Before I start allow me to make one thing absolutely clear; I HATE regional restrictions with a passion that burns hotter than the sun. I understand that in some instances it’s a must (such as Music streaming apps due to licensing issues, i.e. Nokia Music or Video streaming such as Netflix etc.), but it still gets on my nerves A LOT!
And it seems the folks over at Redmond are dead on intent on boiling my nerves, as the regional selection of apps for the MEA and Gulf areas is beyond ridiculous (and it definitely doesn’t help that there aren’t that many apps to start with). The app selection is limited by some idiotic system that doesn’t seem to have any basis at all; and to make things even worse reviews, change-logs and screenshots aren’t shared throughout different marketplaces (example: Whatsapp on my marketplace only has 3 ratings vs. the thousands on the UK/US marketplace).
Further complicating things is the limited payment options for different marketplaces; whereas most marketplaces have the ability to use a paypal card, Visa Card and sometimes Vouchers; Gulf & MEA marketplaces only accept bank cards, and the bank card MUST match the region you’re buying from (meaning I can’t purchase apps from the UK marketplace using a Jordanian bank card.
Now according to @windowsPhoneSupport (the official support account for WP) these app restrictions and removal from regional markets is a choice done by the developer and not by Microsoft which I personally find extremely hard to believe, what sort of app developer would choose to limit his app availability/coverage? Especially when it comes to games that require no online/regional connectivity?
@aliqudsi It is up to the developers for region availability. We’d suggest leaving feedback with them regarding the support regions. ^EB
— WindowsPhoneSupport (@WinPhoneSupport) December 25, 2012
The really disturbing part about this is I’m not referring to little known apps/titles; but MAJOR titles and applications (you know the ones Microsoft keeps boasting they have 48/50 from iOS and Android?); for example here’s a simple list of apps not available in multiple marketplaces (compiled by @nabkawe5):
Essential Apps (don’t work on the Lumia 920 although they’re not region specific in nature)
Must have games (Don’t work on the Lumia 920 in Saudi Arabia although they are available on other platforms )
Words With Friends
Cut The Rope
The Sims 3
Plants vs. Zombies
Endomondo Sports Tracker
The list goes on but it’s too sad to continue it …
As you can see most of these apps are completely region independent; and have no reason to be blocked in some regional marketplaces; so i don’t care who’s fault it is (be it MSFT or the developers) get your $h!t together people, this is ridiculous…
(oh BTW Angry Birds Star-wars is also unavailable).
Point is as dismal as the Windows Phone marketplace is; developers MSFT aren’t making it any better, especially in markets like the Gulf which are fresh for picking (trust me people in the Gulf love finding new trends to jump on, and have no problem switching phones on a monthly basis, so there’s some free market-share right there, if only someone would people their stuff together).