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The Dark Side of Digital Distribution 270

An anonymous reader writes "Game journalist Stuart Campbell has written an incisive piece on how the digital distribution model users have grown to know and love over the past several years still has some major problems that go beyond even the DRM dilemma. He provides an example of an app developer using very shady update techniques to screw over people who have legitimately purchased their app. Touch Racing Nitro, a retro racing game, launched to moderate success. After tinkering with price points to get the game to show up on the top download charts, the developers finally made it free for a period of four months. 'Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update," which came with just four words of description – "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen. Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.'"
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The Dark Side of Digital Distribution

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  • by poena.dare ( 306891 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:18PM (#39150251)

    On December 8, 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed the last remaining count of the class action lawsuit, stating: "As a legal matter, [..] plaintiffs have failed to allege facts or articulate a theory on which Sony may be held liable." He then removed massive amounts of wax from his ears after the trial. []

    Once again, I am in the wrong damn business.

  • by dietdew7 ( 1171613 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:22PM (#39150311)
    It's in the terms of sale from the article that Itunes has a no refund policy. It's also true for Barnes and Noble. I've been reluctant to purchase any apps and now that seems wise whereas before I was just being cheap.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:36PM (#39150507) Homepage

    I don't understand how they've been able to pull something like this. On a free game on iOS we added some stuff which required us to block some content of one of the levels for old ipods, as they didn't had the required power to play it. We were denied the update as apple said that nothing could be taken away from the users in an update (!), and we had to build 2 different code path & levels so that both could exists together. In a free game... I would expect them to prevent such a thing even more on a paid game!

  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @02:41PM (#39150583) Homepage Journal provides such good value, I have even repurchased games from them that I already own, because I know they have been properly updated, configured or bundled with DOSBox so that they run on modern Windows versions (and often Linux too) with absolutely zero hassle.

  • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:15PM (#39151685) Homepage
    That's not at all what happened. At the time the iPad was released, iPhone screens were all 480x320. The 960x640 phone came later (and, in the usual Apple fashion, not revealed to developers until that time).

    Also, the store supports and encourages "universal" apps- a single purchase/single binary that works natively on both devices, and has done so since the iPad launched.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @04:16PM (#39151701)
    I just revert to the old version of the app from the backup TitaniumBackup made. Then I unlink it from the market so it's never updated again.

    Remember folks, Fair Use includes being able to make backups of software you buy. Exercise that right. The only time a company should be able to pull a bait and switch like this is if they're selling you a service for an annual or monthly fee. And there you can simply stop subscribing (in the case of cell phone contracts, you can quit before your contract is up without penalty).

    I also run firewalls (DroidWall or LBE Privacy Guard) which let me turn off an app's network access. If the free version of a single-player game requires network access to run, that's a big red flag that I don't want to buy the pay version.
  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:17AM (#39155951) Journal

    please provide an example of software that no longer works

    Uh... the game from TFS?

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire