updated 09:00 pm EST, Thu November 21, 2013
Embedded video a first; app previewed at iPhone 5 launch
Fourteen months after its debut during the iPhone 5 launch in 2012, the anticipated game Clumsy Ninja (free) has finally arrived in the iOS App Store - but in some countries, the game's preview page includes a one-minute video trailer, the first of its kind to appear in on an app page. The video preview is not yet available in the US store but is able to be seen in the UK and Canadian stores (among others) where the game appears as an "Editor's Choice" pick.
The platformer features the adventures of a young ninja in training, using 3D "rag doll" physics to assign him realistic motion. Users can "train him, throw him, tickle him and even tie balloons to him," according to the game description. The app is currently exclusive to the iOS platform.
Game developers have been requesting video previews in app pages for a long time, and some were surprised when Apple didn't include the option with the release of iOS 7. Now, however, it appears that the company is at least experimenting with the option.
In the countries where the video preview is available, Clumsy Ninja is an "Editor's Choice" - in the US, the game is also available but is not yet designated as an "Editor's Choice," suggesting that the designation (and the accompanying video) could happen in the near future. It's unclear if only featured apps will be eligible for video previews, or if Apple will allow developers to add them at will.
Implementing video previews on a widespread basis would result in significant increases in infrastructure spending on Apple's part, but would make it easier for consumers to get a feel for games and other types of apps for which screenshots or written descriptions are inadequate to convey how the app works. The iOS App Store doesn't allow self-expiring demos or trial software, though many developers offer a free version of a paid app that has some features disabled.