AMITIAE - Monday 2 January 2012

A Curious App apparently from Apple: GameStore (Updated - New Information)

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By Graham K. Rogers


We have just seen in the list of Apple apps in the App Store here (Thailand) a new utility with the name GameStore. The app is priced at $0.99 and in its simple iTunes App Store description tells us "This application allows you to buy different things from within the app." A single screen shot below shows a Products list (with the word Proucts [sic] shown above and the figure 37 in brackets beside it.

I downloaded the app which also has the apparent spelling error and in the list, 3 products were listed: Nitrous ($0.99), Circuit de Monaco F1 Grand Prix Track ($1.99) and Fuji Speedway ($2.99). Clicking one of these (I used the first, Nitrous as example), repeats the name and price, adding a description below. There is also a PID (process identifier) with sku.gamestore.consumable.item2 -- SKU is "Stock-keeping Unit."

At the bottom of the screen are four tools. The app opened with Products List. The others are Shopping Cart, Payment Q, and Settings. The Shopping Cart was empty as the app was new and unused. There were two buttons at the top: Clear Cart and Buy All. Payment Q has four sections: Owned/Bought Items, Restored Items, Failed Items and Pending Items. Each has a figure beside which in my case is a zero (0). Settings is a single panel with a large button at the top: Restore from Purchase History. Below is a Quick Buy window with a single item entered: SKU-GameStore-BigGun. Beside this is a button marked "Buy."

Three switches, off by default were below: Get Product SKUs from server; Display Product images; and App displays error dialogues. I turned on the images switch and icons appeared in the three items in the Product List: these gave me little clue as to what these were for.

The developer of the App is shown as iTunes S.a.r.l with a copyright of Apple Inc. shown but the lack of information, the bareness and the spelling make this the least Apple-like product I have seen for a long time. The links -- to the Apple Web Site and to GameStore Support -- both take us to the main page at Apple (currently showing the iPhone 4S).

Whatever the reason for this, or if it is actually from Apple, this is not recommended, at least for the time being or until we learn more about it.

Not long after putting this mini-review online we came across an item on AppleInsider who tell us that this is an internal testing application that has mistakenly been put on sale.

Update Tuesday Morning: The app has unsurprisingly been pulled overnight. When I tried to reload the page in iTunes a panel appeared telling me this was not available. We suspect that this app was something for testing and late night new years eve -- perhaps through tiredness -- someone checked the wrong box. . . .

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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