Once again, Apple proves that it doesn’t deserve its mobile gaming monopoly.
I’ve written extensively recently about how, despite being one of the biggest players in gaming by revenue, Apple is a hostile presence for innovation and value in gaming. The deep taxes it leverages on its developers and restrictive rules limit competition and consumer choice, while also preventing certain business models from proliferating on its tightly-controlled platform. You’d be forgiven if you thought they were doing this to protect its business, but there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that Apple is simply ignorant, or perhaps just dismissive, about what gamers and game developers want and need.
Nothing illustrated this point more succinctly than this post shared by The Verge’s Tom Warren from a publisher behind one of the best PC games and best Xbox games of its launch year, Untitled Goose Game. The whimsical puzzler puts you in command of a belligerent waterfowl, to raucous effect.
Developed by House House, Cabel Sasser who co-founded the game’s publisher Panic Inc, explained why Apple had blocked the game from coming to the MacOS store, and it’s quite hilarious.
When app and game developers submit their programs to closed stores, they’re subjected to each individual store’s rules and regulations. Many of the regulations make complete sense, aimed at blocking things like hate speech and malware. However, others are a little less sensical. Apple notoriously blocked Xbox Cloud Gaming from hitting iOS because it wanted Microsoft and its partners to submit every single game as individual entities to the iOS app store, a feat that would prove impossible as games enter into and leave the service. It would be akin to asking Netflix to list each and every show and movie it stocks as separate downloads on iOS. That could at the very least be construed as anti-competitive. In the case of Untitled Goose Game, however, Apple’s reasoning makes no sense whatsoever.
Sasser explained that Apple blocked Untitled Goose Game because the submission reviewer couldn’t figure out how to skip the credit sequence. Upon realizing their mistake, Apple came up with some other reason to block the game, at which point Panic Inc. simply figured it wasn’t worth their time and effort to circumnavigate Apple’s arbitrary regs.
In creative products like games, Apple is quite literally leaving money on the table by being so restrictive with its access rules. Apple also has more money than God, though, so I doubt they’ll lose much sleep over it.
In any case, Untitled Goose Game is available on practically any other platform, and it’s awesome. You should definitely play it.