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Subject: Disappearing apps. rss

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Dan Hughes
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I recently repurchased LEGO: Life of George one of my top 50 games (although admittedly it's more of an activity) after having lost my previous copy a few years ago.

For those not in the know it's a lego game which uses an app to show you a picture of a lego model you need to replicate, and then you attempt to build that model in a certain time limit. the clever thing is you then the a picture of the model with your phone and the app tells you if you've made the model correctly or not. As I say, it's a great game and both I and my kids love it.

However I went to the app store to re-download the Life of George App only to find it wasn't there. A bit of investigation showed that Lego stopped supporting the app in 2015 and it had been removed from the store completely.

Now due to the intervention of my 12 year old daughter who showed me how I could still download past purchased Apps through various jiggery-pokery in the iTunes store. However If I'd bought this game second hand and so had not previously downloaded the app, or if I'd switched brand of phone recently, or if I'd not had a 12 year old daughter who was more intelligent than myself, I'd have been sunk.

Which got me thinking about the argument about if Apps will limit the lifespan of games. I've heard this being dismissed before by people saying "there will always be a way to get the app somehow". Now while this was technically true for me on this occasion - it certainly wouldn't have been if I'd switched to Android or I'd just got the game for the first time in a Math Trade or something.

I've not really had a dog in the fight surrounding Apps in games, figuring that I don't object to them providing they actually add something rather than just act as a gimmick. however this recent experience will make me consider purchasing a app based game a little harder.
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Trevor Taylor
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Rather than an issue with app supported games though, this is an issue with a specific company not doing it properly. You'll notice that for most other games that require an app, the app is available for every device (including on pc or even as a Web page for some). Keeping an app supported on the latest iOS (which I think is an apple thing) is much harder than keeping it working as a website or on pc (or even on android to a certain extent).
 
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Dan Hughes
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But what's to stop other companies not doing things properly? Or going out of business? This particular app wouldn't have worked on a PC or website as it needed a camera - which is what actually made it very unique and interesting.

Plus things start getting very unwieldy indeed if I need to lug my laptop to games nights with me too, but that's a tangential issue.

LEGO: Life of George came out in 2011. By 2015 it obviously had stopped making any money for the company and so they lost all interest in supporting it. 4 years of support/interest sounds about right for hobby board gaming company too - even less if the game doesn't really take off.

How long will World of Yo-Ho be supported I wonder. I saw it recently at a very heavy discount at a FLGS so I'm guessing it didn't do as well as the iello wanted. That's a game that uses apps very innovatively, and a game where the app needs to be on a phone specifically. When iello inevitably get taken over by Asmodee (joke!...sort of..) will they be interested in supporting a game that no longer gets them money?
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Old PC games seem to kick around forever but these were available on different media, cassettes or cd so when a company lost interest there were still some physical copies kicking about. The problem with apps arises if there are very few digital outlets and could easily be solved if when an app was abandoned it was made open source which means it could be stored anywhere as well as being updated by practitioners of the dark arts. BGG file sections would actually be a great place to archive all these apps so if the downloads are free I don't see why the publisher couldn't put a copy on here for posterity.
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Russ Williams
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Yep, that's certainly one significant reason I don't want to buy a boardgame which depends on an app. Software often disappears, becomes incompatible with your future device or OS, is buggy and doesn't get fixed, forces you to re-buy it, installs malware, messes up one's system configuration, cannot be modified if you want to experiment with alternative rules, etc etc.


(Not to mention that part of what I enjoy about boardgaming is that the game does not require a computer or other electronics; it's all simply physically implemented, which I find pleasing and interesting in terms of design and aesthetics. Less is more, and all that...)
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George Louie
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Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.

I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.
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Russ Williams
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glouie wrote:
Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.

A boardgame (like a book) can easily last longer than a car (which has many mechanical and electric subsystems, and receives a lot more abuse).

Why shouldn't a typical boardgame (or book) last longer than a typical car? They can and (in my experience) usually do!
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glouie wrote:
Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.


Not legally there isn't.

Quote:
I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


Why would I expect anything less? Why should I?

I find obsolescence, and acceptance of obsolescence, like this to be reprehensible, and merely enabling of further reprehensible behaviour.
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George Louie
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JasonJ0 wrote:
glouie wrote:
Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.


Not legally there isn't.

Quote:
I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


Why would I expect anything less? Why should I?

I find obsolescence, and acceptance of obsolescence, like this to be reprehensible, and merely enabling of further reprehensible behaviour.


Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.

Really, reprehensible??? Whether you like it or not, stuff becomes obsolete because technology advances. Are you still using a VCR? Vinyl albums? 8 track tapes? Do you start your car with a hand crank out do you use an electric starter?

If you buy boardgames to enjoy the experience of gaming, and someone offers a better way to experience it, the old way will be obsolete.
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glouie wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
glouie wrote:
Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.


Not legally there isn't.

Quote:
I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


Why would I expect anything less? Why should I?

I find obsolescence, and acceptance of obsolescence, like this to be reprehensible, and merely enabling of further reprehensible behaviour.


Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.

Really, reprehensible??? Whether you like it or not, stuff becomes obsolete because technology advances. Are you still using a VCR? Vinyl albums? 8 track tapes? Do you start your car with a hand crank out do you use an electric starter?

If you buy boardgames to enjoy the experience of gaming, and someone offers a better way to experience it, the old way will be obsolete.



Not everything has to become obsolete, chess and Go are two examples. Would you replace the Mona Lisa with a photo? Designers obviously don't want to consider the facts that their "baby" won't be supported but I believe it would help sales if they can show longevity by archiving somewhere.
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Yes to VCR, vinyl, and 8 tracks.

glouie wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
glouie wrote:
Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.


Not legally there isn't.

Quote:
I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


Why would I expect anything less? Why should I?

I find obsolescence, and acceptance of obsolescence, like this to be reprehensible, and merely enabling of further reprehensible behaviour.


Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.

Really, reprehensible??? Whether you like it or not, stuff becomes obsolete because technology advances. Are you still using a VCR? Vinyl albums? 8 track tapes? Do you start your car with a hand crank out do you use an electric starter?

If you buy boardgames to enjoy the experience of gaming, and someone offers a better way to experience it, the old way will be obsolete.


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glouie wrote:


Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


I got lots of games that are up to three times as old as that, and they are still enjoyable to play, and I expect they will be here in 30 more years.

Civilization isn't obsolete. Dune isn't obsolete. Axis & Allies...All of those older than 30 years.

Yes, I have an expectation that my board games last a lifetime.
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glouie wrote:

Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.


Anything that is protected by copyright law CAN become public domain, IF the copyright holder decides to release it as such. However, MOST copyright holders do not choose to do this, in my experience. Apps are nothing special in regards to public domain laws.

The only way anything could become public domain WITHOUT a conscious decision by the rights holder to release it is if the time limit expires (last time I checked, that was "death of the creator + 75 years.") That "death of the creator" part is important, because it means the 75 year clock doesn't start counting down for as long as he's still alive.

Abandonware != legal, btw. That's just piracy justified by "this is too old, no one would spend money on it anymore."
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Stewi wrote:
glouie wrote:

Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.


Anything that is protected by copyright law CAN become public domain, IF the copyright holder decides to release it as such. However, MOST copyright holders do not choose to do this, in my experience. Apps are nothing special in regards to public domain laws.

The only way anything could become public domain WITHOUT a conscious decision by the rights holder to release it is if the time limit expires (last time I checked, that was "death of the creator + 75 years.") That "death of the creator" part is important, because it means the 75 year clock doesn't start counting down for as long as he's still alive.

Abandonware != legal, btw. That's just piracy justified by "this is too old, no one would spend money on it anymore."


So, you're agreeing with me.
 
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Dan Hughes
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glouie wrote:


Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


I bought Life of George in 2014. I expected it to last longer than my next phone upgrade.
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glouie wrote:
Stewi wrote:
glouie wrote:

Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.


Anything that is protected by copyright law CAN become public domain, IF the copyright holder decides to release it as such. However, MOST copyright holders do not choose to do this, in my experience. Apps are nothing special in regards to public domain laws.

The only way anything could become public domain WITHOUT a conscious decision by the rights holder to release it is if the time limit expires (last time I checked, that was "death of the creator + 75 years.") That "death of the creator" part is important, because it means the 75 year clock doesn't start counting down for as long as he's still alive.

Abandonware != legal, btw. That's just piracy justified by "this is too old, no one would spend money on it anymore."


So, you're agreeing with me.


Echo, echo, echo.
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At least from a PC standpoint, you can keep the installer flat around forever, and backwards compatibility is almost always possible. So that helps in the case of that platform.
 
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glouie wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
glouie wrote:
Things become obsolete, is just the way life is. You go into it knowing that there is a dependency on an external device or service, and you get your usage in accordingly. If the game is fun while it lasts, that's really all you can expect. I was at a thrift store earlier today and saw a bunch of those mystery/storytelling games that you used to play on vhs video cassettes. Same thing, those games are essentially worthless, unless someone comes out with a replacement hardware solution for the old tapes. Lol. At least with apps there is the potential for the apps and pc software to become public domain and someone to release an emulator for it in the future.


Not legally there isn't.

Quote:
I look at this the same as with legacy type games, they have a limited lifespan. Once it reaches that life you're done.

Why is there this expectancy that a $50 boardgames has to last forever? The average person spends $20k or more on an automobile with a life expectancy of 10 - 12 years.


Why would I expect anything less? Why should I?

I find obsolescence, and acceptance of obsolescence, like this to be reprehensible, and merely enabling of further reprehensible behaviour.


Not true at all. Software can become public domain legally. Just because some emulators are black market didn't mean all are.

Really, reprehensible??? Whether you like it or not, stuff becomes obsolete because technology advances. Are you still using a VCR? Vinyl albums? 8 track tapes? Do you start your car with a hand crank out do you use an electric starter?

If you buy boardgames to enjoy the experience of gaming, and someone offers a better way to experience it, the old way will be obsolete.


My 19 year old buys a lot of vinyl, most of her new bands are putting out their stuff on vinyl. One of my musician friends tried to explain it to me. Something about digital cuts off the high and low ends and you get a 'fuller' sound on vinyl.
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Guantanamo wrote:
Something about digital cuts off the high and low ends and you get a 'fuller' sound on vinyl.


This fallacy has been bandied about since the advent of CDs in the eighties. What I think is interesting is that people feel the need to justify the things they love. Records, like boardgames, are anachronistic relics of a bygone age. But they are fun to mess with, they are tactile, and full of nostalgia--even for the young'uns.

FWIW, I own and use a record player (and listen to 78s), tape decks, and VCR. I do not own a smartphone. And I am 44 years old.

My name is Chris, and I am a luddite.
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Gee Whiz wrote:
Records, like boardgames, are anachronistic relics of a bygone age. But they are fun to mess with, they are tactile, and full of nostalgia--even for the young'uns.

FWIW, I own and use a record player (and listen to 78s), tape decks, and VCR. I do not own a smartphone. And I am 44 years old.

My name is Chris, and I am a luddite.

Boardgames are "anachronistic relics of a bygone age", comparable to tape decks and VCRs?

Sorry, that makes no sense to me...

(Nor are you a luddite if you're typing in internet forums...)

Coincidentally I just read a news article about VCR manufacturing dying off. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36857370

Nothing like that is happening with boardgames. Boardgames (unlike VCR) are sold and played all over the place.
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As a counterpoint, Golem Arcana fans are not only keeping the app for that game alive, they're fixing bugs as well

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1589506/gar-update-06102016
 
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Chris Knight
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Oh brother. You are grabbing onto one little nugget that had little to do with the point of the post.

Boardgames are slow, boring, and yes, anachronistic, compared to, say, video games and the allure of technology, which is what this thread is about.
 
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Gee Whiz wrote:
Oh brother. You are grabbing onto one little nugget that had little to do with the point of the post.

Boardgames are slow, boring, and yes, anachronistic, compared to, say, video games and the allure of technology, which is what this thread is about.

Well, "slow" and "boring" are subjective. (If you find boardgames boring, why are you at BGG?) E.g. I find a lot of video games to be boring. And a video game does not need to be fast; many are not real-time, after all.

But "anachronistic" seems more objectively false to me. It seems like asserting that walking is anachronistic because bikes and cars exist, or that books are anachronistic because films exist. Different products satisfy different desires. If a desire exists and a product fulfills it, how is the product anachronistic? The type of technology, and whether it's old or new technology, seems irrelevant. E.g. clothing has existed for millennia: does that make clothing anachronistic?

VCR is anachronistic because virtually nobody wants to use VCR; most people agree that there are better ways to record and watch films, given a choice. The same is obviously false about boardgames: huge numbers of people enjoy playing boardgames and often prefer them to video games. Boardgames give a different (and for many people superior and more desirable) experience from video games.
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There are 3 games that I play which either have a required app or an app which makes the game better.

Frankly, I love seeing all the doomsayers, particularly in the XCOM forums, which say that the game will be unplayable once the company stops supporting it and our phones can't run it.

I don't know how many people get rid of their old phones, but I usually keep mine. My old phone runs all three apps so if the apps were pulled today, I would still have them. Heck, if the apps are pulled 10 years from now, I'll still be able to run the version I played.

In the meantime, whatever phone I'm using now will run the current version of the app. Heck, current phone will become the old phone eventually... Sure, I may not always keep the games installed on my phone, but the only space they take up is on a little memory card.
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Dan Hughes
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Tarnop wrote:
As a counterpoint, Golem Arcana fans are not only keeping the app for that game alive, they're fixing bugs as well


That's interesting. So out of the two "dead" app dependant games that I'm aware of one has disappeared without a trace and the other is kept on life support by it's fan base.

Obviously it's difficult to know which outcome is going to be the most common, but I still am a little hesitant to invest heavily into an app based game (I'm glad, for example that you yourself Tarnop talked me out of getting World of Yo-ho recently)

I suppose it will all depend on how big (and tech savvy) the fan base for the game is.
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