Balloonacy (iTunes link), developed by Mobile Amusements, was released in the iPhone App Store on August 13th. The app, an accelerometer based game in which you must tilt a balloon through a maze, came with a twist.
The app is "adwrapped", meaning every time you load the game, you must first go through a series of advertisements. This method of profiting not only ruins the spirit of iPhone gaming, but I’m sure it breaks the Terms & Conditions of iPhone developing for the App Store.
The idea of the App Store is to allow developers to either provide a free app (to get their name out and spread the wealth), or to sell an app for a fixed price (and paying Apple 30% of their profits).
Mobile Amusements found a loop hole. By offering the app for free, they split nothing with Apple. In turn, they collect 100% profit from the advertiser (so far we’ve spotted JC Penney, WalMart, and Tropic Thunder the movie).
Here are a few screen shots.
When the app is loading, the note reads as follows:
"This content is wrapped with advertising (ADWRAP) and is FREE but may incur a data charge via your network provider to view per play." This means that while it’s free to click ads, it opens up your Safari browser which in turn taps into your data plan.
After the loading screen, you are presented with an ad.
Once you tap the ad, you must choose "Learn how" or "Skip". Learn how takes you to a webpage on Safari.
This is where clicking "Learn how" takes you.
After skipping the first ad, you are presented with yet another ad. After skipping this one, you’ll finally get to the game.
The game itself isn’t bad at all. It a simple accelerometer based game where you guide a balloon through one of these mazes without hitting any walls. If it wasn’t for the ads, this game would’ve gotten good reviews. Heck, they could’ve even charged a dollar or two and made some decent money. But instead, they’re just gonna get kicked right out of the App Store.
The problem isn’t even the fact that adverising is present — it’s the way in which the ads are presented. They are overly intrusive. The ads require a page of their own. The ad pages take a while to load, and take up to 20 seconds of your time. Furthermore, an ad pops up everytime you lose the game. It’s way overboard with the ads.
App Store users are responding appropriately by giving Balloonacy negative reviews (it only has 2 stars).
Tell us what you think about ad based iPhone apps.