Monday, September 14, 2020

Big Fish Casino

Cyrus Farivar (tweet):

The app offers a variety of typical casino games to play, including their favorite, called Reel Rivals, a game in which players accrue points by playing a virtual slot machine. As in a real casino, players exchange money for coins to bet.

Unlike in a real casino, there is no way to win money back or earn a payout on coins.

But that has not stopped Shellz and her husband from spending about $150,000 in the game in just two years.


According to data provided by Apptopia, an app analytics company, Big Fish Games took in an estimated $139.3 million from Big Fish Casino and Jackpot Magic players from February 2019 through July 2020.

I’m not saying that games like this should be banned from the App Store, as I think users should be able to install what they want on their devices. It doesn’t seem like they are being deceptive.

But something seems out of whack when you look at the totality of apps that are allowed vs. rejected. Casino game apps where it’s impossible to win are OK, and Apple gets 30%. But users must be protected from streaming games and direct payment.

And regular apps get rejected for the oddest reasons. Paul Haddad:

Pastebot needs to generate a ⌘v keystroke in order to paste. When generating this keystroke on >= 10.14 an Accessibility permissions alert is shown by the OS.

Apple rejected our app because of this.

In order to get around the App Store we had to offer (and users had to install) a separate Paste service that shipped outside the App Store. The service would do nothing other than generate the ⌘v and would show the same alert on first use.

Is that really better for the user? Who knows what rule this violated or why it was eventually approved two years later.

And for not adhering to vague and changing guidelines that Apple itself doesn’t follow. Joe Cieplinski:

Got rejected today for the button on this screen.

So I’ll be sending them a screenshot of this button in response.

Won’t make a difference. But I just can’t help being sassy every now and then.

Cabel Sasser:

Oh hey us too 🥴

Timothy Buck:

This stuff is really killing the Apple brand for me. If they believe these rules are helping keep consumers safe, why are they skirting their own rules instead of leading the way in transparency?


Update (2023-11-22): See also: Hacker News.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Hey, I call them Tim Apple and this is why. Is it good for the user? Wrong question.

Is it good for Tim Apple’s bottom line? Yes.

All Apple had to do, and did do for the longest time is cooperate with law enforcement when contacted— and screen for fraud. Not “hate speech” but fraud. This is all ASP/ISPs did for the longest time.

> Is it good for Tim Apple’s bottom line? Yes.

Short term, maybe. But this sort of crap polluting the store ultimately drives people away (not that Google Play is all that much better). My 7-year-old borrowed a ukulele from her grandfather this week and wanted to play it. So I went to download a tuning app on iOS so she could get it into tune.

They all had ads, $70/year subscriptions, or both. (?! It's a freaking tuning app!) I literally couldn't find an app that was without ads or offered a single up-front payment to use.

My daughter seems me cursing out the app store as I try half a dozen different tuning apps and eventually order a physical tuning device online. Think she's going to want anything to do with this ecosystem in the future?

I sure don't. Apple's recent actions have been short-sighted in the extreme. Sad place for a once-visionary company to end up.

>All Apple had to do, and did do for the longest time

You're just wrong, Apple never did this. The very first App Store presentation Jobs gave had a slide where Apple just outright disallowed porn. Porn is not fraud.

>I’m not saying that games like this should be banned
>from the App Store

They absolutely should be banned from the App Store. Having these manipulative garbage games fill up the store breaks the App Store for app discovery, it's hostile towards users, *and* it's probably illegal in many places, it's just that governments haven't noticed what's happening yet.

In fact, given the choice between banning porn and banning this, the correct, user-friendly choice would have been to ban this instead of porn.

@Ian I ran into the same issue with uke tuners. Would have paid up front for a simple tuner app but had to settle for one with ads that keeps trying to upsell me.

@Lukas Given that the App Store is the only way to distribute apps, I don’t think they should be banned, because that’s like saying they can’t exist, and line drawing becomes a problem. But I’d prefer to see other distribution methods allowed, and then the App Store could actually become a curated store without these sorts of games, predatory coloring books, etc. It seems like right now we are getting the drawbacks of the walled garden without most of the potential benefits.

>that’s like saying they can’t exist

But these *are* apps that should not exist. Absolutely nothing positive comes out of them existing. There are actual laws against this kind of gambling in many countries. Yet Apple happily aids in destroying the lives of its own customers for 30% of the loot.

I'll always argue that Apple needs to allow sideloading of apps, and I'm fine with these apps existing in that form. But they should not be in the App Store, neither with sideloading as an alternative, nor without.

I've been using insTuner for a few years. Works great, IAP is $3.99 to unlock the no-ads Pro version.

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