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App Store's Games section revamps to concentrate on curated lists

The Games section of the iOS App Store has undergone a significant overhaul since mid-May, and now concentrates curated lists instead of auto-generated sections like "New" and "What's Hot," checks showed on Monday.

In their place Apple has inserted categories overseen by editorial staff, such as "Best New Games," TechCrunch observed. One holdover from the company's auto-generated content is "More Games You Might Like," which simply offers recommendations based on past downloads.

The new approach extends to gaming subgenre pages as as well, which each have banner art up top for high-profile apps, and distinct curated collections.

The changes are presumably a means of making it easier to find quality games while combating chart manipulation. In a defunct "All iPhone" section, for instance, some developers were able to get their games listed first simply by spamming the letter "A" in front of titles.

Taking a different tack, another new list type is "Pay Once & Play" — helping to avoid so-called "free-to-play" games, which often force people to make in-app purchases to advance. Parents and governments have criticized or even sued Apple for failing to close gaps in the App Store's purchase system, which have sometimes been used to dupe children into buying digital content without parental consent.

The shift to curation should also deter low-quality clone apps, since human editors can spot them and keep them out of the spotlight. Previously, an app only needed a basic amount of exposure to pick up downloads and ride algorithms into featured lists.

So far only the U.S. App Store has been affected, but Apple's new policies will likely extend to other regions over time.