I recently stumbled across a game, 2048, by way of my classmates. I tend to sit in the front row in most of classes, but in few I sit towards the back, and I'm glad that I do because I otherwise may not have noticed most of my classmates playing this game on their phones and computers. The general objective is to combine tiles that are multiples of 2 and reach the "2048" tile.
I feel like an idiot after writing those words without knowing the origins of the game. For the last year or so I've seen my favorite bloggers and writers tweet about Threes, an addicting puzzle game where you combine like tiles to turn them into multiples of 3. I didn't have a lot of interest in downloading another iOS game so I refrained from playing Threes, until I checked out 2048, that is, which is almost an exact clone of Threes.
In Threes you combine tiles. In 2048 you combine tiles. In Threes, you attempt to build a 3 or a multiple of 3. In 2048, that number is 2. Pretty original, huh? One of the only distinctions that 2048 can boast is that it's a free application, whereas Threes currently costs $1.99. That distinction, however, is likely what boosted the popularity of the copy cat game, especially among college students. This is where I start to have an issue with not only the game, but people who play the game without investigating or knowing the origins of it. Sure, you can't blame someone for downloading an app because they think it's cool, free, and all of their friends are playing it. That Isn't the problem. The problem is that these copy cat games take glory away from the original game by not charging for the application, which allows the game to spread like wildfire for anyone even remotely interested. Sometimes the duplicate game is even mistaken for the original.
I'm not going to get into detail about the origins of 2048, Threes, or why cloned apps are a serious problem in the App and Google Play stores today. If you'd like, read Jim Squires' 2048 is why we can't have nice things. What I want to talk about is the issue I have with today's generation (say 14-23 year old's - my peers) simply not paying for apps, almost ever. About 98-99% of my friends have smart phones, most of which are iPhones, and I can say with confidence that very few of them see any value in paying for apps. One of my first experiences with this was with Tweetbot, and then again Tweetbot 3. I would say to them, "There's this new Twitter client, it's awesome!" to which they'd respond by looking it up in the App Store and saying "Oh, it's not free? I'm not going to pay for an app". No matter if I could get them to admit that it has cool functionality or is a better experience than the default Twitter app, they still wouldn't budge in thinking that they shouldn't have to pay for software. I think that we're spoiled by free apps, software and upgrades to the point where it seems unreasonable to charge for an application. It's a shame, really, as the App Store would be nothing without apps, and if it contained only shitty apps, well, then it would be the Windows Phone store, and nobody wants that.