App Store News: iTunes Plus Improved; Premium Gaming Coming?

Apple's decision to limit DRM-to-iTunes Plus conversion to an all-or-nothing methodology spawned some upset among the iPhone user ranks. Luckily, the company has seen the light and now offers one-off conversion.

Upgrading to iTunes Plus Improved

Apple's decision to limit DRM-to-iTunes Plus conversion to an all-or-nothing methodology spawned some upset among the iPhone user ranks. Luckily, the company has seen the light and now offers one-off conversion. According to the iTunes FAQ: "Can I upgrade previously purchased music to iTunes Plus? Yes. Any available upgrades will be shown on the Upgrade to iTunes Plus page. You can upgrade all of your items at once by using the Buy All button. This replaces all eligible purchases with iTunes Plus versions of the same items. You can also choose to make individual upgrades by clicking the Buy button to the right of each item."

So now we can upgrade our music library by picking and choosing versus upgrading everything. I connected to that store and had one track, Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, which ironically was not available in the U.S. store, popup as upgradeable to iTunes Plus. One button, "Buy All," buys all the upgrades and a separate individual buy button allows upgrading of just one track. You can see the results below. Note: My first upgrade opportunity was $3.60, which I jumped on for about a dozen songs.

Premium Gaming Area to open?

There is no doubt that, with over 15,000 apps, the iTunes App Store is easy to get lost in. It is difficult for a software developer to get his app noticed in this ocean of iPhone apps. Speculation now holds that a "premium" game area for the iTunes App Store will debut. This area would highlight some high-dollar games for the iPhone and iPod Touch, each priced at around $20. Unfortunately this "relief" will probably be limited to big name publishers like Sega and Electronic Arts.

The big name publishers would be given the red carpet treatment while indie developers or smaller companies would not be given an opportunity to exist in the "premium" gaming area of the App Store.

One report stated: "From some viewpoints, introducing a premium games section to the App Store makes sense. Apple is keen to pitch iPhone and iPod touch as potential DS and PSP killers, but before they make the necessary investment in higher quality games, large publishers will surely want higher price points and more guarantee that these titles won't get buried in the App Store crowd."

 

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