Apple cuts the cord on incentive-based app downloads; free currency in social games is out
While most iPhone game players are used to the technique of downloading other apps in order to receive free premium currency in your current game (the examples are too numerous to count, but include games like the mobile version of Social City, which gives you free City Bucks for downloading both free and paid apps), Apple hasn't taken too kindly to the "feature," and has now started the cutoff process for apps that employ such features.
To be specific, if you wanted to earn free City Bucks in Social City, all you'd have to do is download other iPhone applications, such as Zynga Poker (ironically enough), Pretty Pet Salon, Living Social, and so on, as seen at the picture at right. You'd receive any number of City Bucks from each app downloaded, with more free currency being given out if you actually purchased one of these "sponsored" apps. While this is great for the game player, as they are allowed to further their own experience and purchase new items otherwise unavailable to them, it does create a very weird imbalance on Apple's top app charts, as apps that may suffer from bugs, or simply aren't that enjoyable suddenly rise to the top of the free or paid app charts. This "padding" makes other games (those that don't use this incentive-based download feature) look worse by comparison, which Apple claims simply isn't fair.
For now, all apps that contain such incentive-based downloads will still have the currency up for grabs, but only until their developers can release an update that removes it. If they don't, these apps face removal from the app store, and the developers themselves could even be permanently banned from the iOS developer program. We know that this is serious business, as Tech Crunch has reported that some new apps have been rejected from inclusion on the app store because they violated this reinterpreted ruling in the developers terms of service:
What does this mean in the long run? Essentially, if you play any mobile version of a Facebook game, like Social City, you'll have to start paying up for your City Cash just like everyone else, until Playdom (in this case) or other developers across the platform decide what to do in terms of advertising and cross-promotional activities. If your apps haven't been updated yet, stock up on all of the free premium currency you can, while you can, as there's no telling when each app will be updated (or removed for good).3.10: Developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program
Do you have many apps that ask you to download other apps for free currency? What will you do now that those options for free "money" are now being taken away? Let us know in the comments.