It’s arguable that the Apple App Store’s key to success was its rock-bottom pricing of quality content. It’s become a bit of a stickler within the games industry in particular, with Nintendo executives criticising Apple for “weakening the value” of video games. However, it seems now that Apple may be actively encouraging premium pricing on some apps, despite developers initial low-priced plans.
Speaking at Edinburgh Interactive, Steve Ackerman of Somethin’ Else, the company behind the award winning Papa Sangre game, spoke of his conversations with Apple regarding pricing:
“Obviously Apple doesn’t promise anything in terms of promoting games, but before the release of Papa Sangre they said they were very interested in the game, and that they might promote it.
“They asked us how much we were going to sell it for, and we said maybe ₤1.99. They said ‘you must be joking, this is a premium app, this is worth more than the price of coffee.'”
The game eventually went on sale for £3.99 and was a success, selling over 50,000 downloads.
It’s an interesting debate. Certainly, the quality of low-priced apps is so high as to demean the value of a £50 console game. Why splash the cash for a PS3 retail game when within seconds you can have downloaded a title just as fun for the loose change in your pocket?
But here Apple seems to be championing quality over value. While £3.99 is still a fair sight cheaper than the cost of your average console game, Apple look to be actively avoiding asking sweatshop prices of developer’s apps. Keep in mind that Apple recently raised the base-line cost of all apps on the App Store recently, so perhaps the days cheap-as-chips apps may soon come to an end.