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iPhone: Price Drop Mania

10-15-2008, 10:33 AM
#1
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 21
Price Drop Mania

I will never buy any game from now on until it hits $0.99. Actually I'll just wait until it's free. I'll just wait until 30 minutes after release and it should drop by then.

Sick.
10-15-2008, 10:51 AM
#2
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 690
at least you don't have to wait long.
could be worse...

10-15-2008, 11:02 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 224
Hey, as a developer, it's clear that the majority using the app store (contrary to the initial expectations generated by early successes) aren't willing to pay a realistic price for games, or apps in general. Coupled with the rubbish organisation of the app store itself, which means that you may as well not exist if you're not in the top 50, what exactly do you expect developers to do to try to get sales? It's part of the reason why some developers make their app free for a while, get a huge shot of downloads, put the price back and keep their ranking but in the top 50 paid apps, giving them visibility. Oh and add to that the large swathes of third-rate (if that) apps in the store, and the problems are compounded.

The only guys who seem to be able to maintain realistic price points are the large development houses (and even there, we've seen some massive price cuts after a while) and those who were in the app store at the start. Those who get picked for the US app store front page (what's new, staff picks etc.) are also laughing, until they're no longer highlighted and they drop from the top 50.

As it stands developers for this platform are being forced to drop their prices because people aren't buying at higher price points. In the end this will bite the platform on the ass as more and more developers realise that it's just not worth their time and effort because of low price pressures and conversely high expectations.

What I think you're also not appreciating is that the app store is still relatively new and many developers are still finding their feet. It's actually quite a depressing process, once the realisation kicks in. I knew this platform would primarily be based on volume sales but when you have to price unrealistically in the hopes of getting enough volume and still don't see it, well you feel like the effort was wasted.

Oh and there's that thing called the credit crunch as well that doesn't help

"Arthur & Charles Present Create & Play" now available on the App Store
iTunes - Arthur & Charles Website
10-15-2008, 11:14 AM
#4
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by moopf View Post
Hey, as a developer, it's clear that the majority using the app store (contrary to the initial expectations generated by early successes) aren't willing to pay a realistic price for games, or apps in general. Coupled with the rubbish organisation of the app store itself, which means that you may as well not exist if you're not in the top 50, what exactly do you expect developers to do to try to get sales? It's part of the reason why some developers make their app free for a while, get a huge shot of downloads, put the price back and keep their ranking but in the top 50 paid apps, giving them visibility. Oh and add to that the large swathes of third-rate (if that) apps in the store, and the problems are compounded.

The only guys who seem to be able to maintain realistic price points are the large development houses (and even there, we've seen some massive price cuts after a while) and those who were in the app store at the start. Those who get picked for the US app store front page (what's new, staff picks etc.) are also laughing, until they're no longer highlighted and they drop from the top 50.

As it stands developers for this platform are being forced to drop their prices because people aren't buying at higher price points. In the end this will bite the platform on the ass as more and more developers realise that it's just not worth their time and effort because of low price pressures and conversely high expectations.

What I think you're also not appreciating is that the app store is still relatively new and many developers are still finding their feet. It's actually quite a depressing process, once the realisation kicks in. I knew this platform would primarily be based on volume sales but when you have to price unrealistically in the hopes of getting enough volume and still don't see it, well you feel like the effort was wasted.

Oh and there's that thing called the credit crunch as well that doesn't help
I'm not sure I fully agree with you. I think people are willing to pay proper price, but it does come with expectations. Paying $9.99 for retro, ported, non-imaginitative games doesn't mean it's worth the price (in my opinion). Let's even take a big-named game like Spore. I think people would be happy (ok, that might be a stretch), I think people would be willing to pay $30 for a complete version of the game. Instead, we got a dumb-downed, or limited version of the game, and not worth $10.
Pac-man at $10 (now $7.99), not really worth it in my opinion again. It's a 20 year old game (possibly older) and doesn't bring anything new to the table.
I believe most people don't feel ripped off paying $10 for Asphalt 4 which had high level of production compared to most apps out there.
In the end, it is all about supply and demand, and there's obviously a lot of competition and you (as a developer) need to attract people and make it worth me (the customer) spending my hard earned money. Why pay $5 or $10 for 1 crappy app when I can buy multiple apps at $2 that are better and in the long run giving me more bang for my buck?
There are some good apps out there for $2-3 that have good production values and replayability. One that instantly comes to mind is CubicMan Deluxe. A highly polished puzzler. Worth every penny of the $3 I spent on it. Still playing it, and loving every moment of it.
Diamond Twister, while $5, is still a way better bargain that Bejewelled was at $10 or is now at $8.

All I can say is that if developers need to have sales and make their products free in order to be in the top 50, well, then it's really a problem with the App Store, and not us as consumers. Believe me, I don't care what's in the top 50 or 100, it doesn't impact my decision. I still didn't buy Cro-Mag for $1.99 or even Billy Frontier at $.99, not because I'm cheap, but because it still wasn't worth it for me. There were lots and lots of people who bought both those apps when they first came out, and people will always be willing to spend their hard earned money on quality products. Problem is from a developers perspective (in my opinion again) is that there are many quality apps for a few dollars, and if there's nothing to differentiate yourself or make it worth-while to the consumer, why would they/we pay top dollar?

Enough with my rant, thanks for reading....
10-15-2008, 11:38 AM
#5
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Charley View Post
I'm not sure I fully agree with you. I think people are willing to pay proper price, but it does come with expectations. Paying $9.99 for retro, ported, non-imaginitative games doesn't mean it's worth the price (in my opinion). Let's even take a big-named game like Spore. I think people would be happy (ok, that might be a stretch), I think people would be willing to pay $30 for a complete version of the game. Instead, we got a dumb-downed, or limited version of the game, and not worth $10.
Pac-man at $10 (now $7.99), not really worth it in my opinion again. It's a 20 year old game (possibly older) and doesn't bring anything new to the table.
I believe most people don't feel ripped off paying $10 for Asphalt 4 which had high level of production compared to most apps out there.
Hold on, these are all big-name developers who put their apps into the store with higher prices and managed to sell at that price regardless of whether people thought they were getting value for money or not. That was part of my point. They appear to be the only ones who can price higher and get away with it. They also benefit a whole heap from apple pushing them on the app store home page which in turn gives them visibility without having to try to resort to price drops. They drop their prices after a while, as their sales drop, to give them another boost. And, guess what, all those apps did well.

Quote:
In the end, it is all about supply and demand, and there's obviously a lot of competition and you (as a developer) need to attract people and make it worth me (the customer) spending my hard earned money. Why pay $5 or $10 for 1 crappy app when I can buy multiple apps at $2 that are better and in the long run giving me more bang for my buck?
Erm...yeah...hence why I was explaining the reasons for developers having to drop prices. People are buying the $10 crappy apps with no longevity. Price is one of the few ways you can attract by the app store and, even then, it doesn't work. I can't get my game to shift at $1.99 despite (a) having a video of the gameplay, (b) having a heap of glowing reviews from review sites around the net, (c) having a free lite version and (d) having pushed it myself all over the place. Maybe it's because it's too cheap and it then falls into the tap of being bundled with all the other cheap rubbish strewn across the app store. Dunno. The point is that I'm hearing this from other developers as well, this isn't just my experience.

Quote:
All I can say is that if developers need to have sales and make their products free in order to be in the top 50, well, then it's really a problem with the App Store, and not us as consumers. Believe me, I don't care what's in the top 50 or 100, it doesn't impact my decision. I still didn't buy Cro-Mag for $1.99 or even Billy Frontier at $.99, not because I'm cheap, but because it still wasn't worth it for me. There were lots and lots of people who bought both those apps when they first came out, and people will always be willing to spend their hard earned money on quality products. Problem is from a developers perspective (in my opinion again) is that there are many quality apps for a few dollars, and if there's nothing to differentiate yourself or make it worth-while to the consumer, why would they/we pay top dollar?
Well, by offering something different for one thing. Offering something polished. Making it look good and play well. Offering something challenging. Making it easy for them to try it. Providing as much information to them before hand as possible. Yup, I think I covered those myself. I'm selling an app for $1.99, it took 240 hours of my time to create, and I couldn't shift enough to get a cheque from Apple in the first month and I doubt I will this month either. And I strongly believe that my app is polished and is of high quality. But heh, I would say that, I'm the developer

"Arthur & Charles Present Create & Play" now available on the App Store
iTunes - Arthur & Charles Website
10-15-2008, 11:49 AM
#6
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5
I spent nearly the past 4 months on a game and I'm afraid of the exact same problem. We don't exist unless we're on the top 100, then we can get only a measly percentage of $1.99. Ack!

Screw this, I'm going back to consoles.
10-15-2008, 11:52 AM
#7
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by moopf View Post
Hold on, these are all big-name developers who put their apps into the store with higher prices and managed to sell at that price regardless of whether people thought they were getting value for money or not. That was part of my point. They appear to be the only ones who can price higher and get away with it. They also benefit a whole heap from apple pushing them on the app store home page which in turn gives them visibility without having to try to resort to price drops. They drop their prices after a while, as their sales drop, to give them another boost. And, guess what, all those apps did well.
Ok, fair enough, and agreed that if Apple is behind your product, that's a bonus and a most definitely a sales increase. I'm not certain how well Pac-Man has done though retro gamers would spend the $10 without thinking for the nostalga.
As for CubicMan Deluxe, I don't believe that's by a big developer off the top of my head. Let's take a look at Trism also which was an independent and did extremely well, though as you said, was "supported" and advertised by Apple.


Quote:
Erm...yeah...hence why I was explaining the reasons for developers having to drop prices. People are buying the $10 crappy apps with no longevity. Price is one of the few ways you can attract by the app store and, even then, it doesn't work. I can't get my game to shift at $1.99 despite (a) having a video of the gameplay, (b) having a heap of glowing reviews from review sites around the net, (c) having a free lite version and (d) having pushed it myself all over the place. Maybe it's because it's too cheap and it then falls into the tap of being bundled with all the other cheap rubbish strewn across the app store. Dunno. The point is that I'm hearing this from other developers as well, this isn't just my experience.
As for your game, if I may, it might certainly be polished, and worth at least $1.99 if not more, but unfortunately there were a few free ones out there before your release. And even though the free versions might not be close to being as good as yours, and your game is somewhat differentiated, in the eye of public opinion, it's not enough to warrant paying for it. It might just be one of those games that is limited to a certain clientele/specific niche, and not one that the majority of people would find to be of interest to them. I'm just playing devil's advocate here to some degree and just theorizing as to why you're app isn't selling as well as you'd like

Quote:
Well, by offering something different for one thing. Offering something polished. Making it look good and play well. Offering something challenging. Making it easy for them to try it. Providing as much information to them before hand as possible. Yup, I think I covered those myself. I'm selling an app for $1.99, it took 240 hours of my time to create, and I couldn't shift enough to get a cheque from Apple in the first month and I doubt I will this month either. And I strongly believe that my app is polished and is of high quality. But heh, I would say that, I'm the developer
I agree that you've done everything you can to drum up interest etc, been involved in the forums, and I won't even debate the amount of time you've put into your product, and I can understand being proud of it, and wanting it to do well (and of course make a few dollars if not more off of it). I wish you the best. I wish I could provide you with some method to increase sales but it just may simply be a case of an overcrowded app store, with difficulty in identifying anything new, and unless one is involved in the Forums or App Shopper, you're right that your game will get lost in the shuffle. At the same time, I do honestly believe my comment that the other similar style games to yours that are free could potentially be the main reason for your app not selling as well as it could or should.
10-15-2008, 11:57 AM
#8
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Charley View Post
Ok, fair enough, and agreed that if Apple is behind your product, that's a bonus and a most definitely a sales increase. I'm not certain how well Pac-Man has done though retro gamers would spend the $10 without thinking for the nostalga.
As for CubicMan Deluxe, I don't believe that's by a big developer off the top of my head. Let's take a look at Trism also which was an independent and did extremely well, though as you said, was "supported" and advertised by Apple.
Both in the app store very early on when it was a much different app store to the one today. Their success came from that, and that they're good games. If either was released now I would not expect them to do anywhere near as well.

Quote:
As for your game, if I may, it might certainly be polished, and worth at least $1.99 if not more, but unfortunately there were a few free ones out there before your release. And even though the free versions might not be close to being as good as yours, and your game is somewhat differentiated, in the eye of public opinion, it's not enough to warrant paying for it. It might just be one of those games that is limited to a certain clientele/specific niche, and not one that the majority of people would find to be of interest to them. I'm just playing devil's advocate here to some degree and just theorizing as to why you're app isn't selling as well as you'd like
Now this is where I don't get it. How many match 3 variations are there, and many of them have done well. Maybe I just wrote the wrong thing, I'm certainly coming to that conclusion, despite what the reviews may say.

Quote:
I agree that you've done everything you can to drum up interest etc, been involved in the forums, and I won't even debate the amount of time you've put into your product, and I can understand being proud of it, and wanting it to do well (and of course make a few dollars if not more off of it). I wish you the best. I wish I could provide you with some method to increase sales but it just may simply be a case of an overcrowded app store, with difficulty in identifying anything new, and unless one is involved in the Forums or App Shopper, you're right that your game will get lost in the shuffle. At the same time, I do honestly believe my comment that the other similar style games to yours that are free could potentially be the main reason for your app not selling as well as it could or should.
Thanks.

"Arthur & Charles Present Create & Play" now available on the App Store
iTunes - Arthur & Charles Website
10-15-2008, 11:58 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crastic View Post
I spent nearly the past 4 months on a game and I'm afraid of the exact same problem. We don't exist unless we're on the top 100, then we can get only a measly percentage of $1.99. Ack!

Screw this, I'm going back to consoles.
What game did you develop?
And as for going back to consoles, do you have the ability to be an independent creator or are you going back to working for the big boys?
I don't see see independent console games anywhere.....
10-15-2008, 12:29 PM
#10
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,484
Actually, the Wii now has "World of Goo" as WiiWare. Probably independent stuff on Xbox 360 and PS3 stores as well. Mind you, I know nothing about developing for those platforms.

One thing is positively clear - the AppStore is pretty disastrously designed. What in the world goes into deciding what shows up as "New"? Most of the stuff there isn't even remotely new. Etc. It's also hard to find anything. Hopefully Apple will come up with a much better store soon. They just stuck the Apps into the iTunes music store motif (which I never thought was good either) and hoped it would work. It doesn't. I would really like to see the AppStore taken out of iTunes and become a normal web store you visit in your browser, but I have my doubts that that will ever happen.

Moopf - one thing to consider with regard to your next app is that there are an awful lot of developers making puzzle games for this platform. That makes for a lot of competition.