Tommy Refenes, co-developer of the Zits & Giggles iPhone application, may be regretting letting loose on a rant a little more than a week ago. Apple has taken down his moderately successful Apple game – which had been up with no complaints since March of last year.
It all started last week at the Game Developer’s Conference during the “Indie Game Developer’s Rant,” where Refenes referred to Apple’s App Store as “awful” and “horrible” before going on to state how he “absolutely ****ing hate[s] the iPhone app store.”
Days later, Apple told him his application was no longer welcome at their digital outlet, and offered him no reason as to why it was taken down:
They gave me no explanation at all as to why they took it down, I’m guessing they are mad that I said their store sucks and the iPhone is a Tiger handheld and they took it down.
Refenes indeed compared the iPhone’s application market to the low-quality games from the handheld Tiger systems of the late 80s and early 90s, which were sort of the N-Gages of their time.
However, there may be another reason as to why Zits & Giggles was taken down (though you’ve got to admit, the timing here is pretty coincidental). As a test, Refenes increased the price of his application months ago to $15, during which three people bought the game on the first day of new pricing. He then increased the price to $50, with four people buying it that day. Somehow, Refenes was able to control his laughter long enough to raise the price to $299 in February, and fourteen people still bought it during that month. And on Monday, March 15th – which was the applications last day on the app store – someone bought it for the supple price of $400.
Apple has not stated whether ridiculous pricing is considered breaking the terms and service agreements that applications have to abide by.
In either event, it’s safe to say that trashing the people selling your games isn’t a good idea. Apparently, however, we all might as well quit our day jobs and sell $400 zit popping applications, because somewhere people will still buy them.
What do you think of Apple’s decision to take the game down? Do you think it’s because of his rant at the GDC? Would you ever pay more than $20 – or $200 – for an application?