More than 5 weeks ago I posted a preview of the OnLive app for Android. Not the game viewer, not the Desktop app, but the app that lets you remotely play console quality video games. Pretty much the gaming app of all gaming apps, in other words. Looking back at the article now, I can only chuckle at my own last words in the article: “If you’re in the UK or US, you can now get the app from the Android Market. iOS users will have to wait until Apple’s monkeys figure out what side of the iPad is up.”
It’s now the middle of January, a month and a week after the Android app was feeding my Lego Batman on my Galaxy Tab. As I check my US iOS account for the 642nd time, there’s still no sign of the app. OnLive is being quiet about the reason, but when we consider what happened to Taposé, I doubt very much that this is a good sign. There are many reasons why OnLive could be rejected based on Apple’s backwards rules, and it could even be for the same reason that Taposé was rejected: it creates a secondary “home screen” by having a OnLive home menu in the app. Pretty much all apps have a main menu, but Apple seems to single out a few apps that “do it wrong”…or something.
Another possible reason is that OnLive doesn’t let you buy games using in-app purchases, denying Apple its 30% and breaking some rules in the process unless they’ve removed the marketplace menu items that are in the Android version. Who knows what other rules Apple has that can hinder this app from being released, but something is definitely up here.
This is just another chapter in the story of the App Store review process, and another win for Android. Aside from having been out for 5 weeks now, the Android version works with all sorts of existing game controllers as well as the OnLive controller. iOS has traditionally had more apps than Android, and still does, but when major releases like OnLive are held up on iOS, that might soon change. iOS’ market share and (more importantly) App Store profitability is saving Apple from itself right now, but I’m not sure how long developers are going to accept being treated like this.