simulator works fine and you don't need to spend the $99. Compared to console license fees, $99 might as well be free - I'm sure its just to weed out any script kiddies who want to send hundreds of rubbish apps at Apple's application process. Still $99 for a system where you make an app, submit it to Apple, and they then handle EVERYTHING. You just worry about marketing (most don't even worry about that). Their cut is also one of the lowest cuts in the industry - 30%.
3. Ye, I know you didn't have a 3rd, but I'm adding one. Programming for the iphone is fun. It has somewhat basic resource-constrained hardware which is always entertaining to work with.

While the guy is biased, he's far from outright wrong. I've been in a similar situation, and the iphone is by far the easiest non-PC development platform to target. Hell, given the somewhat low costs involved, it makes for a fun diversion for us full-time programmers with the potential for your little apps to make you some pocket money on the side.
Dreaming 21st April 2009, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]Valve is waaay ahead of Apple.

This by about a million times.
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