After seeing that 1.3 was ready for download, I checked the iTunes page to see if everything was correct and I could indeed download it. That’s when I noted that there are an awful lot of 1-star ratings (about one third of all ratings). What’s worse, this number seems to have grown over time, even after 1.1 remedied a lot of the shortcomings of iNetHack’s 1.0 debut.
This made me think that since it’s free, users who don’t even know NetHack will give it a try, and of course they are utterly repelled by it. iNetHack in its current form never was intended for beginners. Which led me to something many devs have experienced too (and I have seen very clear examples of that behavior): Making your app free just invites 1-star reviews. It hurts to see that in other free apps, and it certainly hurts to see it for iNetHack. I know that my next publication for the iPhone will certainly have a fee (clarification: publications that are not an open source port). This is certainly no excuse for the current UI. Making it much more beginner-friendly is on my todo list. But I won’t change the core gameplay or add save games.
So what do you think? Do you see a future for an iNetHack protection fee or not? Please vote in the poll to the left and leave a comment!
Update: Thanks for all your feedback and votes! The poll leans very clearly to keeping iNetHack free of charge, and so it will be.