It’s been about three years since I launched a new iOS app on the iTunes App Store. It was typically a frustrating process with little reward. Perhaps I’m still feeling burned from the failure of BOT. It’s not enough to just try again. I have to figure out what went wrong and then improve. Today, Apple announced a way to fix one of the major problems with iOS app development – TESTING. With TestFlight, now I can easily invite up to 1000 testers to try a new game.
I still have an active iOS developer account. I’ve been thinking about creating new games. With the ability to simply email an invite to beta testers, I’m reminded about the early days of Guild Wars. Complicated games require testing. That’s something I didn’t do enough of with BOT. Oh sure, I played it A LOT. But when the game hit the general public, too many people complained about the difficulty and the controls. It was six months of wasted effort. Even though I had quickly launched an update to address the issues, it was wasn’t enough to save the app from a death spiral.
The iTunes App Store is ultra competitive. Plus, I think the novelty is starting to wear off. If I haven’t been downloading and playing new games, why should I expect others to do the same? I’ve even started to ignore the free games. While TestFlight is interesting to me, I’m hesitant to try iOS development again.
Launch day is important, and TestFlight can help with that, but there are other issues. One of the obvious issues is that my iPhone 4 is too old. TestFlight requires iOS 8. With iPhone 6+ ordered backed up for 3-4 weeks, it forces me to ponder the future of Apple – and app development in general. “Should I stay in Apple’s ecosystem?” Just waiting for Xcode to update is enough to discourage me. What about Swift? Do I really want to learn another programming language?
I think the answer is no – I don’t want to be bothered with Apple’s walled garden. I’m a web developer. I don’t like the idea of the Internet funneling through a handful of mega corporations. Making a web game with HTML5 sounds more interesting to me. Unfortunately, GameSalad and Stencyl haven’t excelled in this area.
So, I wait – constantly wondering what I should work on next.
There is a possible book project, which may find its way onto the iBook Store, but there are issues over there too. Perhaps I’m excited about TestFlight for another reason. It shows that Apple can improve. Unfortunately, they’re not improving fast enough. TestFlight would have been amazing – back in the Spring of 2011.
But if you’re working on a new iOS app, and you want to know more about TestFlight, here’s the URL for Apple’s TestFlight web page…