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One of the big innovations with the new Apple TV is that it has full app support, but some early supporters this device are feeling burned.

Developer Brian Greenstone, founder of studio Pangea Software, has taken to the Apple’s developer forums to let the company know he isn’t happy. He says that after prepping five games for the launch of the Apple TV, no one is able to discover them organically on the crowded App Store. Instead, Apple TV owners would have to know they exist and search for them specifically to even get them to show up.

“I just worked my ass off for the last two months getting five games ready for launch day,” Greenstone wrote in his complaint. “And now I see that there’s absolutely no way to discover the apps unless a user explicitly searches for it. This is such a slap in the face to all of the developers who have been working so hard.”

The problem is simple. If you go to the “Games” category on your Apple TV, it will only show you what is featured. It has no categories. You will find nothing split up by genres. You can’t even look for the top 100 most downloaded or highest-grossing games.


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And if you’re not featured, you simply won’t show up in front of Apple TV owners naturally. So unless you know to look for Bugdom 2, Air Wings, Otto Matic, Nanosaur 2, or Nucleus, it’s unlikely you’d ever stumble upon them because — at least for now — the only game category is “games.”

Greenstone points out that the only apps new Apple TV owners will really see are the ones that Apple is officially featuring. And Apple chose not to highlight any of Greenstone’s apps even those he says they are console-like, high quality, and support 3D televisions.

“I’m sure there are hundreds of other great apps from other developers that will never see the light of day either,” he said.

And Greenstone isn’t alone in pointing out this problem.

“This is actually a very talked about subject among developers on forums,” ArchSquare cofounder Henry Ton told GamesBeat. “As a small indie developer with a small marketing budget, we leverage most of our visibility of our apps from the search and discoverability of the App Store.”

Ton says that this strategy has historically worked for him and others, which is why it’s so scary to launch Apple TV apps without any of the tools to facilitate that.

“The problem is not just a lack of categories,” Multieducator developer Marc Schulman told GamesBeat. “It’s the fact that there is nothing to indicate there are more apps to be found beyond those being highlighted by Apple. No one is going to look for something they do not know exists. We created a new game called Presidential Election Challenge, and instead of being rewarded for having a brand-new product at launch, we are being penalized.”

And that penalty is coming in the form of few installs.

“Our download numbers for our new apps are the lowest [we’ve ever had],” said Ton.

More people are complaining on Twitter.

In another thread on the Apple forums that asks about the lack of categories, a developer going by the handle Multied1 explained the core issues with the new Apple TV’s app market.

“The design of the TV store is incredibly problematic,” wrote Multied1. “The new store not only does not have categories, but there is no way to know there are any apps beyond the ones that show. You have to know to search for an app, and there is no way to link to an App [on the TV], so how do you promote it? It is a disaster.”

We’ve asked Apple what it is doing to help developers with discoverability, and we’ll update this post with any new information. But the device is only about a day old, and it’s possible that Apple plans to surface more applications from smaller developers in the future.

“I can only hope that this is a mistake,” continued Greenstone.

We also reached out to the Pangea developer to ask him more about this, and he explained that he’s feeling extra salty because he has always looked forward to building games for an Apple TV product.

“When I found out that [an Apple TV with apps] was finally going to happen, I jumped right on it,” he told GamesBeat. “We spent the last two months working like crazy to get 5 games done in time for launch, and these were not just simple ports of the iOS versions because we added a lot of new features, and tuned the games to behave more like console games than mobile apps.”

And that’s another reason Greenstone is upset. Apple built up its new media box as a game machine for the television — as the console for people who don’t want a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Pangea embraced that, but it’s not seeing any reward for buying into that messaging.

In addition to the aforementioned 3D TV support, which adds stereoscopic depth to his games, Greenstone also added full controller support, cross-platform saves, and more.

“So, we were all ready for today — launch day, but I must admit I’m really disappointed that nobody is able to discover our apps since there’s no discoverability on the TV App Store right now,” he said. “The only apps anyone will know exist are the ones Apple chose to feature. There are no Categories or other sections for finding any of the other apps available.”

But while this is a bummer for the developer on the launch day of Apple TV, Greenstone isn’t giving up on Apple.

“I’m sure Apple will rectify this soon,” he told us. “And all will be well in the universe. But considering all the work that has led up to today, and we’ve already sent our press releases out, it’s a shame that it seems all for naught. I just hope Apple gets this fixed very, very soon so that we can ride at least some of the launch-day wave.”

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