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Transitioning the App Store away from separate 'full' and 'lite' apps

12-04-2009, 09:52 AM
#1
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Transitioning the App Store away from separate 'full' and 'lite' apps

There's been a lot of discussion lately about piracy, and that a solution is to start using paid DLC inside a demo app, as opposed to selling a paid app.

Now, at the moment that's not very viable because 70% of iPod touch owners are still on 2.2.1 and cannot use apps with DLC. But if we assume the next iPhone OS update is free and all iTouch owners upgrade, is it something we should all seriously consider for the future?

I can see benefits in having just a single app that acts as your demo and uses DLC to be unlocked to a full version within the app itself:
- notably it would counter-act piracy,
- it would streamline the 'upgrade to full' process for the customer,
- it would simplify marketing of two separate apps into just one app,
- it should clean up all the lite versions off the App store, lowering the number of duplicate search results, and the amount of apps submitted.

But I also see negatives:
- Some games or apps simply can't offer a demo version without giving away most of the full functionality* (e.g. a demo of Tetris),
- As the app would be free to download, anyone could leave bad reviews without purchasing or trying the full version,
- There would no longer be potential to get exposure in the paid charts, as all apps would move to the free charts**,
- Lose the potential for customers who will buy an app straight away on impulse before trying a demo,
- Lose the effect of when a lite app becomes successful and brings sales to the paid app(?).
- Customers might find it frustrating needing to go through the purchasing and downloading process twice.

*could be workable if Apple allowed timed demos.

**Which kind of breaks the system of the app store, so maybe Apple can fix it by separating full 'free' apps from 'unlockable' demo apps into separate charts.



A few of those points are question marks, but has anyone else been thinking about this as the future 'App store' model?
12-04-2009, 10:26 AM
#2
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 314
You make some really great points both positive and negative. I'm really not sure that the benefits outweigh some of those negatives. I know a LOT of iTouch owners who are still on 2.x because they don't see the point of upgrading, though as more and more apps are released 3.x and up this trend may change. The points you make about appearing on the top paid charts are incredibly relevant as well and definitely something to consider. Thanks for the post and the well thought pros and cons!

Q

Quorlan

12-04-2009, 10:55 AM
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quorlan View Post
You make some really great points both positive and negative. I'm really not sure that the benefits outweigh some of those negatives.
It's only worth considering if it does really stop piracy, which I think it won't. Once the full game has been bought and unlocked then that binary can end up on sharing sites the same as it does now with only little extra effort.

But a very interesting and balanced viewpoint, EP. Is there any data or anecdotal evidence out there from anyone who has taken this route?

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12-04-2009, 11:49 AM
#4
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 8
Really interesting post.

Think the review thing is an important point - I think people are more likely just to give up on a game and give it a bad review if they haven't paid anything for it, so I think there would have to be some way of limiting that.
12-04-2009, 12:31 PM
#5
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 303
These pros are nice - but who says that those who play pirated apps are going to purchase them if they're forced to?

And I think the fact that users will have to upgrade to the latest version of the software (to use DLC) is an advantage against piracy.

Not being able to be featured on paid sections is a bad thing, but how often does that occur?

The worst, however, is definitely all the poor reviews users can easily give free apps.
12-04-2009, 01:01 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narziss View Post
These pros are nice - but who says that those who play pirated apps are going to purchase them if they're forced to?
Does it matter? The little thieves can GTFO and leave gaming to the people who care about it.

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12-04-2009, 02:27 PM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narziss View Post
These pros are nice - but who says that those who play pirated apps are going to purchase them if they're forced to?
I do.

In my limited experience I've come across quite a few friends who pirate certain things but will pay for other things when they are forced to. Example, one friend of mine never pays for music and gets it all illegally, but he buys tons of DVDs because it takes him too long to download movies on his connection. He also buys $100 pairs of jeans… People who spend all their money on material goods and still pirate things piss me off more than anyone, but anyway…

Even though my experience is anecdotal, I am very sure a percentage of the pirates out there will move to purchasing things if the opportunity of piracy is removed.

Last edited by EssentialParadox; 12-04-2009 at 02:29 PM.
12-06-2009, 04:29 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,143
Quote:
Originally Posted by EssentialParadox View Post

*could be workable if Apple allowed timed demos.
How does Gameloft get away with their "disposable" demos? After two plays the demo will not run anymore. A limited play demo gets around the limited content and timed demo rules apparently.
12-06-2009, 07:00 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by EssentialParadox View Post
Now, at the moment that's not very viable because 70% of iPod touch owners are still on 2.2.1 and cannot use apps with DLC. But if we assume the next iPhone OS update is free and all iTouch owners upgrade, is it something we should all seriously consider for the future?
Is this a confirmed statistic? The last survey that caught my eye pointed at 2.x users only being about 20% of the entire device volume. Another relevant question is if people who don't care about updating their device care about buying games.
12-06-2009, 07:41 AM
#10
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 754
Send a message via Skype™ to mobile1up
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post
Is this a confirmed statistic? The last survey that caught my eye pointed at 2.x users only being about 20% of the entire device volume. Another relevant question is if people who don't care about updating their device care about buying games.
20% is still a large number - but, here are some real stats (from our highscore submission system)

Code:
Mobile 1UP : OS Versions (2009-11)

iPhone OS v2.0			0.19%	100.00%
iPhone OS v2.0.1		0.00%	99.81%
iPhone OS v2.0.2		0.00%	99.81%
iPhone OS v2.1			1.31%	99.81%
iPhone OS v2.1.1		0.56%	98.50%
iPhone OS v2.2			5.06%	97.94%
iPhone OS v2.2.1		12.17%	92.88%
iPhone OS v3.0			18.16%	80.71%
iPhone OS v3.0.1		8.99%	62.55%
iPhone OS v3.1			6.18%	53.56%
iPhone OS v3.1.1		2.06%	47.38%
iPhone OS v3.1.2		45.32%	45.32%
19.29% are using pre 3.0 versions of the operating system

// Aaron Ardiri
Mobile 1UP is a proud indie developer - support us!
developer of Caveman / Caveman HD and GW Series