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HBO Max Is Aware Its App Is Shit

The platform recently announced that its app will get a makeover, with a mobile relaunch scheduled for—wait for it—2022.

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Enough is enough: HBO Max has heard your constant whining and wheedling on Twitter about how its app is “designed like they’re mad at you for using it” and “bravely answers the question ‘what if the people who designed an app fucking hated their customers.’” They know that the app all but spontaneously combusts when you try to fast forward 15 seconds, and they’re aware that their content algorithm is essentially nonexistent. They’ve heard you, and you know what? To be honest? You’re kind of hurting HBO Max’s feelings at this point, OK?


In an interview with Vulture, an unnamed senior WarnerMedia exec said on Thursday that the constant clowning that the platform has been forced to endure online has been “super painful” to take in. It almost makes you feel sorry for an app that, despite hosting some of the best content that’s available to stream anywhere, features a basic design that renders it almost unusable. Almost!

“We see the crash logs,” the executive said. “We’re not blind to it.”

According to HBO Max insiders who spoke to Vulture on the condition of anonymity, the design flaws stem from the fact that the current HBO Max app was basically created from the scrap metal of the old HBO Go and HBO Now services. Whereas competitors like Netflix and Hulu were designed from the ground up, HBO Max as we currently experience it was, at its most essential, originally designed as mainly a hosting platform for Game of Thrones. UX issues were tossed out by engineers in favor of ensuring that the app could handle the massive influx of traffic that would inevitably result from hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously tuning in to catch the latest episode of the fantasy juggernaut on Sunday nights.


But who cares about what went wrong in the past, right? The app is a mess now—so how are they going to make things better going forward?

According to the unnamed exec that spoke to Vulture, HBO has a massive app design overhaul in the works: “We’re going to replace every single connected TV app in the next four or five months,” he said.

Fantastic! So when can users expect to see those updates rolling out?

From Vulture:

Woebegone Roku users will be first in line to get the new Max app along with PlayStation customers. Apple TV customers will likely have to wait until the end of the year, while an overhaul of the mobile and web-based apps is penciled in for early 2022.


In terms of original content alone, HBO Max is one of the best streaming services available right now, to say nothing of an operating income that the most recent estimates peg at $2.3 billion.

It’s easy to see that everybody dogpiling on the app online has really led to some hurt feelings over there, and for that, guys, we’re truly sorry. But the idea that it would take in excess of five months to get a serviceable update on the table for mobile users of the app is just totally outlandish.


HBO Max provides a great service that’s beloved by its user base, and it’s sad to see a janky app preventing the platform from being the best thing in streaming. HBO’s engineers should make like the opposite of the platform’s load times and operate with some amount of urgency to get users a service that works, or risk alienating existing viewers and potential customers alike.