Playboy is traversing a slippery slope in taking its infamous brand digital. Forced to adhere to Apple’s rigorously applied no-nudity policy — meaning nothing more revealing than beachwear can be shown — its new $4.99 iPad app may indeed be "best for the articles."
The app, developed by India's Jump Games, offers an HD downloadable version of the magazine in a customized format for iPad swiping. Fans are complaining it's off-brand. What’s missing? It's more what's not missing (clothes), as the iPad version features no gatefolds, no skin or cartoons, and only a sneak peek of the Playmate of the Month.
What is included: Oversized thumbnails of regular print features like After Hours and Mantrack product overviews, the monthly Playboy Interview, 20 Questions and longer ‘journalistic’ articles.
According to MIN Online's review, Playboy's iPad app offers limited interactivity, its stories lack links to dynamic content, and the only scintinillating video is one 30-second Q&A with August's playmate.
The iPad app follows on Playboy's mobile app which launched in December and offered a glimpse of the latest issue, along with exclusive content such as free Rabbit Head and Playmate wallpapers, and a Playmate video clip.Consumers can also download a new edition of the app on the same day Playboy’s new issue hits newsstands.
As Krapps notes, in 2004 "Playboy introduced iBod … a set of specially formatted thumbnail images that could be uploaded to the newly introduced iPod Photo. A year later, in 2005, Bodcasts were launched … sort of like podcasts, but Playboy-style. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, Playboy once again led the bandwagon with iPlayboy … a collection of downloadable multimedia features all formatted for the iPhone"
Playboy last month launched a ‘safe-for-work’ website, TheSmokingJacket.com, in an attempt to boost ad revenue and traffic.
It’s a tricky task to re-create in a digitally censored environment a print product so widely known for pieces now missing. That said, with a rich archive of cartoons, video assets and ‘lush imagery,’ a robust and pleasing Playboy app remains to be developed. That will become particularly important as Playboy seeks to drive more digital revenue, and mulls an offer from founder Hugh Hefner to take the brand private.
Until then…enjoy the articles.