iTunes Store iPod Games: Buy Them Again for New iPods
What Happened? People who purchased any or all of Apple's past "iPod Games" from the iTunes Store have learned that, unlike music and videos, the games must be re-purchased to work on new iPods.
The Details: Imagine you bought a bunch of music from the iTunes Store, and after Apple released its 2008 iPods, you discovered that you'd have to re-purchase all the music again because it wouldn't play on the new iPods. "That's technology," right?
Wrong. Without backwards compatibility, no one would be stupid enough to purchase content from the iTunes Store. Who wants to buy the same thing twice just to use it on a new iPod? This week, Apple decided to find out.
Since 2006, Apple has been selling $4.99 iPod Games, a series of twenty different casual action, puzzle, sports, and quiz titles, releasing the latest one less than a month before new iPods were announced. As early customers discovered -- much to their confusion, and after downloading the games, as shown in numerous comments on the iTunes Store -- these "iPod Games" could only be played on one iPod, the fifth-generation iPod (with video), and not on the more popular iPod nano.
Apple acknowledged customers' concerns on September 5. "People would like to have games on their nanos," Jobs told the audience at a Special Event in San Francisco. "We listened to everybody's concerns, and we think we've nailed it with the new iPod nano." Prior "iPod Game" titles would be re-released in the iTunes Store for play on the iPod classic and the iPod nano, with the first three games -- Sudoku, Tetris, and Ms. Pac-Man -- arriving imminently. The games would also work on the iPod classic, Apple's renamed version of the traditional hard disk-based iPod.
"Great," thought past iPod game buyers, "now I can use the iPod games I bought last month on the new iPods, just like I can still play the music and videos I bought for my last iPod." Nope. Rather than letting past games work on the new iPods, or letting customers re-download newly compatible versions, Apple told past iPod game owners to buy the games again. The "reformatted" versions for iPod nano and classic are nothing more than version 1.1 of past version 1.0 games, with minor menu tweaks, and do not feature additional levels or other content changes. Reactions from past iPod game buyers have been profoundly negative: clearly, users believed that iPod games would continue to work on newer Click Wheel iPods.
Customer Responses: "Who are you and what have you done with the real Steve Jobs?"
"Yeah, way to go Apple. Just when I has going to upgrade my Nano, 5.5, and switch to a MacBook Pro. I guess success has now ruined Apple. No longer 'hip'. Just another generic faceless corporation. Trade the jeans and t neck for the PC suit Steve, your transformation to the dark side is now complete."
"Repurchase the games with absolutely NO guarantees that they will function on the next generation of iPods? How stupid does Apple think we are? I guess plenty, cause we were dumb enough to buy iPods and iPod games to start with. Great way to destroy a market in it’s infancy, Apple!"
What Apple Can Easily Do: Let past iPod game buyers download versions that work on their new iPods, and either plan to use the same game code on future video-capable iPods, or rename "iPod Games" to "Click Wheel iPod Games" so that people don't assume they'll work on touch-screened iPods.