Apple’s iPad georetardation policy, where the new device will be available in key markets outside of the US a month after the US drop date, is a slap in the face for the many developers outside of the US who have made the app store what it is.
Let me give you an example that’s got me a little fired up.
Flight Control has sold over 2 Million copies and the free version of Real Racing GTI has been downloaded over 5 Million times.
The only problem is that Firemint is based in Melbourne, Australia and the secret sauce to their success has been developing with the device in mind…and in hand.
That’s right. Unsurprisingly, part of the reason why Firemint has created some of the most successful games for the iPhone is because they develop for the physical device, not just for the OS running on it. That means that while the iPad emulator is good as a starting point, the team will rely on having an actual device to perfect its apps.
I don’t know this for sure, but I’m certain that many of the other top development teams have a similar philosophy.
So what do you do when Apple’s georetardation means that because you’re Australian-based you get the iPad 1 month after developers in the US, limiting your ability to apply the secret sauce to your apps?
Well, it seems that the team from Firemint have an old-school solution.
According to Community Manager Alexandra Peters, they plan to get a friend in the US to buy a bunch of iPad’s when they drop and FedEx them to Australia.
A simple solution, no doubt, but astonishing in my mind, that it’s come to that.
Why a company with $35-odd Billion in the bank wouldn’t fly over some of their community’s leading developers to sit in the rumoured room with no windows where people are allowed to play with an actual iPad, is beyond me.
Even if they didn’t do that, why not offer to send those developers free iPads when they drop, so they don’t’ have to travel to the US and line up (or get someone already there to line-up and FedEx them) just in order to be able to make you more money!
Think about that. With over 2 million copies of Flight Control having been sold for $0.99, and Apple taking a 30% cut, Firemint has made Apple at least $300,000, yet if Apple had their way Firemint would have to wait one month after US-based developers to get their hands on the new device.
I should make it clear at this point that it’s me, not Firemint, complaining.
When asked about the iPad, Firemint’s Peters had this to say:
“We’re really excited about iPad, as well as being the first device that’s both immersive and personal we think it could open up entirely new audiences to gaming. Nobody saw the App Store coming, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple not only revolutionises another media segment but also introduces games to people who might not have played them before.”
But you’d understand if they, and the many other developers outside of the US that have made Apple a gazillion dollars , felt a little hard done by.
It should be said that Firemint aren’t sitting on their hands. They’re actively working on updates to Flight Control HD to specially adapt it to the iPad. So if you’re one of their many fans, you can look forward to more great apps when you get your hands on the new device.
But back to the main point.
Apple, if you’re listening, please do the right thing and treat your kick-ass developers right. We all know that the iPad is a platform that will live and die by the support of great developers – so hook them up.