The “new + rising” section of the App Store – Do you love it or hate it?

With Windows Phone 8, the “new” section of the App Store was renamed to “new + rising”. Along with the different name came a different algorithm for displaying “new” apps. Here’s how it seems like the algorithm works:

  • There is a time limit for what is considered “new”. The time limit seems to be one month from the current date, however Facebook Pro (awful app by the way, it simply opens the mobile website) was released on 12/18/2012 and Helpbridge was released on 12/7/2012. These are the exception, not the norm.
  • Downloads and ratings affect placement in the category. The order seems to be generated by a combination of user ratings (Speedtest.net is at the top with 4.5 stars for example), downloads, and how recently the apps were released (Facebook Pro isn’t found till further down in the list, despite it somehow having a 4 star rating from 6,000+ reviews).
  • The list doesn’t change very often. Speedtest.net has been at the top of the list for at least a few days now.

Depending on your point of view, the “new + rising” section could be a great improvement from the old system, or it could be awful. I personally love the “new + rising” section, but I’ll share both viewpoints here! Each side certainly has valid points.

I love the “new + rising” section, and here’s why!
I only check the Store maybe once a week. With “new + rising” I see all the great new apps that have been released recently. They have plenty of user ratings (300 for Speedtest.net, 160 for Snex8x, etc) and are all *good* apps that I want to download! With the old system, all I would see was worthless apps that simply open a web page, and apps that had no ratings. I would often miss out on the release of the good apps like Speedtest.net since I didn’t visit the Store daily.

Now this is just a guess without any statistical backing, but I bet that many Windows Phone users fall into the “I only check the Store maybe once a week” category. The “new + rising” category clearly favors this type of user. Microsoft certainly has data relating to how often users open the Store… I would bet that they created the “new + rising” section because they saw people don’t open the Store often, and therefore were missing out on great apps. If you think like Microsoft, you realize that you want people to download as many apps as possible. Thus, they created the “new + rising” section that caters towards the majority who do not check the Store often. Providing a list of great apps released in the past week/month will get far more downloads than providing a list of mostly crappy apps released in the current day!

However, the existing stats about the iPhone App Store don’t support my conjecture. A study of 1,591 iPhone owners showed that users typically visit the App Store 6 times every week! Either Windows Phone users are different, or I’m completely wrong in my guess. But the study does bring up another point that supports the “new + rising” category: “85% of App Store visitors need to see a strong reviews, screenshots or price to be convinced”. The old “new” category had 0 to 1 reviews for most apps… which as the study showed means that people are less likely to download the apps. The “new + rising” category has TONS of reviews on the other hand.

I hate the “new + rising” section, and here’s why…

  • As a developer, my apps never appear in the “new + rising” section. It’s tough for my app to start getting downloads when it’s not visible anywhere. And the “new + rising” section creates a slippery slope effect where once an app starts to appear in the new + rising section, it continues to snowball downloads and becomes impossible for any other apps to overcome it (SillyPoint)!
  • Try promoting your app on sites like http://reddit.com/r/windowsphoneor right here on WMPoweruser! You can submit a free press release announcing your new app, and tens of thousands of Windows Phone fans will see it.
  • As a Windows Phone enthusiast, I enjoy checking the Store daily and seeing what cool new things have been released. This is impossible now due to the new + rising section!
  • Try downloading the WP7applist app, or going to http://wp7applist.comand check out their “just released” section! It’s just like the old “new” section. One problem: WP7applist doesn’t display WP8-exclusive apps yet.
  • Xbox Live games dominate the Store, and it’s impossible for independent developers to become successful. Might as well head on over to Android where it’s more of a level playing ground (ex soft).
  • I have to agree with you there. Microsoft gives tons of special attention to Xbox Live titles. Microsoft probably does this so that big name developers care enough to write their games for Windows Phone, but that doesn’t change the fact that it sucks for independent developers. Nevertheless, you can still be successful as an independent developer! Random Salad Games LLC is proof of that!
  • New WP users will keep checking the Store for new apps but see that nothing new has been added and get the impression that no one writes apps for Windows Phone (SillyPoint)!
  • This certainly could happen. And Microsoft’s data on Store usage possibly didn’t consider brand new users (new users are definitely more likely to visit the Store more often). But the counter argument here is: With the old system, new users would check the “new” section and see all the terrible apps and think “wow, Windows Phone is full of junk!”

Solution?

Here’s an obvious solution: Make the Store intelligent so that it remembers when you last looked at the “new + rising” section. Say you looked on Monday. Then you return on Wednesday… it would intelligently display all the new + rising apps filtered to apps that were released between Monday and Wednesday, so you only see new stuff! Then everyone wins, and the end user experience is definitely better!

Debate your opinion in the comments below! Also, note that many of the “hate” arguments came from this thread in the dev center, and I paraphrased their ideas.


About Author

Andrew is strongly invested in Windows Phone as a developer of numerous apps and a future employee with Microsoft. He takes a critical and unbiased approach to reviewing products and software. Even though he loves Windows Phone, Andrew will tell things as they truly are, without any sugar coating.

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