Archive for July, 2009

Super Trumps Michael Jackson rejected

Webview Super Trumps Michael Jackson

It’s sad, but it’s true: After 25 days of review process our latest Super Trumps application “Michael Jackson” has been rejected.
The reason is:

We’ve reviewed Supertrumpf Michael Jackson and have determined that we cannot post your application because it appears to contain content owned by the Michael Jackson rights holders. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept Michael Jackson related applications not authorized by Michael Jackson’s estate.

Let’s unfurl the whole story: As fans of Michael Jackson (I’ve seen the “King of Pop” live in Nuremberg on his “Bad” tour in the late 80s) we’ve been shocked when we first heard of his unexpected death. We immediately decided to honor the greatest Pop entertainer in history with a branch of our Super Trumps game. Within the game one could play with 32 cards of Michael Jackson’s hits. We’ve been using data and images from Wikipedia under free licenses.

But Apple seems to be frightened of getting complaints by the heirs of the legal rights of Jackos assets. We’ve been wondering why there’s no single Michael Jackson app in store – even no app after one month since his death.
Meanwhile the app review process is getting a little bit farcical! While the “great players” have no problems to bring their updates within a few days through review process, the “lone warriors” and small companies are seeing themselves nerved by partially irreproducible  rejection reasons.
And then this ridiculous  handling of the age rating. Three days ago a new weather app by the German TV station RTL has been published to store – with age rating 17+ (affiliate link).

While Apple is making efforts in enhancing the App Store it would be even more necessary to enhance the app review process and the responsible team of reviewers!
Our “Super Trumps Trains” with high-speed trains is waiting since 24 days for submission to the App Store! Today I received a short notice that the review process will require an unexpected additional time for review. For what?! It’s the same code like all our other Super Trumps games – just other data and media files. Gee!

Finally Super Trumps (Cars) are back in Store

After 11 days of impatient waiting and after one rejection Apple finally reviewed the emergency update of our Super Trumps with cars. Now all early updaters of the faulty update version 1.4 can correct the broken version with the new one. We apologize again for all that trouble!

Also the updates for our other Super Trumps games with bikes, guns and aircrafts are online since the day before yesterday. In all four Super Trumps games the following changes were made:

  • Compatible with iPhone OS 3.0
  • Lot of memory and speed enhancements
  • Bug-fix: Disabled the possibility to touch value buttons while it’s iPhone’s turn
  • By user request: Country flag of compared card is shown now

Now we are still waiting for Super Trumps Trains and Super Trumps Michael Jackson to get reviewed by Apple. We’ll keep you informed.

Suffering from modus operandi of reviewer team

The last 48 hours we had a lot of “fun”, caused by the app reviewer team at Apple. The over-worked folk in the review team won’t harm us intentionally, of course not. But their actions have caused much stress:

  1. They published the version 1.4 of our Super Trumps to the App Store, *although* there is a major problem. The result: 142 customers, who downloaded the update, can now play only the lite version and are nerved by a dialog, stating that they are using a piracy copy … they are not!
    We have immediately  removed the app from store and distributed a new version. Now we’re hoping that the reviewer team will review this non-faulty version as soon as possible.
  2. The recent update of our Super Trumps Aircrafts has been rejected, because “it violates section 3.3.6 of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”. When a game has ended the received points are automatically submitted to our online high score list. Apple wants that a user is informed before his data is collected and send elsewhere. Strange that Apple hasn’t moaned about that missing information before. We’ve done so since the first release of Super Trumps in April … we’ve been doing so with every Super Trumps app and with all versions. Why complaining only now?
    We have already send an update for all our Super Trumps apps to Apple reviewer team with an intermediate step: After the game has ended the user can decide whether to submit the received score to the online highscore or not.
  3. Because I’ve been always a great fan of Michael Jackson (I’ve seen him live at his “Bad” tour in Nuremberg in the late 80’s!) and I’ve been shocked by his early death we have developed a Super Trumps app with hit singles by The King of Pop. Already 5 days (!) after submission to reviewer team I got a message with the following content:

    “Your application, Supertrumpf Michael Jackson, is requiring unexpected additional time for review.   We apologize for the delay, and will update you with further status as soon as we are able.
    Thank you for your patience.”

    Yes, thanks! Hmmm, a “additional time for review” for what reason? Because hundreds of developers have submitted a Michael Jackson Remembrance app? Because Apple wants to avoid that developers make big bucks (and also Apple, 30%!) with his death, because that would be impious? Because Apple is frightened that these apps might contain proprietary material?
    I hope that it’s because of reason one!

Phew, a lot to accept within about 10 hours … but we won’t give up but going on with the struggle. Dear Apple, please professionalize your app reviewer team and extend the team as soon as possible! A lot of developers all over the world would be thankful for that professionalization.

What shall we do for 3.0?

The new iPhone OS 3.0 is great, the list of the new features is a long one. So we, as Developers, Developers, Developers!, are questioning: What shall we do for 3.0? We’re planning  a lot, above all multiplayer game with peer-to-peer, some In-App-Purchase and other stuff, which we find cool and of what we’re thinking that our customers will love it.

But our developer friend Oliver Drobnik, who is always on the ball when it’s about “the next step”, is asking the clever question: Which OS Version to target? At his blog he is offering quite interesting stats about the percentile allocation of the different iPhone OS version, installed on the user devices. You can read all the facts at his blog, which is always a font of wisdom to me. In short: At the moment only 4.5% of all apps in the Apple App Store are presuming OS 3.0. According to AdMob stats about free apps 44% of the iPhone owners are yet using 3.0, but only 1% of the iPod Touch users, because apple is demanding 10$ for the upgrade. 78% of the Touch users are still using the version 2.2.1.

Hmmm, regarding these numbers the question is truly, whether a developer team should put all their ressources into the development of a 3.0-only feature, when not even the half of their potential customers can use them. Even for us the question is important, because we have a lot of iPod Touch users with our Super Trumps games (about 37%).

To emphasise this we’ll answer Oliver with our own stats, collected with the submission of received points to our online highscore.
To cut a long story short: At least a fourth is already using 3.0, that’s not bad! But nearly two-thirds are still running 2.2.1. What does that mean? Not overmuch. We will still abide by publishing a peer-2-peer multiplayer option for Super Trumps, because also we would love to play the game with a dear friend or our kids.

usediphoneos

But every developer team should keep the fact at the back of their minds, that it takes a longer time until the majority of the devices are updated to the newest OS version. So don’t make the mistake to forget about the loyal customers, which are always waiting some time before updating, just to have always the most advanced technology in your applications.

Catastrophe with update 1.4 of our Super Trumps (Cars)

Theres a bug

A catastrophe happend to the update version 1.4 of our Super Trumps card game with cars for iPhone.

Because we’ve been a victim of crack kiddies and a cracked version of our first Super Trumps has circulated in the internet, we’d established an “anti crack” mechanism by the help of Oliver Drobnik. This mechanism detects whether the copy of our app is a regular bought one or a piracy version. If latter the app is automatically changed to a lite version (only 8 instead of 32 playing cards, only 2 instead of 10 minutes to play). So far so good.

When building our last update for Super Trumps an error happend so that the “anti crack” mechanism isn’t working correctly. The app reviewer at Apple has apparently slept and let the faulty version into the App Store.

All the poor customers who have installed the update are now suffering from this faulty version, must gamble the lite version and are nerved by a dialog, which states that the used version is a piracy version.

We apologize to all the updaters and fair customers for that catastrophe. We’ve yet send an adjusted version to Apple for review process and hopefully the update will be published soon. Then all the customers who have yet installed the version 1.4 can replace that faulty version with the correct one, which will be 1.4.1.

We’re very sad about that fact, but at the moment our hands are tied and we can only wait for the moment, version 1.4.1 will reach the App Store … so do 142 customers of our app.

Our card games on iPhone now to be called “Super Trumps”

We have been contacted by someone from the company Winning Moves UK Ltd. and he told us that the title “Top Trumps(TM)” is a trademark of that company.

Criminy, we didn’t know that! When starting the development of our quartets for the iPhone we had a look at the German Wikipedia and just found the statement, that the in Germany so called card game “Supertrumpf” (quartets with cars or other technical objects) is called “Top Trumps” in the US. “Great name”, we thought … but we’ve been wrong, because “Top Trumps(TM)” is indeed a trademark.

Therefore wie renamed all occurrences of this protected title in our English app titles, app descriptions, announcements and also all images and text labels within the applications to just “Super Trumps”, which is on the one hand near to the German title “Supertrumpf” and on the other hand no trademark … until someone disabuses us again!