A dev trained robots to generate “garbage” slot machine games—and made $50K
The article is delightful and you should read it in its entirety. But a quick summary:
A couple of guys decided to critique the kind of shovelware that dominates the Google Play Store, and so they bought some slot machine assets and rigged up a program to create a bunch of variations on the same crappy slots game, each with its own randomized name and loosely-related graphic set, then upload them to the Play Store.
As the headline indicates, their deliberately-shitty asset swap slot machine apps made $50K -- in their defense, this was all from advertising; they didn't charge for the apps.
There's something of a happy ending in that the advertiser canceled their account and Google eventually pulled all the apps, and the devs suggest that this probably helped train Google's filters to reject similar randomly-generated shovelware. But of course there's still a real problem with shovelware on the Play Store.
I keep thinking that if you changed the details to make the story 900% more horrifying, this story would make a pretty good episode of Black Mirror.