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Pricing - why are most games sold for $0.99?

11-06-2013, 02:59 AM
#1
Pricing - why are most games sold for $0.99?

Dear all,

just a question to you as developers especially. Why do most of you charge only $0.99 for paid games (just let freemium stuff aside for now, just paid apps)?

I understand that this seems to be a viable price for simple games but there are games out there which are pretty complex. Sure it depends on the genre as well but I often don't get why users complain about everything above $0.99 but "wasting" more money sending SMS or smoking or whatever.

I mean that's some kind of a strange behaviour!

My dev blog - including app sales reports!
Silent Depth - a submarine game
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11-06-2013, 05:10 AM
#2
To try and make sales!

I agree, but it seems even 99 cents is a price barrier! "I often don't get why users complain about everything above $0.99", the fact users complain makes developers react.

I think if you have a quality game there is no reason to not go higher, but for someone small like me, I would rather go free and have people actually play the game!

11-06-2013, 06:00 AM
#3
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 10,461
I think Apple should have started a minimum price of 3 dollars when the app store first opened.

Problem is now so many people expect every app to be 99c or free. The second its 2 dollars or more they want lite versions or 30 opinions from buyers until they use their valuable 2 dollars on the game !

On the other hand if a games 99c (than 2 dollars) you would think more people would think 'i'll try this one, if i dont like it its only a dollar', its like its a mental block as they dont want to 'risk' 2 dollars on a game in case they dont like it.

Hearing from a fair few developers they dont seem to make that much money (hence they go to freemium which is a shame). I'm happy paying for a quality game which is a few dollars than see a game go freemium or 99c (and the dev eventually goes bankrupt).

I would rather always buy the game then it go free (as to me that often means freemium)
11-06-2013, 06:11 AM
#4
Personally I don't like freemium at all from a gamer's perspective and as a developer.

I did a small battleship game which went quite well (simple paid) and actually was surprised that it had almost no impact whether I charge $0.99 or $1.99. Downloads kept the same.

For my next one I'll go for sure higher, $5.99 at least (probably $9.99) but yes, it's a quality game and niche as well...

My dev blog - including app sales reports!
Silent Depth - a submarine game
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11-06-2013, 07:19 AM
#5
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Europe
Posts: 36
Send a message via Skype™ to plungeint
this is because and why most publishers are not profitable, and do games for nothing :-)

Jesús Bosch
PLUNGE INTERACTIVE
Icontest: guess the icons words game released! Icontest
11-06-2013, 08:13 AM
#6
Im just guessing here.


1-Top grossing are those free to play games where you buy smurfberries, diamponds,rubies and sacks of gold as IAP forup to 100$ in one swoop.

2-Then you have the megabig companies with massive exposure who can dump a game for 1$, get a millon DL and still earn a million dollars. (guess a lot of people learned this from angry birds

3-Then you have all the indies who thinks they need to put the dollar tag to get any sales. This might or might not be true, but Im pretty sure it wont make much impact to have low price if you dont get any decent amount of DL (and having your app 'off the grids', and even at 1$, people dont 'just buy it'

I see no reason whatsoever though, for a decent indiegame to NOT cost 3,4,5,6$ I myself are in the latest stages of a 'super indie' game with perhaps narrow audience, and I'm putting a 3$ tag on it as launch 'special' and will leave it at that, or increase. Even if it is a small budget, it has still cost me several thousand dollars (money I did not use to buy a new ipad air, and a applebook pro, and perhaps a new 3D TV), andI still need sales in the thousands just to break even, and not charging a cent for the hundres of hours I have put in myself.

I for one think the market should be clearly divided: Indies charging 'premium' (Im laughing a bit here when I referr to a couple of dollars as premium) money, and the big guys either have 'super top dollar' for that X-COM game, or go 'fremium' route that is the norm anyway.

Unless you have a very crappy game, even a few thousand sales wont cover even your expenses (sdk, computer, time,app dev account + outsourced assets) at 1$. Probably not at 2 or 3 either. Comming to think of it, the ratio of those making anything off the games compered to those who do not must be astronomical

Perhaps the single biggest issue is the shear number of apps, there are so much crap as well, just lying around there. I cringe when I thing of the probably thousands of cool rpg/puzzle/other gems created with love that will never turn up on my searches, and games I would buy in an instant if I where aware of them..

But that is totaly off topic, haha.

Bottom line: People drop to a dollar because they think they have to. For big companies this is probably viable, for small times indies it is giving away your time to the 'masses'
11-06-2013, 01:03 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by expleo View Post
Im just guessing here.


1-Top grossing are those free to play games where you buy smurfberries, diamponds,rubies and sacks of gold as IAP forup to 100$ in one swoop.

2-Then you have the megabig companies with massive exposure who can dump a game for 1$, get a millon DL and still earn a million dollars. (guess a lot of people learned this from angry birds

3-Then you have all the indies who thinks they need to put the dollar tag to get any sales. This might or might not be true, but Im pretty sure it wont make much impact to have low price if you dont get any decent amount of DL (and having your app 'off the grids', and even at 1$, people dont 'just buy it'

...

Bottom line: People drop to a dollar because they think they have to. For big companies this is probably viable, for small times indies it is giving away your time to the 'masses'
Totally agree here. $0.99 is a death sentence to an indie game unless you win the lottery and get a million downloads without the marketing power of a big studio.

The barrier between free and paid is infinitely times larger than the barrier between any reasonable price point for paid games. The difference between free and $0.99 is huge. The difference between $0.99 and pretty much anything less than $10 is very small by comparison. Most people who purchase at $0.99 will also purchase at a premium price point.
11-06-2013, 01:06 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaron View Post
Dear all,

just a question to you as developers especially. Why do most of you charge only $0.99 for paid games (just let freemium stuff aside for now, just paid apps)?

I understand that this seems to be a viable price for simple games but there are games out there which are pretty complex. Sure it depends on the genre as well but I often don't get why users complain about everything above $0.99 but "wasting" more money sending SMS or smoking or whatever.

I mean that's some kind of a strange behaviour!
Probably some of the same people complaining who are dropping $9.99 on a Pack-o-Turds in the latest freemium game.
11-06-2013, 03:04 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by plungeint View Post
this is because and why most publishers are not profitable, and do games for nothing :-)
Sad but true.
11-06-2013, 04:24 PM
#10
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Europe, CET
Posts: 1,192
For what it's worth; I am only a one-man army, after all :
I often feel that I am the last surviving specimen ("and now to your left, exhibit A, from the gaming era of the last century") who is willing to pay premium price for premium content; which does not mean "AAA" Egoshooter No. 5001. But good games. My yardstick of true everlasting greatness is still Planescape:Torment, which is 14 years old by now. Tells something, neh?

Might be because I have a very specific and narrow taste.
Or because I always worked in Enterprise IT, where prices have many more numbers before the comma (Nemetschek Allplan for like 15k €, anyone? Or CATIA?) .
Or because my formatting years (when I *really* dove into gaming. For perspective: I played the original Pong as a small kid, 6-7 years old) here when games were expensive, but you valued the quality you got (as in "Final Fantasy IX for what is today 150€") .

I honestly don't know - nor understand - why people start to whine when a game costs more than a buck.
And yes, you can find enough evidence of that behaviour here on TA.

Ah well, as a grumpy old man I can say everything was better in the old days and today's youth is the demise of civilisation

Serious point: I think kids these days just don't value effort and quality anymore. In part because they cannot grasp how much work went into a game.
Would be interesting to see demographics data correlated with spending habits.
I am pretty sure that many old folks like me are willing to spend way more per single game than, say, 10-14 year olds.