Jon Blow: “almost no certification process for iOS”. LOLz.

Jon just published an interesting letter about the current state of cert processes for game consoles / platforms.

There are some real problems with certification today. Unfortunately, Jon’s post doesn’t really touch upon them, and seems to go instead after the IMHO untrue and unhelpful claim that iOS is better for having “almost no certification”. No, really:

“The certification processes of all these platform holders were based on the idea that all these steps they test are absolutely necessary for software to run robustly, and that software robustness is super-important for the health of their platform and its perception by customers.

But, look at iOS. There is almost no certification process for iOS, so by the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo theory, the apps should be crashing all the time, everyone should think of iOS as sucky, etc. But in fact this is not what is happening. There is no public outcry for more testing and robustness of iOS software.”

Personally, I’d say that iOS has a certification process of comparable length to console cert, given the comparitive size/complexity/many-years of development in the apps, and for a couple of years it was considerably nastier than TRC’s because *it had no documentation*.

(my first hand experience: I created and maintained a large site that documented the app rejections by Apple, and interviewed the developers on what got rejected, why, what happened after the rejection, etc.)

Even with the nightmare of never knowing what the rules were, there was a positive net effect: many apps were forced to resubmit until they hit a minimum barrier of quality. Again – I know this for a fact, I had many conversations and interviews with developers about this, often getting to read their conversations with Apple. Even today, there are many apps being rejected every week for failing on basic quality / functionality / crashing / etc.

For me, that rather undermines his argument. Which is a pity, because there ARE major problems with cert – on all platforms, Apple included – and we should be focussing on them. But it’s not the idea of cert that’s at fault, it’s either the choice of items (e.g. Sony, where some of the rules come from PlayStation 1 era and are barely relevant today) or it’s the poor implementation of the process (e.g. Apple until 2011), or it’s the big chunks of stuff that SHOULD be part of cert but isn’t (…everyone…).

4 thoughts on “Jon Blow: “almost no certification process for iOS”. LOLz.

  1. Gavin Clifton

    My view on this is that no one forces developers to release on these platforms. The hardware vendors can make the process as convoluted and expensive as they see fit. People have the choice to release their games on desktops if they don’t want to deal with it. It’s their choice to partake in the certification experience so I don’t see why anyone can complain about it.

  2. DR

    “I’d say that iOS has a certification process of comparable length to console cert”

    Clearly you have absolutely *no clue* what cert. for something like XBLA is like – and even that’s a step down from full blown retail 360/PS3/Wii game certs.

  3. adam Post author

    @DR – I’ve never done XBLA, but I’ve done both PS and 360. I’ve also helped write TRC’s for MMO platforms that came in at 10+ pages in checklist form.

    How many checklist items do you think Apple has? There’s a published “meta-list”, but the actual list – which is 5-10x longer – has never been published anywhere, so far as I’m aware.

    I’d guess that you simply don’t know how detailed Apple’s requirements are. Apple has done an APALLINGLY POOR JOB of explaining them to … well … *anyone* … let alone developers at large :(.

  4. adam Post author

    PS: I’m making huge allowances here for e.g. Apple only has one hardware platform. There’s no external hookup to 3rd-party TV’s etc.

    Sorry it that wasn’t obvious – it was all assumed in my statement “given the comparitive size/complexity” – I was referring to the complexity of the environment (hardware, vendors, partners) not just the complexity of the application (software, game-design). Sorry.

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