Apple remodels ranking for App Store games in favor or curated lists

App developers for iOS should pay special attention to Apple's latest changes to the App Store layout. Apple has remodeled the layout of its Games section, doing away with lists like, "What's Hot", "New", and even the "All iPhone" free and paid sections. The App Store's Game's section is no longer relying on automated algorithms to pick the winners and now boasts editorialized lists like, "All Time Greats" and "Best New Games". Apple will be updating these editor-curated lists every week.

So far, these changes are only reported to be appearing on the U.S. market, and only in the Games section. Apple could be applying these changes as a way to beat developers that have been gaming the system. For example, a quick and easy way to get to the top of the "All iPhone (Free & Paid)" was to simple title a game the same way you would title a strategic phonebook entry–AAA. Some iOS developers aiming for a move visible ranking in the "All" list took a chance on spammy gaming titles starting with AAA, AAAA, AAAAA, and one even went with the ridiculous title "AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!" Hopefully, Apple's changes mean that we'll be seeing more quality content instead of strategically titled spam.

The move away from automatic, list-generating algorithms is not supposed to impact most game developers negatively. It leaves the potential for genuinely novel and popular games make their way into the rankings.

This shift may also be Apple's way to try to combat "review farming" wherein app developers pay shady companies in China for mass downloads and positive reviews, thereby raising the app's rankings. Reportedly, at least some of these review farms in China are still relying on good, old-fashioned man power to get the job done, as the downloads are selected by humans instead of bots.

Depending on how you brows for games, the user experience at the app store might not be so different. The App Store is keeping the "More Games You Might Like" suggested list, which is always tailored to your personal download history.

Source: Tech Crunch