Apple has launched a new Twitter account dedicated to App Store gaming and people are going bonkers. Days before a keynote where new iPhones and “professional” iPads are expected to be announced, most websites decided to link this with the imminent arrival of video games to a revamped Apple TV, with controllers and everything. Really?
Any interest in a new Apple TV with games pales compared to the excitement of “New Apple” opening up using social media. They are proud to show their investment in curation — see Beats Music as an example. With the new Twitter account, racking up 40,000 followers at the time of this writing, they show that App Store game features are curated by a dedicated internal team. Actual humans!
Game editors are actual humans
In the past years, the App Store team has slowly introduced pages grouping apps together following some topical theme instead of the generic Categories. We got App Store picks of the year, Editor’s Choice spots and Best of the month compilations. The most remarkable initiative is the ‘Free app of the week’, which has obliterated all the third party services that were doing the same thing. My personal favourite is the Indie showcase, where they allow a particular dev to share a list of favourite games.
What is interesting is to see a Twitter account dedicated exclusively to iOS gaming as Apple already has another Twitter handle for the App Store with over four million followers.
Now we finally get some behind-the-scenes look at this App Store team and see that there is a group dedicated to videogames. The account bio reads “Embrace the future of gaming. Straight from our Games Editors“. According to the welcome tweet, the games team could be formed by five members — or perhaps these characters are used for illustration purposes. Former iMore writer Leanna Lofte, a declared App Store Editor, says she is not one of the women on this GIF. Who are they?
What we know so far are only hints from the first tweets of @AppStoreGames. Most of the activity is focused on sharing links to games on the App Store — which is similar to what its sister account @AppStore does. In addition to this, the new gaming account is creating its own hashtags and has already cooperated with studios sharing pictures with the text “Ready to Play”. The whole imagery, from the banner image to the colours and pixel art used on the pictures has a strong 80s feel to it.
Schedule of events
It looks like the App Store game editors have prepared weekly activities to support the launch too, which include their own hashtags. According to account’s first tweets, Mondays will be used to give exclusive looks at upcoming games with #ModayPreview while Tuesdays will be dedicated to hints and tricks with #Unstuck.
Wednesdays will have a giveaway likely to be based around asking Twitter followers to complete a task with #AppStoreChallenge plus #LikeAPro to share gameplay videos. On Saturdays there will be a #GameShowcase talking about a particular game, plus #AppStoreChat with tweets in an interview format with some celebrity. The first #AppStoreChat was a live Twitter chat with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.
A win for mobile gaming
One last point worth noting is the list of developers this official account has followed. So far it includes game developers with a game featured on the account’s images or mentioned on a tweet, such as Leo’s Fortune, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds, Vain Glory, Fallout, Game of War and The Walking Dead. It’s great to see some of my favourite indie developers like Simogo, Ustwo and Noodlecake receiving some love from the Game Editor team too!
Presence on social media is just another step for strengthening the role of the App Store in mobile gaming. Apple’s platform is notable for its quirks and limitations, which rivals Google Play and handhelds are happy to benefit from. The figure of an editorial role or a developer relations person will be key to the development of the platform in future years. A figure like Shahid Kamal Ahmad’s for Playstation at Apple is difficult to imagine, but that GIF about Justin Bieber was unthinkable of under “Old Apple”. The launch of @AppStoreGames is great news for the industry.