Apple Saves the Day for Halo 4 Scam Victims

Fans of Halo 4 got an unwelcome surprise when they downloaded apps that were ostensibly official apps connected with the massively popular game. Unfortunately, it appears that the fans were unwitting victims of developers who didn’t exactly deliver what they promised.

Two apps which were advertised as Halo 4 ports were in reality poorly constructed games; one was a racing game and the other was a chess game. Quickly responding to user complaints and media queries, Apple removed the offending apps earlier today.

The pages for the apps on iTunes were so well constructed that support links led to legitimate destinations, and the developers of the rogue apps even cited 343 Industries, which is the actual developer. Another tactic that led to the credibility of the problematic apps was that the developers went so far as to cite Game Center integration, which is a legitimate iOS feature.

The only obvious telltale sign that something was amiss was less than competent crafting of the product descriptions.

As the saying goes, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, and so it was in this instance. The prices seemed more than reasonable had they been legitimate Halo 4 products. One may have even been tempted to think the prices were a holiday gift, but in reality they were unexpected lumps of coal.

Apple caught and removed the offending apps earlier today, a most fortunate thing, because this is the first day of a week-long “freeze.” During this week of downtime, no updates, prices changes, or new apps will be processed. But a question remains: how did these apps get past Apple’s review team in the first place?

Before going “live” in the iTunes store, each download– app, song, book and podcast alike– must be manually reviewed to ensure that quality guidelines are met. A breakdown was clearly present in the process which led to customers not getting what they paid for.

While Apple will certainly make the affected customers whole, the fact that these apps made it past the review process should serve as a warning sign that customers need to be extra vigilant when downloading an app, to ensure that it is from the developer claimed and that it does what it advertises.

More to the point, this incident serves as proof that it’s important for users to report a problem through iTunes so that Apple can become aware and take action, as they did in this instance. While it’s wonderful that Apple took quick action, that they had to take the action in the first place should be of concern.

As of the time this article went to press, Apple had issued no statement or comment on this incident, but hopefully they will use the downtime in the reviewing department to take stock of their quality assurance process. On the plus side, this lapse is indeed a rarity for Apple.

[via TechCrunch]