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Exposure vs. Total Revenue

07-23-2009, 06:25 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
Exposure vs. Total Revenue

Which one is more important from a developer's perspective? I see some apps, usually priced at 99 cents, rise up through the top 100 paid Apps list fairly quickly and then almost as quickly disappear. Sure, some apps get up there and stay up there, but for those developers exposure and revenue will go hand in hand.

At 99 cents your app is likely to get more exposure and have a chance at being seen due to more people willing to take the plunge at that price. It will definitely have a positive impact on volume, but at what cost? Will the difference in units sold be enough to compensate for the revenue lost from not pricing the app at $2.99, $4.99, or even higher? How do you figure out the right balance?

When you go to buy a new console game, movie, or even CD....for the most part prices are relatively the same regardless of the costs associated with making the game, movie, or CD. There might be some variation with respect to which location you choose to purchase the item (Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.) but for the most part the percent difference between the actual titles themeselves within that store are minor.

This is vastly different from the AppStore where you have big names charging $9.99 for some titles, and $0.99 for others....with the same thing happening with indie devs. Please don't flame me for not knowing this, but who sets the price on movies, games, and music so that they are more or less standardized, and why is the AppStore not setup the same way? Would taking away the dev's freedom to price their own apps provide any benefits such as better stability for the AppStore as a whole?

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07-23-2009, 07:38 PM
#2
With the current way the App Store works, exposure is #1. I'd much rather be on a top 100 sub list making $100 a day, than off all the lists and making $150. There are hidden perks to being seen, many of which work completely outside the App Store.

07-23-2009, 08:02 PM
#3
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
With the current way the App Store works, exposure is #1. I'd much rather be on a top 100 sub list making $100 a day, than off all the lists and making $150. There are hidden perks to being seen, many of which work completely outside the App Store.
Could you elaborate on the hidden perks? Do you mean like media exposure? Also, for arguments sake, say that instead of making $150 off the list you were making $250 due to higher pricing. Because if exposure is the only motivation for a developer's pricing model, what's to prevent all developer's from pricing at 99 cents for a shot at the top 100 list, especially if they have a quality game? What would be reason to price at $1.99, $2.99, or higher, other than the fact that they feel their app is "worth" more? If you can make more money in the long run pricing at 99 cents (due to volume and exposure), wouldn't that be the surefire way to go? I've seen some valid arguments for higher pricing with respect to longevity of sales, but again doesn't that really only apply to apps on that top 100 list?

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07-23-2009, 08:02 PM
#4
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Posts: 395
Exposure, definitely. If more people know about your game, there is a higher chance that they will purchase it/tell others about it. With the App Store being an incredibly gigantic market, your app is only 1 out of 60,000. Exposure, for sure.
07-23-2009, 08:06 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fazzy View Post
Exposure, definitely. If more people know about your game, there is a higher chance that they will purchase it/tell others about it. With the App Store being an incredibly gigantic market, your app is only 1 out of 60,000. Exposure, for sure.
So to solve the "we'll never get quality games if devs can only charge 99 cents for their app" we need to solve the "exposure on the top 100 list is the only way to make a profit" on a game with high developmental costs.

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07-23-2009, 08:18 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
it almost doesn't even feel worth it to me, at this point, to even PUT a "high development cost" app up on the store. Games like Flight Control are the ultimate example here - the high dev cost games belong on the PC, the consoles, that's where their market resides. The audence expects small and quick burst-gaming on the iPhone, at least for the time being, and if you do a really good job of supplying that then you will be rewarded appropriately. Not with tons of money, per se, but ya know.

"So why not create a new market on the iPhone for hi-dev cost software?" It's as has been mentioned, so risky. You are competing on a playing field with thousands of others. You can sink several months and thousands of dollars into development and only end up making the same money (or likely much less) as if you put the same time/energy/money into creating 4 or 5 apps - you will get a different reputation in either case, however.

We will see more experimental apps pop up in the scene in the coming year, and they will dictate how the rhythm of this thing will go. Just don't forget, in the end you really need to pander to your audience, they will make or break your success.
07-23-2009, 08:47 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pharmx View Post
Could you elaborate on the hidden perks?
1. Larger customer base plays your game, and will try your next game.
2. Offers by other creative types who want to work with you.
3. Professional reviews.
4. Outside opportunities like book deals, work for hire, etc.
5. People with money may want to buy your game outright.
6. Brand recognition that'll help with #1.
7. Being on a list tends to feed itself, keeping you on the list even longer.
07-23-2009, 09:25 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
1. Larger customer base plays your game, and will try your next game.
2. Offers by other creative types who want to work with you.
3. Professional reviews.
4. Outside opportunities like book deals, work for hire, etc.
5. People with money may want to buy your game outright.
6. Brand recognition that'll help with #1.
7. Being on a list tends to feed itself, keeping you on the list even longer.
Does this hold true (in your opinion) for any of the categorical lists that Apple has, or just the top paid apps lists? Some categories are visible from the iphone, while other have to be viewed from itunes, so I'm not sure how that plays into it. I've often wondered why Apple doesn't have the top 100 paid apps further broken down into top 100 ($0.99), top 100 ($1.99), etc. so that there are a couple of tiers. I guess that would make it one step closer to a "premium" store of sorts.

Front Page Tug Boat Chief Engineer
Check out the awesome Fuzion: Age of Wordcraft website
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07-23-2009, 09:39 PM
#9
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Posts: 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by pharmx View Post
So to solve the "we'll never get quality games if devs can only charge 99 cents for their app" we need to solve the "exposure on the top 100 list is the only way to make a profit" on a game with high developmental costs.
You're either on one of these lists, or you're not... if you're not on a list, you probably aren't making any money, and you for sure aren't getting any exposure. Your app might as well not exist if it isn't in plain sight on the app store. (Sorry to generalize, forgive me if there is evidence otherwise )

The app store is by far the main way to get customers... and it only lets you find apps by: number of sales (most influential), featured apps (good luck!), release date (some visibility, but gone very quickly), and direct searches (doesn't help much). So, other ways of helping people discover apps would be very helpful.

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07-23-2009, 10:00 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by pharmx View Post
Does this hold true (in your opinion) for any of the categorical lists that Apple has, or just the top paid apps lists? Some categories are visible from the iphone, while other have to be viewed from itunes, so I'm not sure how that plays into it. I've often wondered why Apple doesn't have the top 100 paid apps further broken down into top 100 ($0.99), top 100 ($1.99), etc. so that there are a couple of tiers. I guess that would make it one step closer to a "premium" store of sorts.
I think they can all hold true on many of the more popular categorical lists, but obviously the odds are better on the higher lists. TanZen is #76 is Puzzles right now, and someone wanted to buy the distribution rights to it yesterday. Stuff can happen in the sub lists, it just takes longer.

If they decide to break it down by price, a couple things may happen. One, customers may gravitate to just the $0.99 apps, and the other lists become a graveyard. Two, everyone tries to compete in the $0.99 list, and if they can't, they'll raise their price to get visible on the next list up. This could be good and bad. More chance to get your app seen, and by people who are willing to pay a higher price. Or the high price lists get filled with junk apps trying to fool somebody into buying them.