iPhone Life magazine

Games

Apple News: iOS 7.1 Is Just a Little Bit Safer When It Comes to In-App Purchases

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I have a love-hate relationship with In-App Purchases (IAPs.) As a developer, Apple has been encouraging me to adopt IAPs. In theory, IAPs seem like a way to make a living off apps while giving users a free taste. As a user, I don't like them. I think when you download an app, you should own it and all the promised features. So in the PRO versions of my apps, there are no IAPs. And in the past, my free apps had advertisements with the only "upsell" being a link to the PRO version for unlimited features without ads. But Apple representatives told me personally at the Worldwide Developers Conference and at their Tech Talk Tours that I really should be using IAPs. When Apple talks, I listen. So some of my apps now have such purchase options. But on the IAP selling page, I rebel against the machine and tell users that the best deal is to buy the PRO version!



Tales of the Sanctuary: Chapter 1 Won't Make The Big Players Sweat

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With G5 and Big Fish Games on the iOS scene there is certainly no shortage of quality hidden-object and adventure games for your Apple-centric gadgets. With all the AAA titles available, though, it does make it a lot harder for the small developer to compete. Tales Of the Sanctuary: Chapter 1 ($0.99) makes an admirable attempt at doing something different, and I will admit to gleaning an odd sense of enjoyment from the game. In the end though, the game felt a bit too piecemeal for me. A bit more coherence would have gone a long way with this tale.



The Siberia Elite: An Early Contender for Best Over-Ear Headphone of 2014

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SteelSeries has garnered an international reputation as a leading company in both cutting edge personal listening gear, as well as gaming accessories, including what is in my opinion, the best MFi iOS game controller on the market, the StratusTheir Siberia Elite headphone ($199.99) are already considered a high-level, gaming-specific headphone, but read on to find out how they stack up as a dual purpose headphone, one that shines as both a gamer’s premium headset, as well as an audiophile’s dream headphone.



Game Centered: Featuring a New MFi Gaming Accessory and Brand New Games.

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store's myriad games, it's all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition. In this week's installment we'll take a look at some intriguing new games that recently landed in the App Store, as well as a competitive new MFi game controller that's about to hit the market.



Game Centered: Special Kids' Games Edition

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition. This edition of Game Centered features fun and entertaining games that are perfect for young children.



Freemium vs. Premium: A Generation Too Young To Know Better?

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The success of the freemium model is impossible to deny. Taking a look at the top grossing games in the App Store paints a clear picture. In 2013 all ten of the overall top grossing games were freemium titles. The highest grossing paid game, Minecraft ($6.99) only ranked 18th in overall top grossing games.

If you migrated to iOS gaming from a dedicated gaming device like XBox, Playstation, or even PCs then the freemium game model is most likely not that appealing. Likewise, if you came into iOS gaming as a veteran gamer of the 90s or early aughts, then overall the freemium game system is very likely viewed by you as a travesty.

And yet, this hotly debated new gaming modality is undeniably bringing in the big bucks, at least for certain developers and gaming houses. Enough game developers are making money exploiting the freemium model that the trend continues much to the dismay of what seems like the majority of dedicated gamers.



Bingo - Pharoah's Way

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Bingo - Pharoah's Way (Free)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Most of us have at one point in our lives played Bingo, but it still carries the stigma of just being a game played at various veteran's halls across the country. This game from Starlight Interactive looks to change that perception. Pharoah's Way Bingo takes the game of Bingo and embeds it in the era of Ancient Egypt, giving it a luxurious and somewhat mystical twist.



Game Centered: Hot New Freemium Games with a Freakish Twist.

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition.

If you read my recent article about freemium games it's possible you came away with the impression that I'm a freemium hater, which really couldn't be further from the truth. Though the current modality of freemium games could use a shot of ethics and integrity, there are nonetheless some awesome games out there that won't cost you a penny and even though they may offer plenty of in-app purchases, they don't limit your free-flowing enjoyment of the game.

This week’s Game Centered will make you feel like Halloween is just around the corner, instead of almost eight months away, and features three excellent and eerie entries in the freemium category.



Freemium vs Premium: The Rise of Pay-to-Play Games

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Image source, Distimo Report March 2013, "How The Most Successful Apps Monetize Their User Base"

Let me start by saying, not all freemium games are bad. There are some notable titles that don't intentionally extort dollars from gamers. Freemium games rely on what has been referred to as the "friction point," the point in which a game has limited your progress and you either have to wait for your energy to recharge, pay more money to continue, or proceed to grind away at a lower, less challenging level while scraping credits together to gain a more competitive edge. The challenge for many freemium game developers is walking that line between frustrating the gamer enough that they are willing to throw down real-world money to advance and not frustrating the gamer so much that they put the game down and don't come back. Distimo released an interesting report in March 2013 showing just how profitable it is for developers to walk this line.



Flappy Bird: The Short Life of the World’s Biggest Little Superstar

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In July of 2012, an independent game developer named Dong Nguyen from Vietnam, inspired by what could only be the same angelic muses that visited Poe and Hemingway during their creative slumbers, decided on a whim to create a game consisting of birds smashing into green plumbing.

In all seriousness, the brilliant mind behind the indie craze Flappy Bird created a game similar to others he designed within his .GEARS game development team: a repetitive and difficult throwback to 8-bit retro console games popular in Japan. As someone still addicted to Super Hexagon, VVVVV, and Super Meat Boy, I can attest that with Flappy Bird Nguyen hit a home run out of the park.



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