Aurora Feint: The Beginning temporarily suspended from App Store
Free iPhone MMO raises concerns over privacy
First, it's important to understand there doesn't appear to be anything nefarious going on with the iPhone's free-to-play MMO, Aurora Feint: The Beginning (one of our pick of ten free iPhone games you should play). We don't want to add to the fires of rumour, but simply try and clarify what's going on.
It appears the game has been removed from the App Store mainly due to the sudden influx of concern over the way Aurora Feint implements a community feature. It seems the game makes a copy of your contacts and stores it on the server, although this copy isn't used for any naughty antics.
On the official forum, Danielle Cassley explains the purpose this feature intends to serve. "There's no super secret motive here," Danielle begins. "When we discovered that the Apple SDK allowed us to look through your contact list we thought it would be a great idea to automatically show you which friends are playing the game. Why automatically? Well, everyone always complains about the keyboard on the iPhone and how annoying it is to type on it. So we thought, 'Hey, why don't we make this feature REALLY easy to use – no typing!'" And the community feature was thus born.
"Some people have said that it would have been ok if we had a better notice explaining what was going on. I agree! We weren't trying to be sneaky about how this worked. It was just overlooked. No one we showed it to even asked a question about it – nor did we. It just simply never came up as a potential issue when we beta tested the game with early users."
You can read Danielle's post here to get a better view of why the game was removed, and to alleviate any panic and stem rumours about privacy concerns. We're not particularly worried at Pocket Gamer, as Danielle's explanation sounds very similar to features found in Xbox Live, or other online systems.
Let's hope this issue gets resolved quickly, and the publicity only serves to help promote the great Aurora Feint game. Hit 'Track It!' to see how things pan out.