Is the App Store Flooded With Chaff?

You can’t win. Had the iPhone and App Store flopped in spectacular fashion, those who had parted with their cash to pick up the phone would have been complaining about a lack of apps for the device. Now, of course, success has resulted in the opposite being true, with commentators tackling the idea that there might just be too many apps for consumers to cope with.

It’s a debate currently raging at a number of portals across the web. InfoSyncWorld.com’s editor Philip Berne claims that with a search for the simplest of apps bringing up hundreds of results, those browsing the App Store have little way of telling just which ones meet their requirements.

‘At a real store,’ Berne reasons, ‘a buyer or manager picks and chooses the best products, and that’s what the store sells. If a product isn’t good enough, or if it doesn’t sell well, the manager replaces it with something better, or works with manufacturers to improve it. No store manager in her right mind, even at large box retailers and wholesale warehouses, would offer 184 different Chess games.’

Not everyone, however, agrees that the App Store should be treated in the same way as Main Street, especially when it comes to games.

‘It should remain open,’ games designer and freelance writer Vincent Leeuw told us. ‘That at least allows everyone to join in on the fun. Apple as a filter is already creating a lot of anger on the web, and in no way should they ‘choose the best of its kind’ for apps and games.’

‘It’s an understandable view but not a well-considered one,’ games industry expert Rob Fahey added. ‘The whole advantage of stuff like the App Store is that you get an open market– it’s an open delivery platform and it’s up to devs to distinguish themselves and their products. That’s healthy– it’s the essence of competition, and over time it benefits consumers by forcing app makers to compete on quality and price alike.’

Both Leeuw and Fahey think the problem doesn’t have to do with how many apps are on the network, but rather, a different way of rating and ordering them.

‘Apple, like everyone else in this game, needs cleverer ways to process feedback and success metrics, and plug them back into its search engine tech so that dross falls to the bottom but great new apps can climb quickly,’ Fahey added. ‘That’s a technology and user interface challenge that nobody has got right just yet– but it’s not an excuse to abandon the idea of an open market entirely!’

Leeuw also thinks Apple isn’t alone in having problems screening its apps. ‘The only thing Apple needs to do, is actually the same as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony– create a quality control test to at least assure that all apps work properly. I believe this is already in place in some measure with the approval process, but otherwise you’ll get Atari revisited. Stifling choice, however, is plain wrong for any platform.’

[From Modmyi Forums]