Wooden Toys in the Age of Plastic

Rene Ritchie, “What No Indie Developer Wants to Hear About the App Store”:

When I was a child, all my favorite toys were wooden, painstakingly carved by artisans who ran the store near my home. I cherished them. Today those kinds of toys are all but gone, and that business model is no longer viable in the mass market.

In the age of Toys R Us and endless plastic of Lego and Hasbro, indie toy making has all but disappeared from the mainstream. So have many music and book shops in the face of Amazon and mom-and-pop shops in the shadow of Walmart.

Customers, by and large, decided we’d rather have an endless supply of cheap than we would a few precious pieces and the market has followed.

I recently spoke to some app developers — names many people would recognize — and this was the same realization they communicated to me. They didn’t want to speak on the record because they feared the community would have little sympathy for their views, but asked that I relate them.

To them, the mainstreaming of computing technology has led to a similar mainstreaming of apps. When only a few could afford Macs, software was held in high value and esteem. Now there are millions of apps on millions of phones and tablets made by millions of developers, accessibility is near-universal and scarcity is a thing of past.

Friday, 11 March 2016