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Do publishers have the the right to change a download?

08-16-2009, 05:36 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 686
Do publishers have the the right to change a download?

Does the iTunes agreement cover the fact that a publisher can alter a purchased item in any way at any time and that you have no course of action open?

If yes, where specifically does the EULA say this (A publisher should be able to point this out)?

If no, where is the EULA I agreed to when I downloaded an app that let's them do what they want to an application I bought on the strength of it's look / performance / gameplay at that time?

There was a big deal about the fact that Apple have a software kill switch in iphones / ipod touches. If Apple use that - big news. If a publisher puts ads (or facebook elements such as the latest Tower Bloxx update) into your game and effectively kills your enjoyment then where is the noise about that?

Note: For the sake of clarity, this discussion covers paid apps only. The price is immaterial.

(this was posted in another thread and is being dismissed because of that. So having it's own thread may keep some focus)
08-16-2009, 05:45 PM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
This isn't app-related, but...

Burnout Paradise did this. I bought the game twice, once for Xbox 360 and once on PS3. I've paid a total of 70 for this game now ($115), and the updates they made for the game have totally ruined it for me. I understand they were attempting to improve the game, and the updates were free, but nevertheless they've changed the game experience a lot because some of he alterations are quite major. I simply can't get the same enjoyment out of the game I did before the updates and considering how much money I've put into it, you can understand why this would be annoying for me.

The only real solution is not to accept the updates when promted, which means I can never play the game online again... also not acceptable. Of course Criterion Games/Microsoft/Sony have all these terms in place that prevent me from getting my money back, but just because I agreed to those in the first place does that make such a major change in the gameplay experience fair when the user doesn't like it? Not in my opinion, when I accepted those I was under the false assumtpion that a major games developer would never dare put it's reputation at risk with such shaky business practise.

  /l、
゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ

08-16-2009, 07:34 PM
#3
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC USA
Posts: 199
You gotta look at it from both prspectives . I mean yes some games updates do really screw the game up. But I'm sure that in most cases the intent is good. So making the game creAtors NOT have the ability to change their creations would only ( in 99 percent of cases) screw the consumer.
ThAt being said it is in my opinion that they should absolutely not have the ability to go back to a game and add banners or any type of promotional tool. I do not find this acceptable.
08-16-2009, 07:41 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maelick View Post
So making the game creAtors NOT have the ability to change their creations would only ( in 99 percent of cases) screw the consumer.
It worked perfectly well on the majority of games consoles...

  /l、
゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ
08-16-2009, 07:56 PM
#5
There are no mandatory updates, the user is totally free to decide if an update is downloaded or not, and there's always a description of the changes that can be read beforehand.

It's also up to the user if he wants to make backups of the old versions and revert to them if a new version provides less enjoyment.

If the user doesn't maintain backups of his paid apps, downloads a new version voluntarily and then decides he doesn't like it, that's not really an issue for the publisher to deal with.
08-16-2009, 07:59 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post
There are no mandatory updates, the user is totally free to decide if an update is downloaded or not, and there's always a description of the changes that can be read beforehand.

It's also up to the user if he wants to make backups of the old versions and revert to them if a new version provides less enjoyment.

If the user doesn't maintain backups of his paid apps, downloads a new version voluntarily and then decides he doesn't like it, that's not really an issue for the publisher to deal with.
If you don't want the update, does the update number "prompt" ever disappear from the app store icon?

  /l、
゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ
08-16-2009, 08:14 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
If you don't want the update, does the update number "prompt" ever disappear from the app store icon?
Good question, it might be possible to get rid of the notification by downloading the game, installing and then reverting, but iTunes certainly doesn't make that easy.

Then there's the gray area of what happens when the app stops working after an iPhone OS update...
08-17-2009, 04:48 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 686
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post
There are no mandatory updates, the user is totally free to decide if an update is downloaded or not, and there's always a description of the changes that can be read beforehand.

It's also up to the user if he wants to make backups of the old versions and revert to them if a new version provides less enjoyment.
User is free to decide and cannot exempt that update permanently.

Descriptions - like the one for Tower Bloxx - do not include the fact that a big ugly facebook logo has been put in, some updates do not mention ads (why because they know people will not upgrade).

Consoles - you accept a EULA when you download and you do each time.

As was said in another thread it's reviews. If someone has done this to my games I feel obliged to 1 star review, state why and 'Helpful' any existing poor reviews. Bad behaviour should not go unnoticed.
08-17-2009, 07:19 AM
#9
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
In my opinion, publishers should be allowed to do whatever they like with app updates, including sneaking in ugly ads or removing features. The user review process ensures that devs that do this in bad taste will be punished, so I don't see the harm. Looking at this from the dev's perspective, the introduction of ads in a free game may be necessary for their business model, or to help differentiate their game from a full version. And a feature may be intentionally removed because it generates too much confusion/support email.

Apple's system of free updates and ease of delivery is one of the things that makes the AppStore so special. There are many games that had issues in an early release, that were greatly improved with updates. And there are many games that have been freshened with new content.

My only two gripes with the current update system:
1) many users never bother reading the update notes. It would be nice if these were downloaded first, and the user was asked to read them then press "OK." In the examples mentioned in this thread, I guarantee that even if an app's update description warned that it added ads, that there would still be many outraged users that never saw the warning.
2) Apple's review process is shallow, apparently focusing on a small set of mostly-objective criteria. I've never seen them report on an actual bug. When a defect or usability issue does slip through and make its way into an update, there is little the developer can do to avoid fallout. I wish Apple would offer a developer-controlled "roll back" feature, which would replace the newest version of an app in the App Store with the previously approved version.
08-17-2009, 07:30 AM
#10
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Quote:
Originally Posted by markx2 View Post
User is free to decide and cannot exempt that update permanently.

Descriptions - like the one for Tower Bloxx - do not include the fact that a big ugly facebook logo has been put in, some updates do not mention ads (why because they know people will not upgrade).

Consoles - you accept a EULA when you download and you do each time.

As was said in another thread it's reviews. If someone has done this to my games I feel obliged to 1 star review, state why and 'Helpful' any existing poor reviews. Bad behaviour should not go unnoticed.
I'm curious - do you ever bother contacting the author? And do you ever use positive reinforcement, or bother changing your 1 star review if your complaint is later addressed? One of my pet peeves is users that complain about a supposed bug, that's not real, and/or is a demand for a feature that already exists in the game but may not be super-obvious.

As an example, I had a user post an early review claiming that my Xiangqi game "looked nice but didn't follow basic rules" which was utter nonsense, and surely hurt sales. Giving them the benefit of the doubt (and assuming it wasn't a plant by a competitor), that user was probably confusing horse movement in Xiangqi (which can be constricted) with knights in western chess (which can't be blocked), or something similar... but with no additional detail, or any attempt at communication, there was no way to address their vague complaint.

I've had a Card Shark Solitaire Deluxe user complain in reviews that this used to be their most beloved game, but that a recent cosmetic change in an update made them angry. That user had never given the game any positive review, and after this update decided to give the game a public 2 star rating, without bothering to click the "Contact Author" button or read the FAQ or read the game description or update or read other user reviews, any of which would have noted that an in-game option already existed allowing users to revert to the original presentation style.

You get to the point where you just have to ignore stuff like this and let it roll off, but it can be sad.

Last edited by Stroffolino; 08-17-2009 at 03:43 PM.