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Could Apple offer a "compatibility mode" to stop breaking old games?

09-23-2015, 09:37 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,096
Could Apple offer a "compatibility mode" to stop breaking old games?

Could Apple offer a "compatibility mode" to stop breaking old apps?

You know how Windows had compatibility mode to use old software? Is something like that possible on iOS? They keep breaking a lot of apps every update, and most small devs can't keep up. Some just quit, or remove their games completely (i.e. Big Pixel's Meow Meow Happy Fight -- miss that game so much). We have so many orphaned apps as a result. And many customers basically lose their games, and the money paid is gone.

This is Apple, so I doubt they'd do it, but if a compatibility mode was possible it would sure make me less afraid to spend money on apps. After the Bioshock situation, I'm much less likely to pay more than $5 for an app. And I'm very pro premium gaming.

iOS: iPad Air 2 128GB Space Gray, iPod Touch 5 32GB Space Gray
Android: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Black/Gray
09-23-2015, 09:38 PM
#2
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 491
That's a very interesting thought.

09-23-2015, 10:51 PM
#3
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,564
I would say no. Apple does not maintain legacy support in iOS to keep the OS lean, efficient and secure. Microsoft Windows is the exact opposite where it's bloated, insecure and difficult to maintain. When you download an old steam game on windows you also have to install DirectX 9c (or whatever) and a whole list of security updates that come alone with it. That's not going to even happen on iOS nor should it.

Follow me at @bitGamerX for video game news and reviews.

My favorite video game genres include adventure, board, 4X, roguelike, space sims, and strategy games.
09-24-2015, 05:17 AM
#4
Part of the issue is on the dev side too. When Apple is going to change a feature in an SDK to access it in a different way or change how something works, they deprecate it and mark it in the current version of the OS SDK that it's going to be removed at some point in the future. Typically this is a couple of years down the line (i.e. 2 versions of the OS), giving devs plenty of time to learn the new way of doing things and update before the feature changes.

What can also happen is if a game's engine or middleware has always used the older method, so a new game based on the engine just inherits all the SDK 'features' that are soon to be changed. So you can suddenly find yourself with an issue that gets broken by a new version of the OS.

Add to that the situations where devs are devs and use a feature in a way that the documentation says not to do or to avoid because it works better for them. Which happens quite a bit. We're devs, it's how we roll sometimes

So the problem for Apple is that no matter what they do, stuff in *other people's code* is always going to break as they continue to improve and fix issues in the OS. It's up to the developers to fix their issues, not Apple to spend extra resources that are needed on the current OS to provide a 'broken' mode.

In defence of developers (because otherwise, this would be very unbalanced). It's easy to find yourself in this scenario because it takes a lot of time and effort to write games. Not only have you got to write the code to use the SDKs you've got to be constantly updating yourself and learning the latest info on them to make sure you're using them properly. If you're using any 3rd party middleware, you've also got to be making sure the coders of that middleware are up to date too and the time and effort required for all this does mean it can take a long time for any changes to happen.

If you add in the entropy caused by working with a publisher (or being a subcontractor) where you've not just got to make the changes and submit an update, you've got to get them to agree an update is needed, get them to approve it, agree on what's going to be changed, manage any feature creep added by their producers, do the actual work and then jump through all the hoops again to get it up and submitted through their system, it can be a nightmare, depending on the publisher. If they're just not interested because they're not seeing the numbers or are interested in something else right now, it can be a never ending limbo. It may also be that the dev just isn't interested because they're not getting paid for their work too.

There is a compatibility mode of sorts of course. Old devices. Developers will keep old devices hanging around long after they're a target machine for sales simply because they know someone out there will still be trying to play the current version of the game on one and it might have some obscure issue. So they're handy to test on. They're also getting stupidly cheap. So it may be worth grabbing an older iPod Touch, iPad 2/mini and leaving it on an older version of the OS just to play your older games on.
10-03-2015, 11:13 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: U.S.A., earth
Posts: 214
FWIW, I've tried using Compatibility Mode when I moved to Windows XP, and then Windows 7. I've never gotten any of my few programs to work via that.

If nothing else, I'm wondering if just everyone needs to update ASAP. The queues are long if everyone's doing it. Just avoid the traffic if you can, and get in a week later or so

I have read articles where folks will refuse to update right away. They like to wait a month or so to make sure any initial x.0 updates have been patched via x.1 updates. My Ipod Touch 5 is still on ios7. When I heard mixed reviews of ios8, and how you won't be able to downgrade back to ios7 if you have issues, I figured let's not fix anything that's not broken. If nothing else, most of the new features are for Iphones anyways, so not missing out much there.

This isn't just iOS... on the OSX side of things, somebody posted a blog article on how he lost alot of client information due to to updating to the next version of OSX without doing some research. Enterprise infrastructures generally wait a few months to years before updating to the next major release of Windows to ensure compatibility and security are being met.

TL;DR I'm still on ios7, so nothing I have is broken. When things get to ios10, we'll see if there's a suitable Ipod Touch 7, or just retire the thing and go with what the backlog of games we currently have
10-04-2015, 06:17 AM
#6
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by ackmondual View Post
TL;DR I'm still on ios7, so nothing I have is broken. When things get to ios10, we'll see if there's a suitable Ipod Touch 7, or just retire the thing and go with what the backlog of games we currently have
Apple doesn't patch old versions of iOS so your running an OS with known unpatched security vulnerabilities. I personally wouldn't take that risk.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205212
10-05-2015, 02:36 AM
#7
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: U.S.A., earth
Posts: 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by klink View Post
Apple doesn't patch old versions of iOS so your running an OS with known unpatched security vulnerabilities. I personally wouldn't take that risk.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205212
I've wondered about this... iOS is generally more secure, so would it seem even an older version of it is still secure enough?

I use my Ipod Touch as a gaming device. That's pretty much it, so I haven't been as concerned vs. with a desktop computer.
10-05-2015, 07:52 AM
#8
Joined: Jun 2014
Location: Brazil
Posts: 977
Quote:
Originally Posted by klink View Post
Apple doesn't patch old versions of iOS so your running an OS with known unpatched security vulnerabilities. I personally wouldn't take that risk.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205212
So, gaming on iOS is not viable, because you're forced to update and break older(maybe a month old) games or you can face serious issues?

I know iDevices are not only for gaming, but come on...
10-05-2015, 08:19 AM
#9
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dankrio View Post
So, gaming on iOS is not viable, because you're forced to update and break older(maybe a month old) games or you can face serious issues?

I know iDevices are not only for gaming, but come on...
I literally have hundreds of awesome games that run perfectly on iOS 9.02. If this is failure I'm loving it.
10-05-2015, 08:34 AM
#10
Joined: Jun 2014
Location: Brazil
Posts: 977
Quote:
Originally Posted by klink View Post
I literally have hundreds of awesome games that run perfectly on iOS 9.02. If this is failure I'm loving it.
It doesn't excuse some games(maybe one you really love and just bought) breaking.

We can love the platform? Sure, but turning a blind eye to serious issues are not the way to support, IMO. This kind of situation hurt apple gaming as a whole.