iPhone App Pet-Peeve: The Splash Screen

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I am a huge fan of iOS devices.  I have both an iPhone and an iPad, and both my kids have an iPod Touch.  Why?  Because they are easy to use, quite prolific in apps, and are extremely powerful in their versatility.  But one problem I'm seeing with many of the high-end games, is the need for splash screens.  They are annoying, take forever to get past, and are there purely for advertisement.  And they had no real value to the application.

I understand why they are there.  They advertise collaboration between production houses, are meant to build brand loyalty, and sometimes they provide time for the game to load.  They provide a venue to increase brand awareness based on association.  This works great with console games, where a purchase is made in a store and brand is important.  Same with PC games, as brand identifies the company within a physical store.  The mild wait for a program to load while going through splash screens can be a little annoying, but tolerable in these instances (for many, though not for me).

Unfortunately, this is completely counter to the design of an iOS device.  The idea behind these devices is to get out of the way and let you do what you need to do.  Notes opens directly into the first page of the Notes notebook.  iCal will open to the calendar view.  Even many of the writing apps ia Writer open directly into the writer app.  None of them give you a splash screen with the company's name.  Why?  Because you already have the app, and you can find that information in the App Store if you need it.

My personal pet-peeve with the splash screen is the long duration that often cannot be bypassed by tapping.  When you are on an iOS device, unlike a PC game or a Console game, you don't have the guarantee of uninterrupted play for hours.  A phone call could come up, or you may just be on during a long commute, and will need to turn it off to work on another task.  Splash screens take up valuable time that could be spent enjoying the game.  For a console or computer game this would generally be a small portion of your time.  But for an iOS device, it could happen quite often.  And so, what is generally a minor annoyance quickly becomes a reason not to play that particular game.  Why should I, when I can start enjoying another game without a splash screen in less time?

Now, of course, this is just my personal opinion, and represents my own experiences of needing to quickly jump between apps on my devices throughout the day.  Splash screens just take up too much time, and I find myself gravitating away from high quality games from well known production houses because of it.