The Apple Appstore is an immense, competitive marketplace and it's been getting moreso every month. The amount of applications out there for iOS devices is staggering, and it still heralds a fairly level playing field for hobbyists and newcomers, which is to be encouraged. However, such is the competition that for a while now the developers' focus hasn't been on quality product but on sales and rankings.
A lot of very clever tricks have been thought up to get people to help push the visibility of your app. Some are more egregious than others. From the relentless wave of Twitter and Facebook spam posts, to the "pay per install" system where instead of purchasing in-game items players are asked to download and install other cross-promoted applications instead, apps are becoming more and more devious about staying visible on the Appstore rankings. It's such a battle in a crowded marketplace that it is almost the number one priority for any developer - moreso than trying to deliver a quality application.
Apple too seems to have had enough of their own system and is reportedly cracking down on such freemium tactics and changing, somehow, the ranking algorithms. What, exactly, is going to change isn't clear yet, but I'm sure once people figure it out they'll find a few neat exploit there too to keep apps in the top spots. Personally I can see the problem with pay-per-install; people would download applications just for some extra in-game content and then delete them before even playing them. However, I do think it could have been a nice system if used properly. Having other applications promote your game in some way is a good way to get some visibility, but there would have to be some kind of quality guarantee. If a game I liked and a developer I trusted were to recommend I try out another game I'd be more likely to check it out instead of just being told to download iMirrorFlashFart for a few extra in-game coins.
This decision doesn't affect Score Studios at all. Our one Freemium title, Piczle Lines, doesn't have any in-game rewards for downloading other apps. On top of that, if we were to promote other games wihtin our own (aside from our own) we'd like to keep a minimum standard so as not to sully our own reputation. We are interested in seeing what the new algorithms will mean to titles like ours and as always I'm curious to see what developers will think of to exploit the new rules. Will it change the appstore to make it easier to be visible? I personally doubt it very much but we'll see. Apple can control its own platform in whatever way it sees fit and sometimes we just have to sit back and wait to see what will happen next.