It may seem an obvious thing to highlight, but for applications relying on social-networking activity to succeed, they inevitably need people. Otherwise it becomes a barren wasteland of inactivity, in which the depressed developers constantly check their ever decreasing user base composed wholly of staff members, while listening to The Fray and comfort eating Mr Kipling’s entire range of baked treats. The Extreme Sports App is one of these sorry souls. Like an abandoned car on the motorway, or a closed theme park it is a desert of missed opportunities. Having said this, it is still only in its infancy and based, at the moment, in the US so if their marketing campaign succeeds, they will undoubtedly be adorned with loyal fans ready to enjoy the plethora of innovative features the application has to offer.
Accompanied with all the bells, whistles and achievements modern niche networking apps feel they have to provide, such as trophies for completing certain goals and location based ‘check ins’, The Extreme Sports App has clearly done its homework. The basic function of the app is the ability to place your extreme sports activity in which you are taking part somewhere in the world, presumably so that others using the same application would be able to locate you, or you can find a place nearby that hosts your particular event. Accompanying this is the obligatory leader board so you can compare your performance with friends and strangers, the publishing links to facebook and twitter, as well as a host of neat little gadgets such as an altimeter (which doesn’t work), a speedometer (which doesn’t work), a g-force monitor and a rotation monitor.
Yet, despite these gimmicks, the overwhelming question that presents itself as you delve into the programme is – why? Why make an app that brings together the networking abilities of extreme sports when, frankly, the larger individual companies can do it better. For example, The Extreme Sports App can only show you which places are close to you. So as a reviewer looking at it in England, I can see none of the 688 centres the app promises me host skiing. Why then would you pay £1.19 for information you could find infinitely cheaper, easier and with more extensive results on Google? Similarly, if you are an extreme sports fan and competitor you are likely to know many other people in the same field. As such, it seems obvious to assume they would organise their meets on more popular and established formats such as Facebook or Twitter.
Even more problematic is the omittance of a friends section where you can add people you meet at the events it is pointing you to so you can see them again, instead forcing you to do so on Facebook or Twitter. So, instead of a vibrant community of people who enjoy the same activity, it becomes a self indulgent display to strangers of your skill and attendance at a certain extreme sport and where in the world you did so. If you ignore the silly, useless gadgets and fancy jargon this is the shell you’re left with, and it even performs these services badly. Even if the application suddenly gained an influx of followers and places in the UK were added to the map, it still wouldn’t provide enough of a unique selling point to make it the point of reference you check when locating an extreme sports activity, especially with iPhones possessing a perfectly adequate internet browser to search on Google or any other search engine.
Overall The Extreme Sports App is obviously someone’s light bulb brain child, aimed to capitalise at the dramatic increase in social networking popularity. What may have begun as a smart, innovative idea, however, has been poorly executed to the point its main features are utterly redundant in a world where similar information can be gathered more rapidly, more effectively and with richer results elsewhere. The only way this application can be of any use to anyone is if they simply detest using any sort of internet browser or social networking site and have been crying out for a platform in which all of these facets can be rolled into one single app to become the hub for their love of extreme sports. Because this is the case, I think the number of people this may appeal to can be safely relegated to the developer and his team.