christopherneil.net

Ketchapp steal / dev entitled

A friend passed on this story that he found on the front page of reddit. The cliff notes version is that slimy app “makers” Ketchapp (of 2048 “fame”), screwed over another developer, and stole his idea. This sucks, they suck, there is no getting away from that fact. In my mind, Ketchapp are a scourge on not only the App Store, but the development community as a whole.

That being said, as I read this post, I felt like I was missing something. Wasn't I supposed to be feeling sorry for this gentleman? Why did I not care about his hardship? Let's pull out a few choice quotes.

“I knew I could easily churn out the kind of crap that ends up on the top charts”

Woah, don't set the bar too high!

“You know all of those indie overnight successes? Behind each one is a shitload of marketing money and glad-handing.”

Really? You actually know that no indie app that has shot to fame without big money backing and ass-kissing? Way to sound like an entitled asshole.

“I’m the goddamn Tesla of crappy apps”

Quite the comparison. The guy just seems so likeable. But maybe I'm being harsh, maybe he isn't that bad.

“I’m upset that two French brothers can sit around eating baguettes while stealing games from independent developers with no viable resources”

Oh, casual racism. I can't wait to be on your side now. Stay tuned for some sharp, never-before-heard analysis.

“As it stands, the top charts are a race to the bottom”

No way! But don't worry! He has a plan to save us…

“I still dream of my games about balls and cats to be at the top of the charts”

Questionable grammar aside, those are some limited dreams dude. But it's ok, he's an idealist

“it’s no longer enough to be a developer — we must become capitalists”

I'm no business guru, but I would have figured the time to do that was when you started a company. It's ok though, he's a professional, it's not like he would begin an email to Ketchapp with the words “Hey Ketchup”…

It may seem like I'm being really hard on a guy who genuinely got ripped off, and, well, I am. I find this sort of behavior abhorrent. No-one should get ripped off like this, however, he really makes it hard for me to feel sympathetic towards him.

Also, why is the Flappy Bird gif not of actual gameplay? Flappy Bird doesn't control like that.

Banned for Life

I have seen this story linked in a few places. However, I’m not really sure why it has gained so much attention, unless it’s being presented as a warning to other developers to not be this guy.

The TL;DR version (or what I took from it anyway):

‘I wanted to do it all my own way, the same way I’ve been doing it for 20 years, paying no attention to any change in circumstance or platform, and I didn’t heed any warnings cause fuck that, they can sort it out later, but oh noes, my ignorance coupled with my arrogance has bit me. Woe is me.’

Diddums.

The inevitable Oculus/Facebook post

First up, I’m not down on the deal. Yes, the fact that it’s Facebook is weird, but Oculus’ explaination as to why being acquired will help them makes sense. Let’s give this one time before we judge it.

What has really stuck in my craw is the reaction to this deal. With specific attention being paid to this article on The Verge, as it highlights both the scale of the ridiculousness of reactions to this deal, as well as the severe tumbling jouranlistic standards of the site in question.

For an example of these standards, notice the difference between the URL, the headline, and the sub-headline. Why was this article published? What was the point of it, other than to garner attention and clicks? My suggested sub-headline: "Here’s why this article is pointless"

"Facebook bought Oculus a year and a half later"

A year and a half later. Keep this in mind as you read what these entitled ‘backers’ are saying in reaction to the deal.

""I would have rather bought a few shares of Oculus rather than my now-worthless $300 obsolete VR headset," backer Carlos Schulte wrote."

Worthless. Let that word sink in. Just as well Mr Schulte isn’t partial to hyperbole.

You would rather have shares? Really? Now that the company has been bought for $2 billion? You don’t say. Were you saying that before the deal occured, Carlos? I suspect that if you had been offered shares instead of a headset at the time of your donation, you would have taken the headset. I’m really not sure what his expectations were. Did he presume Oculus would continue to ship him the most up to date version of their hardware, so that his was never "obsolete"?

More from the article:

"Belote says. "If there’s this track record of companies doing really cool things getting acquired early on, it’s sort of like a failure." Kickstarter declined to comment on the Oculus acquisition"

How is it a failure? Is the point not that Oculus wouldn’t have existed without Kickstarter, hence, there would not have been anything for Facebook to buy. Whether they get bought or not in the future is irrelevant. The Kickstarter is to get the company off the ground, and for doing so, you get a reward based on your level of commitment. Not to mention the round of VC funding that Oculus went through after the Kickstarter had finished.

I get that people may feel more invested in a company as they feel like they are part of it, they ‘invested’, so to speak. But, here’s the kicker, they aren’t. They aren’t on the board, they aren’t shareholders. They have donated to an idea they wanted to exist. That idea now exists in a real sense.

Mission accomplished; status: Success.

The discussion on whether the sale to Facebook is good for the Rift is interesting, but is a completely different discussion. The future of the Rift is just that, the future. The Kickstarter is the past.

Google’s Trust Issues

Following up on yesterday’s news about Google buying Nest, and the consequent outpouring of disappointment and distrust, others have now weighed in on the what I believe to be the most interesting facet of the deal.

Dan Hon collected a series of tweets, before fleshing it out in an article for Wired, entitled ‘Google Can Buy Nest, But It Can’t Buy Our Trust’. As John Gruber commented while liking to Dan’s tweets:

"I think Google should be concerned about the number of people who are unhappy about this acquisition. Google used to be a company most people trusted; what I’m seeing as I read reactions to this Nest acquisition is that that’s no longer true."

Nilay Patel, also quoted by Gruber, finishes his article at The Verge on this subject with:

"It’s a strange set of affairs: an innovative young company led by some of the best engineers and executives in the business being acquired and validated by one of the great American businesses of the past 20 years should be a slam dunk of good PR. Instead, there’s a chorus of concern — some sincere, some contrived, but all of it grounded in fear of an unchecked Google."

Before, people were just worried about their beloved services and data. Now they seem to feel like Google has forced a way into their homes.

The more forcefully Google push into people’s lives, the further they are going to alienate people. If this growing distrust spreads from the geek-centric cul-de-sac in which it currently resides, into the mass populace, there may have to be a few high level meetings at Mountain View.

Playstation Now

Hypothetically, this sounds like a terrific service. Being able to play a veritable smorgasbord of brilliant games almost anywhere? Sign me up! However, when you scratch the surface of this announcement, it still seems to be a little more ‘theory’ than ‘reality’.

“Then I asked a nearby representative where exactly these games were being streamed from. ”Oh, we have a Gaikai server running down the hall“ he replied nonchalantly.”

Remote play streaming on the same network is not a revelation, I would argue that the remote play streaming feature on the Vita is more impressive. This is another example of a product being shown either before it is ready, or in different conditions to those that it will be actually used in. In other words, completely eliminating the entire crux of the service. Nevermind the complete lack of detail regarding pricing, or what the service actually entails. It’s a dangerous game, playing with people’s first impressions. You run the risk of severly disappointing people.

On the ‘not ready’ note: Let me get this straight, it’s officially announced for iOS devices, and they have confirmed that you will need a Dualshock to play on iOS devices, but they haven’t even tested to see if they can get it working using the iOS 7 gamepad API?

Sign me up?

Feedshare – My RSS Subscription List

A cool new service that allows you to share your RSS subscription list. Check out mine here (I will try to keep it up to date).

Before someone says it, yes, I am subscribed to myself. I need to know if I have done a silly.

Google buys Nest for $3.2 billion

Could Google’s money/backing help Nest achieve the vision they imagined when they started the company? Sure, of course. I certainly hope that is the way that it turns out.

What is most interesting to me, however, is the hesitence that seems to be prevalent regarding this deal is centered around the absolute epitome of what Google is perceived to have become (whether or not this is what they always were, or always planned to be).

As I said with Sparrow, there is no longer excitement for what could be accomplished, but rather resignation that any innovation will be shuttered, and everything wound into the “evil” master plan to consume data.

This isn’t to say that I necessarily believe this. I really hope Nest thrive under the Google umbrella. Indeed, Tony Fadell claims it is indeed about growth in interviews with The Verge (not a direct quote):

“That’s according to Nest CEO Tony Fadell, who told me that his goal wasn’t money, but about Google’s infrastructure and ability to support Nest’s growth.”

And Om Malik:

“Can we get what we need to scale our business and build our vision?” And they presented such a powerful case that it was meant to be."

Note: It’s not like this is competely out of the blue. Google Ventures has been heavily invested in Nest since the second round of financing, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

Indie devs choose iOS over Android

(Update: This was a link to the Penny Arcade Report, which has now been shut down, and disappeared from the internets forever apparently. It included interviews with developers of iOS apps looking to port them to Android, detailing roadblocks the Google was putting in their way.)

An interesting piece on why indie game developers, who seem to be more prevalent in the mobile space than on PC or console, are choosing iOS over Android.

The commonly held belief was that this was due to Android device/OS fragmentation, and the willingness of iOS users to buy apps. Even though there was a perception that Android was currently leading in marketshare, the money was to be made on iOS. However, this suggests a problem with Google and the Play Store.

Surely Google don’t believe that the Play Store is such a success at this point that they can be deliberately belligerent? Or do they just not devote the resources to ensure that the developers, as well as the users, get a great experience interacting with the Google Play Store? I understand they don’t want shoddy ports, but Android needs the ‘killer apps’, not only to get people in the door, but to ensure that they stay there once new contract time comes around. The developer environment has to be cultivated and nurtured. Apple didn’t just create the App Store, and let everything else happen by chance.

DC Comics continue to throw spaghetti at the wall

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this, though I would like to draw attention to the first line of the article:

“Comic creators Marvel took some of their biggest characters to the small screen for live action drama last year in Agents of SHIELD.”

Really? Some of? Or possibly just Coulson? Who, as popular as he is, cannot touch Marvel’s litany of characters in terms of lasting popularity (or however you want to define “biggest”). Beside the fact that Coulson’s popularity is mostly down to Clark Gregg. Or did I miss it when Iron Man and Captain America stopped by for a chat?

If I may go on topic for a second, everyone knows that DC has dropped the ball in the wake of Marvel’s success in building a shared universe. A completely valid criticism, no question. We’ll see what ‘Batman vs Superman’ has in store for us, but in terms of world-building, my hopes are not high. However, it is pretty clear that this ‘shared universe’ barely extends to ‘Agents of SHIELD’. Condemning DC for their disparate movie attempts in relation to Marvel, does not seem analogous to ridiculing to their attempts at TV, as Marvel have yet to transfer their shared universe to the television in any meaningful way. In other words, comparing an unconnected DC TV series to SHIELD, is not the same as bemoaning DC’s attempts at a shared movie universe in comparison to Marvel’s runaway, and genre-defining, success.

Google working on everything

An old story that cropped up in my news feed somehow, but still relevant in light of the redesigned Ouya, the Galaxy Gear, and, of course, as we await Apple’s apparent foray into wearable computing. Google are working on an Android gaming console, and a smartwatch, among other things.

I’m glad to see that they follow their own advice.

“Build things that don’t exist”