Official Forumwarz Blog

The official blog for the web game, Forumwarz

iRejected! How Apple took nine weeks to arbitrarily reject our app

Has the iPhone App craze reached its peak? Probably. But we feel the “iPhone App submission horror story” craze is still going strong.

Here’s ours.

The game

We’re in the business of making parody games. Our premiere title is an RPG parody that takes place on the Internet. With that spirit, here’s the pitch for our app, called iCapitalism:

“When I was young, I had all the time in the world to play video games, but no money to buy them. As an adult, I have all the money in the world to buy games, but no time to play them.”

Are you tired of games that require time, effort and (worst of all) skill to play? If so, iCapitalism is the game for you!

iCapitalism is the world’s first game entirely driven by microtransactions. There is literally no gameplay outside of the ability to upgrade your character using real money.

We also had a FAQ explaining it in more detail:

How do I play?

Click on the Play tab. Then click Increase Your Level. You will be presented with a list of level upgrades you can purchase with real money.

So there’s really no skill involved?

None at all! The person who pays us the most wins. The rest are displayed on a leaderboard in descending order.

Does my money get me anything besides a higher spot on the leaderboard?

When you increase your level you can enter a custom message. All other players can see this when you’re on leaderboard. The top payer player becomes the “Head Honcho,” and their (inevitably more important) message will be the first thing everyone sees when they boot the app.

Who are you, and why would you create something like this?

iCapitalism was created by the people behind Forumwarz, the browser RPG based on Internet culture. A long time ago, we promised our audience that it wouldn’t be possible to gain a competitive advantage by paying more than another player. What could be worse than grinding for weeks and building up your stats, only to find that some jerk-off kid paid $20 and surpassed you?

However, we’ve seen that there are other web games where you can simply purchase a competitive advantage…we’re looking at you, popular Facebook farm simulator! Having tried said games, we were stunned to discover that not only do they allow people to surpass you with microtransactions, but it’s almost impossible to play competitively without it!

We’re going to keep our word about not doing this to Forumwarz. But there’s nothing stopping us from doing it in a new game! And if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. Hence, iCapitalism.

The submission process

We built an iPhone game in just under two days and submitted it to Apple for approval. The concept was a little iffy, but we figured it was worth the gamble. If nothing else, it could attract some attention to our web RPG, Forumwarz.

Two weeks after submitting, we received an email from Apple: “The review process will require additional time.” Fair enough. These things take time. Our previous application took 12 days to approve.

Two more weeks passed. We decided to put a little more pressure on them — politely, of course. We sent Apple an email asking why we hadn’t heard anything yet, and whether there was anything we could do to expedite the process. We received a reply a day later, saying, “Your application is still in review but is requiring unexpected additional time.” Fair enough. These things take…a great deal of time.

Two more weeks went by. Apple still hadn’t contacted us. We sent another email, this time directly to Steve Jobs. No, we never expected Mr. Jobs to read it, but we’d heard some developers have had some luck going directly to the man himself.

Surprisingly, our Hail Mary play seemed to work. A few days later, we were treated to a short phone conversation with an actual live person. We were told that everything with our App was fine, except we had some in-app purchases that they felt were too expensive. They kindly asked if we’d remove them, and we agreed to do it on the spot. We built the game very closely to their specifications for in-app purchases, so re-submitting it would not be necessary. We were left with the impression that the game would be approved shortly.

Another week passed and our game was still “In Review.” Another email was sent. A few days later, another phone call. Again, we were asked to remove some overly expensive in-app purchases — the same ones we’d already removed over a week ago. The man on the phone didn’t seem to believe that it was already done. After we insisted we did what they’d asked, we were told we’d get a call back shortly.

Another week went by. Again, nothing. The situation had officially gone from “absurd” to “Kafkaesque.” Fearing that it wouldn’t be long before we were inexplicably metamorphosed into dung beetles, we sent them yet another email. One full week later, we received our third call — informing us that our application was rejected. We were informed, strangely enough, that the nature of our application violated their “policies.”

We pointed out that we never saw anything in their policies that prohibited our content. Where we were supposed to obtain these policies? The response: “We are informing you of them on the phone right now.” In other words, after nine long weeks, Apple invented a policy to reject our game.

Our game did not use any hidden APIs. It featured no adult content or copyrighted images. It did not duplicate any functionality in the iPhone’s core software.

Why was it rejected? Because, apparently, Apple can’t take a joke.

So you’re upset that Apple wouldn’t approve your money-grubbing stupid idea? Give me a break.

Is that what you’re thinking? If it is, then you’re missing the point.

Yes, our game is cheeky and gimmicky and money-grubbing. But so are games like iFlatulence. It’s not like your fart money’s going to colon cancer charities, folks.

The point here is that the App Store submission process is horribly broken. As a developer, you have to invest all your time and money developing your app before you even know if it can be sold. And, as we’ve demonstrated, even if your App is built in accordance to every policy, Apple can still reject it.

Yes, you could say we pushed the envelope. And of course it’s within Apple’s rights to make up rules as they go along. But for God’s sake, if you’re going to be like that, make it a quick and painless death. Don’t string us along for nine weeks before glibly claiming that we violated some imaginary policy.

Of course, we’re not going to go broke because we spent a couple of days of development time and a few bucks on stock photography. But it still stinks. Sure, it was a silly idea for a game. But what are they going to reject next? What poor development shop are they going to starve of potential profits for months before they get approval?

The current system is untenable. Something’s got to give eventually. In the meantime, we hope will serve as a cautionary tale — or a wake-up call.

About these ads

Written by eviltrout

February 1, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

69 Responses

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  1. 1) Wait a couple of weeks
    2) Resubmit app to Apple for approval process
    3) If Apple is less pissy, they might approve it

    numanair

    February 2, 2011 at 1:26 AM

  2. It won’t change as long as Apple can continue flaunting the size of their app store. They can mercilessly crush someone like you, there are a hundred more of you in Apple’s eyes.

    bob

    February 2, 2011 at 2:03 AM

  3. Steve Jobs is Hitler.

    Done

    February 2, 2011 at 2:18 AM

  4. Just redo it for Android. Hell, send me the stock photos and I’ll do it for a small amount of the profit.

    d4m4s74

    February 2, 2011 at 3:47 AM

  5. I am going to remake this game for Android and be rich.

    Adam

    February 2, 2011 at 6:02 AM

  6. You wrote a shit app and got shit service. Fair is fair.

    George

    February 2, 2011 at 6:17 AM

  7. It’s not just about rules, it’s about quality. Your app is clearly just like the $999 I Am Rich app that they allowed then rightly pulled. Yours is worse than the iFart apps. I’m glad Apple are keeping your rubbish out.

    tobylane

    February 2, 2011 at 7:09 AM

  8. Your game sends the wrong message to children.

    It is imperative that a game as childish as yours does not corrupt impressionable minds.

    I agree with everyone that says port your game to Android. It belongs in the wild.

    PhillyG

    February 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM

  9. I guess they just didn’t like the name of the app, iCapitalism.. I think if you had named it Simple Capitalism, or so, it might actually have passed the review process..

    The ixxxx brand is something Apple are very keen on keeping clean!

    Cheers,
    Chris Dus

    Chris

    February 2, 2011 at 12:01 PM

  10. Whine…. ‘not fair’
    ‘We’re in the business of making parody games.’ No you are not. Just because you are up front about stealing someones money, like a smiling mugger, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a slap. I’d do more… like a knee capping, parody or not.

    FFS

    February 2, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    • You’d kneecap somebody because they wrote a game you don’t like?

      Seriously?

      There’s somebody needs some slapping, but it isn’t Evil Trout and company. Check your priorities, friend.

      MikeP

      February 4, 2011 at 8:41 AM

  11. Sorry, have to side with Apple one this one. It sounds like you think you’re being cheeky or maybe radical by shining a bright light on the hypocrisy and corruption of modern society. It all sounds so sophomoric – I’m sure you remember your sophomore days in college when you were popular and learned the word “Kafkaesque”.

    But I see an app where I push a button and get to send you money.

    Patrick

    February 2, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    • Yeah, it’s just like The Daily.

      hahnchen

      February 3, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    • “But I see an app where I push a button and get to send you money”

      So, pretty much like 10,000 other games in the App Store?

      john

      February 3, 2011 at 6:59 PM

      • This is a bullshit app and you know it.

        Yoush!t

        February 4, 2011 at 9:12 PM

  12. What if the app increased your rank for every app purchased, and increased it further for every apple product purchased? 10 bucks [virtual] says you get approved.

    Scan ipod receipt, get 100 pts, scan iMAC receipt, get 1000pts, etc..

    Anne Nonymous

    February 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    • That’s actually a cool idea. Not only does it say “I have money”, but it also says “I spent it on expensive things”.

      Andromeda

      February 2, 2011 at 7:22 PM

  13. So, you lost two whole days work writing a worthless customer rip-off of an app that Apple rightfully rejected. Cry me a river.

    I’m sure that this will serve as a cautionary tale all right. The lesson is don’t submit junk to the App Store.

    But look on the bright side. There is always Android-land.

    Brett

    February 3, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    • No, the cautionary tale is that Apple will only accept crap games, where the only objective is to pay the developer more money, when it contains the -ville suffix.

      hahnchen

      February 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

  14. What part of “Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected” is confusing.

    The point of the App store is that apps are of higher quality and actually do something interesting and worthwhile.

    As other commenters have said, port your app to Android, please.

    Doug

    February 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    • +1

      Vader

      February 4, 2011 at 3:45 PM

  15. I think this App is a great idea.

    jonathanjk

    February 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM

  16. YOUR GAME SUCKS!! Haha probably It’s gonna end up in Android Market with all the other shit apps if you wanna get any downloads!

    Martin

    February 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM

  17. uhh. y’all are missing the point. there are already a ton of games in the store that follow this exact model but have you “building a smurf village” instead of doing nothing. you literally pay cashmonies with your itunes account to buy “smurfberries” i am not making this up.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40584671/ns/business-us_business/

    if you’d like to rail on this please explain to me the difference between paying money for a “level” in this game and paying money for “smurfberries” in another.

    anonymous

    February 3, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    • Because you don’t have to buy smurfberries to play the game or build a village – it just makes the game go faster. In *this* instance, you can’t do anything without paying money.

      Julie

      February 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      • so putting in a free $1 a day automatic doodad would make this app apple-acceptable? i strongly doubt that’s the one magic change which would have allowed this to be posted.

        anonymous

        February 4, 2011 at 12:04 PM

  18. A crappy app that does nothing and takes idiot’s money?

    Back up the truck and bring’er over to Android Marketplace!

    DroidLuvR

    February 3, 2011 at 6:36 PM

  19. Wow. Not ONE of these people understood your point that it wasn’t that your app got rejected, it was that it took nine weeks, two email replies, three phones calls and two revision requests before they rejected it.

    Is reading comprehension just a lost art?

    Maybe the commenters are a sample of the level of people Apple hires for the App approval process.

    wygit

    February 3, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    • @wygit
      Wow, I guess you don’t do irony either?

      I know ‘deconstruction’ is difficult for some people who are unable to read-between-the-lines or posit a cause-and-effect scenario. I would have sat on the app for another three months at least to provoke even more time wasting and phone calls by the developers. Actually, the more I think about it, it would seem someone at Apple was yanking ‘their’(ForumWarz) chain.

      Try this. You are an out-of-town glass stockist. Set up shop in your downtown office area, selling big rocks with ‘Throw Me’ on one side and ‘Glass Breaker’ on the other. It’s certainly not an illegal business but I think even you might see where it will end.

      In a world where you are damned whether you do or don’t, common sense always prevails.

      FFS

      February 4, 2011 at 6:18 AM

    • So the fact that they actually took time to consider his app, review it, and even discuss it with him on the phone – that’s the bad part? That they took the time to think about whether it should be included?

      If they’d rejected it in a day we’d have been reading an article about how they didn’t give it a fair shake.

      Vader

      February 4, 2011 at 3:47 PM

  20. I really like the Idea! It would be interesting to see how much more gameplay would be needed for it to get approved. Maybe a growing pile of bills you can skim thru would be enough? Or add a very easy “hit the mole” stile game everyone can win, and you can buy additional moles. At some point it can be measured with existing games and Apple gets into real trouble explaining itself :-)

    Ah, yes, before I forget: I want my share if you use the mole idea ;-)

    overkill

    February 3, 2011 at 6:59 PM

  21. Looks like the app approval process is working to me. This has no value, its a crap get rich quick scheme. The developer should be ashamed of their poor attempt.

    Frank

    February 3, 2011 at 7:07 PM

  22. Glad your app was not published. App Store is OK, you are broken.

    Ravi

    February 3, 2011 at 7:34 PM

  23. The Android equivalent will be on how many times the user tap the ads willfully, since we all know Android users don’t pay :P

    Paul

    February 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

  24. You, sir, are a jagoff. Railing against the evils of Apple while deliberately trying to waste people’s time and money – then getting pissed when Apple won’t let you do it.

    This is exactly why the App process is not as broken as people like you would lead others to believe. Yes, it’s subjective but no, it’s not arbitrary. Just like all good management decisions – which I would be shocked if you knew anything about.

    Yes, please go sell this to the Android mob. Advertise that “this is the App BANNED BY APPLE” so tons of non-thinking Apple-haters will buy it for that reason alone. You make me sick.

    Kevin

    February 3, 2011 at 8:02 PM

  25. Port it to Android and see how many downloads/purchases you’ll get there.

    Glad you wasted your time on this.

    Jon

    February 3, 2011 at 8:04 PM

  26. Here’s what you do: Same idea. On Facebook. Using Facebook credits.

    That’s at least what I would do. Love the idea.

    Scott Jon Siegel

    February 3, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    • this. rename it to ville. 3. profit.

      anonymous

      February 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

      • er rename it to [something]ville.

        anonymous

        February 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

  27. have to side with apple as well. the app provides no service for the money you’re taking from people. frankly, i’m surprised apple took so long to ditch you. you should feel good that the app team actually debated your app.

    jrock

    February 3, 2011 at 8:23 PM

  28. [...] iCapitalism [...]

  29. What an embarrassment to read this cr@p. “A wake-up call” ?? you need serious waking up

    woodo

    February 3, 2011 at 10:07 PM

  30. Your app is a turd. What did you expect? I’m glad that Apple didn’t pollute the app store with more crapware.

    Good job Apple!

    What a turd

    February 3, 2011 at 10:24 PM

  31. Keep on buying apps sheeple. Make sure you buy all the smurf berries, and extra credits for farmville.

    also, make sure you purchase the shortcut packs for your favorite FPS.

    Anne Nonymous

    February 4, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    • While I wouldn’t personally do the whole microtransactions thing, or pay for “smurfberries” or whatever, some people genuinely enjoy the game and want to spend their money buying things for it. I don’t see how it’s any different from buying the Brownie Points in Forumwarz, to get extra doodads. You don’t have to, but you can.

      iCapitalism is not a game with microtransactions to buy little doodads or extra crap. iCapitalism is microtransactions, fullstop. I can see that as being very different.

      ar-

      May 4, 2011 at 2:59 AM

  32. Seems like a lot of the commenters do not understand the concept of parody, cynicism and kafkaesque. BTW, this is not very different from advertising space that goes to the highest bidder. The only missing was some “decay” parameter, such that you would have to keep paying to stay at the top.

    Michael

    February 4, 2011 at 3:21 AM

  33. “Something’s got to give eventually”

    Fart apps is what’s got to give, including yours. Use a cross platform framework and sell your stuff on Android, and then report back!

    Fabrice

    February 4, 2011 at 8:33 AM

  34. [...] – iCapitalism [...]

    Kurazaybo jom peich

    February 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM

  35. All you guys have to do is go to the Supreme Court. They have already ruled that money is speech (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) and that corporations are people. The highest bidder gets to talk loudest in elections, so why not in an app? Apple was just doing the decent thing in rejecting the app, so you guys can go to Scalia, Roberts, Alito et al and get those clowns to do the indecent thing. Money Talks! It’s the American way!

    Brian B

    February 4, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    • The dumb ass response to Brian B’s “Money Talks! It’s the American way!” would be – If you’ve got more than $60 Billion, talk to us.

      I suggest that Apple do not act or operate in such a trite, juvenile or absolute mode.

      Be that as it may, it looks like Forumwarz have been outplayed here.

      So, suck it up losers.

      skylark

      February 5, 2011 at 1:53 AM

  36. [...] is iRejected. How do I play? Click on the Play tab. Then click Increase Your Level. You will be presented with a list of level upgrades you can purchase with real money. [...]

  37. LMFAO at the irony here… you guys make up rules ALL THE TIME on Forumwarz. How’s it feel now that the shoe’s on the other foot, eh? Too funny. Are you BLINDED IN RAGE YET?

    Also: submit the app to the droid marketplace and the windows phone 7 app store. Maybe you can get it in there.

    Fingerz

    February 5, 2011 at 11:17 PM

  38. [...] euro. In totaal is deze applicatie, die slechts één afbeelding bevatte, zeven keer verkocht.Bron: ForumWarz betalen, functionaliteit, geld, geweigerd, I Am Rich, icapitalism, lijst Gerelateerde Apple [...]

  39. [...] zo’n voorbeeld van een idee van twijfelachtige kwaliteit: iCapitalism. Een simpele app waar je door middel van in-app-purchases je plaats in de highscore-lijst kunt [...]

    iCapitalism | julesj | blog

    February 10, 2011 at 2:01 AM

  40. [...] iRejected! How Apple took nine weeks to arbitrarily reject our app « Official Forumwarz Blog Are you tired of games that require time, effort and (worst of all) skill to play? If so, iCapitalism is the game for you! [...]

  41. [...] iRejected! How Apple took nine weeks to arbitrarily reject our app « Official Forumwarz Blog [...]

  42. What I like about this app is that it exploits Apps in Apples store. Many of the FREE games are nothing more than a hidden version of icapitalism. Apple knows that this application exploits these apps which make Apple a lot of money. Bravo to the creators of this, bravo for making Apple face the fact that many of their apps rip people off by offering “Upgrades” to their status.

    billy S

    February 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

  43. Pretty cool, 7 Vibrating Doldoes is still now a meme.

    Raepdog

    February 22, 2011 at 5:53 PM

  44. You seem to think this is a clever idea but it’s not. The ‘direct’ approach to your parody is what makes it meh at best. Maybe if you had an ounce of creative juice in your white, skinny, worn, torn, homo bunghole you could have figured out how to make this a winner.

    So stop bitching they rejected you, how is Apple any different from any woman you ever met?

    Steve Nobs

    March 1, 2011 at 2:55 AM

  45. [...] Forumwarz (via John Gruber): We were informed, strangely enough, that the nature of our application violated their “policies.” [...]

  46. The message here is if you make a parody of all these money grubbing apps in our store, and make it so obvious that that even our dumb down superficial audience would get it, we’re going to take out our nazi stick!

    Cole

    March 25, 2011 at 3:11 AM

  47. I can’t believe you guys even tried to pull something like this.This game smells like a payout scheme disguised as a “parody” game. Apple is right to ban your app.

    It’s a good thing I just found this post, I was going to spend $100+ on forumwarz but I don’t think I will anymore.

    Pete

    March 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM

  48. Gunna give evil trout some credit here. I reckon iCapitalism was never created or submitted to Apple and the post/response IS the parody game.

    Do I get e-peen now?

    Challenging Duelism

    April 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM

  49. nice backpedal there, et. maybe if you weren’t such a gigantic faggot, you’d make something that was worth buying. stop crying about your shit “game” not going on the app store.

    fuck you

    September 22, 2012 at 9:15 AM

  50. Maybe you could have spent time you used on your fake scam artist game on adding new content to ForumWarz which has sat fairly neglected for years. Just saying.

    Hey ET

    December 24, 2012 at 3:56 AM

  51. People really take “missing the point” to an artform here. This app was never seriously expected to pass muster. It was, I have no doubt, written with the full knowledge that it would be shot down. Instead, personnel at Apple spent NINE WEEKS on seriously considering letting something that was such a blatant cash-in be marketed. Think about that. Most people here can decide in SECONDS that this should never have been allowed to market. How did it take Apple so long to come to the same conclusion? Also, consider that their first reaction was not, “You need to add some gameplay.” but rather, “Can you make the purchases a little cheaper?”…in other words, they didn’t reject it for being nothing but a money-making scheme. They rejected it because they decided that not enough people would be suckered into paying!

    Loan Deranger

    February 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

  52. WOW! I am so surprised at how many people agreed with apple. Who the hell are you or anyone else to say what is and is NOT a good app…the market…(which apple uses allllllll the time)…decides.

    And where it really fails the smell test is that apple doesn’t actually make desicions based on “user experiece” they base it on whatever they feel like…and for everyone who says…well its there company they an do what they want….

    Don’t be so sure…they are walking a REALLY tight line with anti trust with bundling services. The government already started investigating them when they had TOS saying no competitor apps allowed. Apple pulled that term knowng FULL WELL it was illegal. I.E. what they are doing now is illegal….it is just so murky that it is hard to prove…

    ok FINE so they get away with it

    Just dont go trying to act like Apple is taking the moral high ground…they are anything but..at all times…can’t wait for them to rot back into the dark ages to the back water 10% of electronic gear where they belong.

    Bill

    February 7, 2013 at 12:48 AM


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