Everybody’s getting angry about a work of art.
Have App Store reviewers gone insane?
Every generation reckons that the world is going to hell in a handcart, but we might be right this time: the world is clearly getting dumber and more dangerous. Just read the comments on any YouTube clip whatsoever, search Twitter for “Kardashian” or look at the reviews on Apple’s OS X and iOS app stores.
App stores are often full of idiocy, with apps getting slated because they don’t work on the beta of an OS that won’t be released for months. But something even more sad is happening, and right now it’s happening to Monument Valley.
If you’re not familiar with Monument Valley, it’s an astonishing thing: it’s a game with an incredible visual aesthetic and an emotional heft that took me by surprise.
This game is a work of art, and it’s also the winner of a well-deserved Apple design award, and an absolute steal: the developer was selling it for just £2.49. And then something terrible happened. The developer added eight new levels as an in-app purchase and charged £1.49 for them.
I know what you’re thinking. “One pound forty-nine for eight levels of beauty and truth and art and stuff? What a bunch of idiots!”
That’s what they’re saying on the App Store, where Monument Valley is getting hammered with single-star reviews.
The review by Jared S – I think the S stands for “Stoopid” – is sadly typical. “What was a 5-star rating has been destroyed by the ridiculous prices smashed in the faces of the hopeful,” he writes, conceding that while “I know they worked hard on these levels” the extras are “not worth of an extra $2.” Jared says it’s “an all-time low” and that a game that was “beautiful and effortless… became one of the most disgusting things I have ever experienced.”
It’s easy to mock such hyperbole, but Jared isn’t unusual. The various online stores are packed with whiny reviews from people with an astonishing sense of entitlement, and that’s frightening for anybody who works or plans to work in any kind of creative industry – and given the links between Apple and creative industries, that means a lot of us.
The problem with people like Jared is that while they may be young and stoopid now, they’ll grow up and become older and stoopid – and there’s a good chance their contempt for creatives’ efforts will live on. We’re facing a future that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Online stores are packed with whiny reviews from people with an astonishing sense of entitlement