No more Blindfold Games or Updates

App Developer

I just finished talking with an Apple representative, and Apple’s decision is that unless I merge the 80 Blindfold Games into a handful of apps, they will no longer allow new games to be released or allow updates to be make.

From a technology perspective, that’s extremely hard and time-consuming. From a business perspective, that would mean spending hundreds of hours recoding the games, with no possible return-on-investment. Most of the games generate sales in the first three months of the game being released, and I’ve been building these games for 4 years.

From a usability perspective, that means the main menus would be ridiculously complex, and the settings screens would be confusing and almost unusable.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you can express your opinion to Apple. The accessibility desk is at accessibility@apple.com or you can call 1-800-MY-APPLE. Thanks to everyone for enjoying my games.

Forum: 

Reason Behind the Decision

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I am curious why Apple have made this decision. Is there a limitations of apps that one can develop? I was unaware that a developer could only make so many apps?

What???

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

So it’s been fine for you to submit them as separate apps all these years, and now suddenly it’s not? It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if that had been the policy all along, Or if they’d allowed you a transition period while you merged them into one app, but to tell you that you’re not allowed any more updates until you’ve done that is unacceptable. If they can change the rules without warning, and don’t give developers some time to adjust to the changes, how can they expect developers to comply? It’s not so bad for big companies that have the money and the staff to do that sort of thing, although I’m sure it can cause problems for even them. But to tell a single person who has made 80 apps that he must now significantly change his entire product range... are they even thinking about the consequences of that?

I guess we’ll just have to see if the powers that be at Apple can be persuaded to change their minds about this. If they won’t budge, and if you did find a way to merge the games, would it work for you, from a business perspective, to charge everyone for all the games again? In other words, no in-app purchases from the Blindfold Games series will be valid for future updates?

They will allow be to

App Developer

They will allow be to transition into a handful of apps, but that's enormously expensive, and most apps generate no revenue after the initial 3 months. Hence, it would take thousands of hours and I would receive no compensation for the effort. I'm not going to lie to them and tell them I will, when in reality, I won't. And it would make the apps difficult to use and absurdly large.

I was shocked

I was shocked when I read this announcement a few hours ago. Marty, you have my full support and I would like to personally thank you for providing us with these games, which have kept me entertained for hours. You have my full support.

Thanks, comments and a question

Hi! I'd like to start this by thanking you, Marty, for all the excellent apps in the Blindfold Games range which I have played over the years: I have installed most of them and thoroughly enjoyed playing the games I have from this series. Like others here, I was shocked by the news that Apple won't let you submit or update more apps if you don't reduce the number of existing apps by bundling them together: however, I totally understand your decision to stop development of new apps and updating of existing ones, given the very practical reasons why you are not willing to do what Apple wants. I have a practical question myself: will the currently existing apps remain in the App Store? Their could come a time for any of us when we want to reinstall any of the apps or restore our in-app purchases, plus there may be more people who want to install the Blindfold Games apps, so this is something any current or potential Blindfold Games players need to know. Thanks in advance for your answer to my question.

How very frustrating

I've emailed them to urge them to reconsider. You've done so much for us, and been wonderfully invested in and responsive to our community. I can’t thank you enough. I personally think Apple is making a huge mistake in being anything less than enthusiastically supportive of your efforts.

Tragic news

Hi, First of all i would like to also say thanks for all the games you've provided through the years. I also think it's a very strange decision that Apple has made and i hope there is a way to change it. Not a day goes by without me playing Solitaire which is one of my favorite games all categories, but Pinball and Vball are also fun.
I hope the games somehow survive.
/Krister

Thank You

Thank you for developing an excellent series of games! They're really fun to play! You have my full support! Wishing you the best in the future!

Old games

Will all of the allready released games be around? Just asking because I have lots of them and cannot imagine a life without them.

Apple

App Developer

Apple did say if I commit to merging all the apps into a handful of apps, they would allow updates but no new games.
However, given it would take hundreds of hours to do this, that would probably not produce any new sales - since all new purchases occur within 3 months of a game being created - there would be no return on that investment of time.

Apple

App Developer

Thanks for your support.

Apple

App Developer

Thanks for your support.
Apple told me that will not remove any apps from the store (or at least not anytime soon).

Apple

App Developer

Thanks for your support.

Thanks

App Developer

Thanks for your support.

Clarification

Does this mean that all of the games there is will be unavailable?

Existing games

App Developer

Apple told me that will not be removing any of the games - or at least not anytime soon.

Would this work?

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I was thinking, could you perhaps start a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to merge the games? As for how to make it usable and not overly complicated, perhaps the app, on launch, could present the user with the menu of games that’s currently in the Blindfold Games app, and then tapping on a game would launch the menu specific to that game. Essentially, my suggestion is for the app to have the same interface you would use to launch one of the games through the Blindfold Games menu, but with everything in a single app. To prevent the app from being too large, my suggestion would be to make the initial download just the games menu, but to have the ability to download games, or remove games from the device, from within the app. So the user would be downloading different games into a single app, a bit like how currently some of the apps have sound packs you can download within the app. If the games were presented in a list, with rotor actions, the app would be easy to use.

Your idea

App Developer

It's a good idea but since most of the games are programming code, you cannot download those. Apps can only download music or video or documents - not programming code (its a violation of Apple's developer agreement). Each resultant merged game - if I merged it into a handful of games - would be very large. And consider that most people only download a handful of games: there phones would be storing more than they use.

Apple has used the pletora of

Apple has used the pletora of independant developpers to raise its platform use and now they are each time less wanting to have that many apps around and thus are making lives of developpers impossibly hard.

This is not a new thing to folks who are watching the facts on Apple eco-system. I personally think that this will lead Apple to a big trouble, but this is historically the expected path things will take.
A company inovates getting help from key people and factors.
2- Because this company is very talented and have help of many people it grows to a almost monopoly level.
3- It becoems then the standard and dictates the tendencies of what is going to happen.
4- Because its way of doing things is so consolidated the company starts to realise that they do not need the original folks who helped them .. in fact keeping all this eco-system together is expensive and prohibitively expensive because now the users and the big players are into it already.
5- The lives and work flows start to get insanely hard to follow for people with no big teams.
6- Another company appears and creates inovation and so on it all yet another time ...

This is the way generally that Microsoft and youtube was / is and Apple goes to the same path if we can look at history ...

Now, Marty, binary code uses to be small even if there are plenty of source code involved. As far as my understanding is able to see the only big resources such as sounds and support for some graphics ... the idea of a colective founding is good. Of course you are not forced to comment on that but the sounds and other stuff could be downloaded saeparately in my opinion.

modifying the code...

App Developer

You make valid points, but it does not address the issue that these changes, such as merging and introducing downloading of resources etc. would still be hundreds of hours of my time for no forward progress, no return on my time investment, and no benefit to anyone.

Why, is Apple doing this?

Why is Apple making this decision at this point? Is there a policy violation or change or something? How many apps, if you have to many, are you allowed to have?

Oh

At least I am glad that the games allready created will stay. I cannot imagine a life without Blindfold Pyramid Tiles. It is my favourite game on the whole app store. I have allways liked mahjong and don’t want to loose this game forever. I am sending an e-mail to show my support. I understand that it would be really tricky to actually merge all of the games into one so it¨’s completely understandable. I just hope we can solve this.

Games going outdated with future iOS updates?

I have seen apps in the App Store, which have not been updated in quite some time and it is now impossible to download those apps or run those apps on your iOS device. It only gives you the option to cancel or delete the app from your phone now.
Eventually that's going to happen with the blindfold games series.
Wonder if they're having a problem with having too many games under the word blindfold.
Well it really stinks. I don't use android and highly doubt that I would bother going to android just for games.
It would also cost me to reconsider purchasing apps from the App Store send Apple has made that decision. I'm sure it's going to upset a lot of people that paid for the games wouldn't surprise me if either people reconsider paying for abs if you can be locked out of the App Store and updating them properly.

Well, time to get used to change once again.
I am taking all the blindfold apps off my phone so I can get used to not having them around.
Thanks a bunch.

So Marty this is where the

So Marty this is where the colective founding goes.

You specify what needs to be done and calculates the cost of development and then people would colectively guive money to support the whole thing.

You either take this money as your fee or salary or hire annother dev to make the new foundation and update the already built games to feet on it allowing you to plug new games on that new architecture.

Games would then become a one time in-app-purchase and things keep the way they have always been.

If you don't even want to keep the colective founding going you can only point the values and let someone who are supporting you to run it for you,.

sad news! very sad!

well, I hope apple will change their mind about it! I am looking forward some exciting games coming to you! but, it is a very sad news for all visually impaired gamer

rsgames

Does this affect RSgames?

Media Blitz

This is absolutely terrible news! i think all of us who want to see the Blindfold series stick around should start pinging Apple and various media organizations to try and apply some pressure and have this decision reversed. "Apple policy change ends 80+ iOS games for the blind" seems like a very eye-catching title to me.

I just sent the following message to Macworld, Macrumors, 9-to-5 Mac, and Cult of Mac, and will keep sending it out to other media as well. here is the message I sent if you want to use it verbatim or use it as a starting point for your own message:

Hello,

It appears that some recent changes to Apple’s policies for iOS app developers has resulted in a developer of 80+ iOS games for the blind being forced to pull his apps from the app store and discontinue development of future apps. The developer claims that Apple insists he must combine his 80+ apps into a small handful of apps in order to be allowed to keep them on the app store and to continue providing updates. Below is a link to a statement from the developer on a site frequented by blind/low-vision iOS users:

https://www.applevis.com/forum/ios-gaming/no-more-blindfold-games-or-upd...

As a user of many of these apps it is incredibly disheartening to hear that we are losing so many terrific apps for a market (blind/low-vision users) where so few options for electronic games are available.

Apple

App Developer

Apple did not say they would pull them. They did say that the would no longer allow any updates (or new games) unless I commit to merging all the apps into a handful of apps. My concern is that even if they don't pull them, over time, new versions of iOS would make them unusable. That happened with Papa Sangre.

Very Sad News

Like everyone else, I was shocked when I heard this news. I hope something can be worked out, but I too would like to thank Marty for all the great games he's produced.

Seriously

I don’t understand how they can say that all the games are similar content. The games are all different, for example blindfold pyramid tiles are a mahjong style game, blindfold flappy is like flappy bird, blindfold hopper is where you jump on lilly pads. I cannot understand how they say that the games are so similar. This doesnt make sence to me at all. Honestly? I am confused. The menues are similar, yes, but the games are all different!

Thanks for all the Games

Sorry to hear the news Marty and I honestly don't blame you. I think that this is poor on Apple's part to do this and, as others have pointed, do not understand as to how Apple can think that all these games are the same.

I hope that with all of us sending emails to Apple, perhaps we could possibly change their minds. I know I will be sending one.

Thanks again Marty for the wonderful games and take care!

Blindfold Games

I too was very surprised to hear this news from a co-worker this morning. I will be writing to Apple accessibility later this afternoon as well. It doesn't make sense that Apple won't allow Marty to make more games. I understand the difficulty of re-packaging all of the current games into a few larger packs. But going forward, Apple should at least allow additional games in bundles going forward, for instance a word games pack, card games pack, arcade pack, etc.

I will contact Apple, and spread the word on Twitter and youTube too. Maybe consider putting together an estimate of how much it would cost to re-build an interface and re-package the existing apps into packs as I described above. That sounds like a viable crowd funding campaign to me. I didn't realize there were 80 Blindfold Games. I knew there were a lot, but didn't know there were that many. It would be great to keep this series going because it's clear a lot of work has gone into making these games, and marty's done a great job with them.

What Apple also doesn't realize is that, yes, there may be loads of games being released by one developer, but it's not just shovelware crap that is common for mainstream games and apps in the App Store. These games are serving a nitch purpose that not many others are addressing. A sighted user can go grab hundreds of clones of a single game type. Blind and low vision users don't have that option. As long as a developer is releasing a variety of quality titles, it should be encouraged. I'm glad someone is able to make the variety of game types accessible.

I'm sorry KidFriendlySoftware, that's Apple for you

Thank you for the work you have put into your games KidFriendlySoftware. I myself have never played them, but it's obvious they have meant a lot to people, and you have put a lot of work into them. I wish Apple screwing over their developers was surprising to me, but it's not. They expect you guys to put up with all kinds of annoying situations just because the iOS platform has been lucrative for a small group of developers. It's decisions like this that are going to drive away all of the great small developers that we blind people depend on. There are very few people who manage to sustain a profitable business model making software designed exclusively for blind people, and I'm sure you were not making your games because they were bringing you bags of money. My only suggestion would be to, perhaps, think about making future games for Windows. That would probably be even less profitable for you, but most blind people use windows computers, and at least you won't be subject to the whims of an arbitrary overlord. Good luck,

I can't do it but

How about we make a petition on a petition service somewhere for Apple to change their minds about this. I don't know the first thing about making such petitions but someone who loves Blindfold games as much as we do and who is good at making good sounding texts could do it and we could sign it.

I Will Install Them

I'm going to see about installing a couple of these at first when I get an iPhone. But I also agree with everyone else here, you have my full support. As much as I have come to appreciate Apple for their hard work and dedication to accessibility, I do not appreciate this decision in the least bit.

Folks, if you are using Apple

Folks, if you are using Apple devices for a time greater than one and a half hour you *** should *** already know that Apple does not care about consumers opinions and they will for the good or for the bad never ever do it. They have never done it and they **** will not never ever *** do it.

Apple happens to know what is better for you, you are not suposed to kknow what is better for yourself. If you think you know then go the Android rout and do let things going on iOS. This is a cultural factor and it will possibly not change.

Lots of e-mails to Apple won't change anything will they? How many long long standing accessibility bugs are reported again and again for every single tester and never ever got fixed? This is not the way to deal with Apple. You can agree or not ... Apple didn't care ... they haven't when they were a small company, they haven't when they got bigger, they hhaven't when they decreased to a crap nobody really even knew of, they haven't care when they were big again in the iPhone era and they do not care now ... and based on historical behaviour nor they will don't mather what. The day Apple cares with what people outside of it are saying they will no longer be Apple ... so forget about it.

The way of dealing with Apple is to comply with what they are saying, which they in reality do not want devs do because it appears that small devs are not wanted anymore. And the way to comply with what they are asking is to give Marty enough money for him to comply. Other measures will just fail.

RsGames

Wow,

This news is indeed sad.

I've been considering buying some of these as playing rs on the go has been useful.

Is it wirth buying any of these games now?

Hi,

Hi,
Yes, I'm saddened by the news. However, I'll keep it brief. Things come, and things go. That's life for you! Whilst I am definitely saddened by the news, I need to keep moving forward. In my opinion, petitioning apple is not going to do anything. Just my thought, please nobody go off and bash this, but accept this and move on. I am sorry if I'm being harsh, however it's how life works and we need to build that bridge and cross it. Life's to short to be complaining about this and that. Marty, I'm totally supporting you and everything you do. I definitely loved these games, and hope to see more stufff from you, not games, but maybe something else! Keep up the great work, my friend!

some of the game are kind of similar

Pinball and Pong are sort of similar. Some of the card games are kind of similar, such as hearts and spades. But there are differences. The menu system is similar for ease of navigation. But I'm not sure of the validity of Apple's reasoning because there are, after all, differences between titles that make them anything but, as they claim, "copycat apps".

As a tester, I hope that my contributions have made the games, over time, better. Not that they were bad to begin with, but there were bugs that testers found, and a lot of our suggestions have been implemented.

Thanks, Marty, for providing so much enjoyment to blind and visually impaired iDevice gamers. I will certainly be contacting Apple on this matter. I am hoping that, even though we are a small market, if enough of us contact them, they will see the value of these games, and allow the process to continue evolving. If this occurs, I think that it will be a winning situation for all concerned; you, us, and Apple.

to split

This is certainly not the time for negativity or for suggesting that we switch to Android devices!!! Getting rid of our iDevices won't do anything other than cause us to go through the learning curve, have fewer accessible games, and generally cause a lot of us problems and unnecessary hardships. We've invested a lot of money in the devices. I, for one, would not switch, as I just got a new phone yesterday. Jumping ship would only allow us to drown.

to justin and others

To those who have stated stuff along the lines of Justin's post, keep in mind that not contacting Apple because you feel that it will do no good is a totally defeatist attitude. A lack of support for Kid Friendly Software will only show Apple that he has no support, which will certainly have the result you are claiming. If you truly support Marty, DO! IT!!!

Some clarity

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Marty. Sorry to hear that you have been put in a difficult position.
However, it is not clear from your post what the policy change actually is, and what reason has been given for it?
Also, out of curiosity, was it a sudden thing?

To Splyt and others

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I would suggest that Splyt’s claim that Apple doesn’t care about consumers opinions etc is something of a nonsense. Of course they do, but equally they are not going to change policy every time a few people object or request something. They will take it all into account and make the decision they believe is right.
Their policy on the PCalc widget is an example of a decision they went back on.
I’m only an occasional user of these apps myself, but if people feel strongly about it, of course they should let Apple know. Who knows whether or not it will make a difference to the decision.
As I said above, I would be interested to get more information though, and hopefully Marty can figure out a plan that works for him and Apple.

Deeply shocked and Saddened

I am deeply shocked and saddened by this news. I have been a hge fan and spporter of the Kid Friendly Software games for arond 4 years now - I remember when there was only a handful of games, and over the years it has been incredible to watch the number of games grow at an alarming rate. It is easy to see that a huge amount of time and effort goes in to building these games, and as a result they are extremely popular, not just loved by vision impaired gamers. I have already emailed the Apple accessibility desk expressing my anger, and I think it's fair to say that if we are going to even try to make a difference we need as many supporters as possible. We have to see that our voices are heard! A change in rules isn't a reason I can accept to be justifiable personally.

apple rule

App Developer

It was just introduced but it requires a commitment to compliance.

Apple’s new rule is actually

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Apple’s new rule is actually not bad. They want to prevent the app store from being cluttered with what are essentially different versions of the same app. That’s understandable, and if applied properly will make the app store easier to navigate. But that’s not what the Blindfold Games are; they have the same menu structure, but the functionality is different. My point is that it’s not the rule that’s the problem, but the way it’s being applied.

Accessibility e-mail is not the way to go for this issue.

This is not an accessibility issue. While you may want to cc the folks at Apple Accessibility, if there's a main Apple feedback e-mail, that's the one you want to use. Alternatively, the phone number above of 1-800-my-Apple, 1-800-692-7753 is the better way to go. This is not an accessibility bug.

Does the reason that Apple is

Does the reason that Apple is stating that the games are too similar have anything to do with the lack of visuals in the games? If it does, then there would be developers of games for sighted people facing similar issues, I think. Just trying to figure out whether we are being discriminated against.

I don't think it has anything to do with discrimination.

I don't think discrimination is the issue. It's about a rule that, by the way, I believe has a purpose. Somebody mentioned that it is to prevent the App Store to be cluttered with Versions of what seem to be the same application.
Focusing back on the topic of this thread, I want to thank Marty for creating this wonderful collection of games. I will not say that I have purchased all the games and that I like them all, but still, I thank him for giving us all such a phenomenal variety of games which have brought us many hours of entertainment. I particularly have always enjoyed Blindfold Solitaire, Blindfold Pyramid Tiles And a few others. However, the fact is that his games have come to show other developers out there that games for the blind community are, indeed, possible to make. Thank you, Marty, for everything you have done. I hope that a solution can be found and that it will be a favorable one for all of us. I think that maybe, Like another poster suggested, you could compile your apps into different groups such as Blindfold Casino, Blindfold Entertainment, just to give you an idea. If I needed to buy these games again, I will certainly do so. Let's not give up. I am sure that there is a solution for everything in this life.

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