Opinion: iOS App Store Games Need Videos, Just like on Google Play

Cupertino simply won’t barge when it comes to the simplest of things

If there’s one thing the iOS and Mac App Stores have been missing from literally day one, it’s videos. This is one area where the Google Play Store, with all its flaws, trumps Apple’s and gives customers a quick overview of the app they’re buying without having to rummage through the developer’s site or YouTube to see the app in action.

Admittedly not all apps need demo videos to convince the buyer, and not all apps on Google Play come with videos. However, when you’re downloading a game from Google Play, you can bet there will be some gameplay footage there for you to watch and decide on the spot if it’s worth your time and money.

Gameplay footage is a key purchase driver and it amazes me how Apple, of all companies, has lagged behind in this area. Not to mention that Google’s screenshots are also expandable to full size, so you can really see what you’re paying for.

There are of course some areas where Google itself could do some extra tidying up. For instance, they should really do the sensible thing and just list the in-app purchases that a game has inside. Apple, for all its lack of transparency, passes this test with flying colors.

Admittedly, there are a few examples of iOS apps that also come with a demo video / trailer, but in my six-year reporting I’ve only stumbled across one or two at most.

Another benefit of having a demo video next to the screenshots is to make an idea of what the game will feel like when you actually play it. Sure you can paint a pretty accurate picture of the action just by looking at the screenshots, but there are thousands of games that have gorgeous graphics and little to no movement of the characters/objects on the screen (i.e. like Chinese cartoons).

By asking developers to include gameplay footage, Apple would also help curate the App Store of useless titles. Customers would instantly be able to decide if a game is worth playing or not, and by not downloading it they would not promote it, leaving upper slots available for apps that deserve more attention.

Apps that display more ads than necessary should also be sanctioned by this system, and we’d soon enjoy a much healthier App Store, both for developers and for end users. So what do you guys think? Should Apple start asking developers to submit videos along with their binaries?


This is a Personal Thoughts piece reflecting the author’s personal opinion on matters relating to Apple and / or the products associated with the Apple brand. This article should not be taken as the official stance of Softpedia on Apple-related matters.

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