the-banner-saga-1There's a very interesting interview over on Polygon with Stoic Studios, developers of the hit tactical adventure title The Banner Saga which launched on Steam back in January and is on its way to the iPad. In the interview Stoic touches on what it's like developing a game as a fledgling indie studio, and two things in particular really stood out to me.

First they talk about how the introduction of the iPad and Superbrothers' Sword & Sworcery game were two key factors that made the team realize that "going indie" was something they could be successful at. Talking about the trepidation of leaving their jobs at larger game companies and forming their own studio, Stoic co-founder Arnie Jorgensen says "And then I got an iPad and picked up Sword & Sworcery, which is a badass art game. It blew my mind — it was a small team, and I thought, 'Wow, this is really possible now.' That's what kind of kicked off the whole idea of staying in games, which I love, but I could move to a smaller team and go independent and still make a living. The iPad, I think, kicked that whole thing into gear."


Another interesting point related to that is that the aforementioned port of The Banner Saga to iPad has been relatively painless, mostly because they designed the user interface from the start to be playable with just one finger. "You could play the entire game on PC with your left mouse button." says John Watson, also a Stoic co-founder.

The Banner Saga had always been destined for the tablet platform, but during its development Stoic decided that they wanted to target PC first, mostly due to how unstable the whole world of mobile has been over the years. During the time that The Banner Saga was being developed, there weren't a whole lot of examples of games that could sell at the higher price points needed to ensure the project was successful. As most people know, there was a "race to the bottom" mentality where everything above a dollar was considered too much, and following that the free to play model has become prevalent. Neither of those avenues sounded very appealing for a small studio that was just starting out to bank their future on.

Thankfully, it feels like the mobile market is starting to stabilize somewhat. Sure, there are more free to play games coming out every week than there are hairs on my head, but recently there's been a trend of developers highlighting the fact that their games are "buy once with no in-app purchases" offerings. I think more and more developers are realizing they can make a profit by focusing on a smaller segment of the iOS audience that's willing to pay more for those premium experiences, rather than thinking they have to go after the much larger free to play casual market.

bannersaga1 bannersaga2

The second really interesting thing to come out of this interview is that, according to Watson, Apple is also sick of the race to the bottom mentality and rampancy of free to play games. "Apple is frustrated, along with everybody else, about the mentality that's gone rampant in mobile app markets, where people don't want to pay anything," says Watson. "They think that four dollars is an exorbitant amount to pay for a game, which is very illogical considering most people's lifestyles. They'll spend $600 on an iPad, and $4 on a coffee, drop $20 on lunch, but when it comes to spending four or five dollars on a game, it's this life-altering decision. I'm frustrated with that too."

Well said. And it echoes a lot of what other developers have told us at conferences like GDC and WWDC. Apple makes some of the best high-end mobile devices on the market, but their App Store is flooded with crap, and they want to change that.

Based on the critical acclaim that The Banner Saga has seen since its launch on PC, I definitely think it's the sort of game that can fetch a larger price on the App Store. What that price will be still remains to be seen, though, as Stoic still hasn't settled on that. Apple is in fact working directly with Stoic to help them come up with the best pricing plan for the game, and is especially keen on things that can push the hardware of a device like the iPad Air. One thing that's for sure though, and probably goes without saying, is that The Banner Saga on iPad won't be free.

The iPad port of The Banner Saga is nearing completion, and right now Stoic is just left optimizing the game as much as possible. It should be arriving sometime later this summer. In the meantime, be sure to read the full interview over at Polygon for even more insight on Stoic and their feelings on free to play, the development of The Banner Saga and its future, and much more.


  • Blaine Hodge

    "Apple makes some of the best high-end mobile devices on the market, but
    their App Store is flooded with crap, and they want to change that."

    • Donny K76

      If you aren't a professional writer, you should be. So tired of people jail breaking their devices. I know it's perfectly legal, and that's a shame.

      • Blaine Hodge

        Thanks! But writing has terrified me since grade 5, all the way to university which further entrenched the fear having to write 30 pages on something I have no idea about. haha

        I just try to stick with the code type writing.

      • shadax

        "So tired of people jail breaking their devices"

        I think you mean "tired of people jail breaking their devices TO PIRATE GAMES"

        If jail breaking should be illegal, then android phones make a criminal right out of the box.

        There's a HUGE difference that you're pretty ignorant about. The jailbreak community is all about tweaks and customizing your phone to be faster, look cooler, and have more features. Piracy is frowned upon and disallowed in the larger communities; in fact, it calls for a ban!

        I hate the stigma that comes with jail breaking. We are all about FREEDOM. Not stealing!

      • iqSoup

        Agreed. My phone is jail broken because Apple just limits things way too much for my tastes. And I'm glad to pay for both apps in the app store and jail break tweaks on Cydia. My phone is my property--I can do whatever I please with it.

      • Kane


      • Ryan J Gill

        THIS. I jailbreak. I do not go anywhere near pirate market apps. I also don't install pirated apks on my android either. I jailbreak to get my ipad to the same level of functionality and customization as my android (with the benefits of iOS and the app store to boot). iFile with dropbox integration is basically integral, and appbackup (from which I synch backup game files to dropbox via iFile) has ensured I never freak out over a restore. Pre-ios7, Retina Pad made text legible in 2x mode. I also set my default browser when I stray from Safari. Default apps, file backups, file viewer/organizers. All things easily found on android phones and any computer. If this makes me a monster for enabling on my iPad, then so be it.

      • coolspot

        People should be able to do what they want with their devices. Jailbreaking has nothing to do with piracy - while related is a separate matter.

        There are legitimate reasons to jailbreak, such as loading MAME or other "banned" but legal applications.

    • Goggles789

      I totally agree with you on the app verification part. It's like anybody can make some crap app and just stick it on the App Store. It feels like there's no quality control at all.

      • Blaine Hodge

        I meant giving developers a better way to determine if the app was purchased or pirated, atleast for an app that talks to a server (like for multiplayer or cloud services).

        But I do agree, Apple themselves should raise the quality cutoff bar on apps they permit on the App Store.

      • crazy dad

        Since everything goes through apple, here's a thought, could be stupid, but what if in the code it would allow for apple to tag, or add a sequence of numbers, that would indicate it was purchased. The line has to be there for the app to work and the code/password/whatever would have to match the apple account. If apple knows what apps you bought, can't it be reversed. Every purchase tags a sequence that report gets sent to devs online game allowance based on verified code.

      • RDSns

        iOS does have an API that will let a games programmer find out if the device its running on is jailbroke.

      • MrAlbum

        Be careful with that, though; just because they jailbroke doesn't mean their copy is pirated. They could be tweaking their phone's settings, disabling animations, re-working notifications, etc..., all of which doesn't deserve to be punished for piracy.

        As far as I can tell, the developer needs to come up with their own verification, probably through their own server, independent of Apple. Though how they will do that is a mystery to me; I'm a Mechanical Engineering student, not a Software Engineering student :/

      • coolspot

        Or at the minimum implement a refund system like Google Play.

      • Edwin Ramirez

        Seems like they are losing control. Or loosen up the reigns on QA trying to compete with Android's numbers.

    • PureRumble

      Okay I will bite into this toxic debate… how do we know that any of this that the article says is true?

      What proof is there that this is genuinely Apple's sentiments regarding the App Store's sales culture? The guy being interviewed never specified on what occasion he talked to the company and which of its representatives were participating in the debate. Was he only talking to some random guy at the company who thought his view is shared by entire Apple?

      Now let's take a different kind of look at this: Have you guys reviewed how much filthy money Apple is making of freemium game in app purchases? Go ahead, the numbers are public. I just hope you're sitting in a chair when you find out…

      Given this, do you really think that this is something that Apple would be frustrated about? What is the ultimate goal of a company… ?
      I think they are very very content with the current situation regarding the app store.

      • rewind

        Very well said. Thank you.

    • Ryan J Gill

      I feel that Apple itself should be able to help establish a more secure framework. Sony and Nintendo do it. Granted, there is fragmentation with mobile devices, so it isn't as simple as firmware lockouts across the board. That is an option some devs use, though.

      There are risks either way. Always online components for "traditional" games is limiting. Even worse is what some devs (like Square Enix) do on Android, with periodic check ins and file downloads as you progress through the game. If you don't want to take a bite out of your data plan, and are getting deep into, say, Chrono Trigger on the train, you're going to have to put it down until you get to a wifi zone on android.

      The problem I see with your suggestion is that there are two options. One, is that it only benefits devs if IAPs are purchased. The other is if it requires IAPs, for example a full-game unlock. The problem with unlock keys is that, unlike on PS3 or Android, for example (where such unlocks are separate files that you can backup individually), these unlocks are impossible to restore should that app be pulled or the company discontinue support.

    • rewind

      Lol, I get most of my premium games from friend's accounts. I have the dev's game, and they don't have my money. Apple could put an end to this, but the big question is... do they want to? Are they actually pushing toward freemium, and the writers at TA are trying to convince themselves that Apple favors premium? That would make the most sense, because free-to-play games, on average, produce 10 times the amount of money that premium games make. And, as we all know, Apple likes money.

  • Kevin MacLeod

    Most users never leave the Featured list. Apple curates the featured list. If you don't like freemium and cheap games, STOP FEATURING GAMES THAT EXEMPLIFY THE WORST OF FREEMIUM.

    • Bliquid

      Last week they featured a " best design games" sale showcase on the front page.
      Sure, the price drops made them more enticing, but i think it really worked out great.
      I, for one, bought all of them.
      Anyway, i fit perfectly in the buyer psychology mentioned in the article.
      I never pirated a game in my life, because i love the media and i want to support developers who make games i like so they can do more, thus often spending full prices on consoles or waiting to find used copies.
      But when it comes to iPhone games, i'm overly cautious in spending those 1.79 €.
      I don't think it's because i don't deem the games themselves worthy, it's more like i don't deem the device itself worthy, when i have proper machines with proper buttons and hardware/software setups which i feel more suited for comfortable and immersive gaming experience.
      This is changing for me, though, as of lately a bought at the price of an espresso a lot more titles on my iPhone than all my other consoles put together.

  • speedyph


    • Poo

      What the fuuuuuuuuuuu

      • nini

        He brought the game off the back of that interview because devs like making money, amazing.

  • hellscaretaker

    I wait untill it goes free

    • sivad

      Not sure if that's a jab or serious but I lol'd none the less

  • defunct32

    Apple please, I only pay for premium, no IAP games... Not saying games with IAPs are bad I think I have a few on my iPod, problem is just because it's a couple of dollars doesn't mean I should give my money, don't compare this to my lunch, at least the food made me happy and full, will a mediocre $5 game make me happy? Only for a while if it's fun, otherwise, delete.

    • curtneedsaride

      Yeah, I gladly pay $5-20 for my premium games on iOS. There are only a small few of free apps that I really enjoy, and I only do because they swindled good Intellectual Properties like Star Wars and my favorite EPL clubs.

      • Rahady

        I'm going to buy The Banner Saga, already interested in it since kickstarter.

        I'll be happy to pay more for games once, than pay less every time I'm running out of moves/gold.

        This whole freemium scene, iAP for gold/moves is ruining the fun of games.

    • Arcite

      I wait for premium games to go free, app of the day/app of the week ect... 😉

      • Stormourner

        I prefer to pay instead of waiting for price drop. if you download a premium game while it's free and you liked it then you wish you have paid for it

    • Gabriel.Voyager

      Sometime you can also give 5$ for a mediocre food 😉

    • Mnoz

      So the game will be fun "for a while" but your lunch will make you happy forever ? Lol

  • jesse_dylan

    Funny to read complaints about cheapasses within an app that helps me track apps for price drops...

    • Themostunclean

      It's your prerogative but that's not what I or most people here use it for. TA is for people who are enthusiastic about iOS gaming and want to learn the latest news or discover new games they would have otherwise never heard of.

      • jesse_dylan

        How did you know? Take a scientific survey? 🙂 I did pay full price for Dragon Quest VIII, X-COM, FTL and a few other solid ones but for normal App Store stuff, nope.

      • bilboad

        Your claim about why people use TA was no more scientific than Themostunclean's. For me, looking for deals is the least of the reasons I read TA. I read TA mainly to find out about new games and gaming trends, to read the often well written reviews of games, use the forums for discussing games with others, and get notifications of updates. If I like a game I buy it right when it comes out, or in any case when I get around to wanting to play it.

        I don't know the statistics, but I would hope the writers for TA aren't all wasting their time writing well written reviews and articles if all people really want out of the site are price drop notifications. I kind of doubt that's the case though,

      • jesse_dylan

        I would imagine there would be some overlap. I came for the notifications, but I really like the articles, reviews, community, and handy app itself.

      • 61050

        i came for the articles and reviews, but i stayed for the awesome "made in 2011" vibe the app has going. with the rather large prevalence of people's preferences for games that look like they were designed in qbasic, im having difficulties discerning whether the lack of a refresh is intentional or just lazy.

      • Themostunclean

        No survey, just optimism. I would hope that most people would be smart enough to use the apps that are specifically designed for (and better at) tracking app and game price drops as opposed to one that focuses more on news, reviews and community.

      • iqSoup

        There plenty in the TA community who are just as part of the problem as anyone else. I love TA as much as anybody, but don't pretend like everyone here is glad to pay $7 for a premium game. We've all come across plenty of price-whiners here on TA.

    • Rahady

      Price drops and freemium iAP are two different things. At least 'cheapass' like me still buy the games, cheap or full price.

    • Poo

      I only use it that way for games I'm on the fence about. I paid full price for xcom and would pay it again just for the doc that they aren't bringing to ipad. The games I really want I pay full price for and am rarely disappointed.

      • Poo


    • TouchMint

      TA is one of the main reasons indie devs actually have a chance. Indie devs get wayy more exposure from ta than they ever would from Apple. I owe 75% of my success on the app store to them.

    • Edwin Ramirez

      Well that's one use. I mostly use it to track upcoming games.

  • HarryWarden

    If Apple really was truly serious about putting a stop to this, they could ban F2P games and all IAP that are consumable currency. They'd never do it of course because then games like the inexplicably popular Candy Crush would be gone. Most of the games I buy on iOS are adventure games like Broken Sword where the only IAP is the next episode of the game. That type of IAP I doubt Apple has a problem with because unless Apple removed the app size restriction, such IAP are necessary for longer games and episodic games like Telltale's Wolf Among US and Walking Dead.

    • Stormourner

      it's better for freemium games to be converted to premium rather than banning them. if the freemium games are banned some people (the misers of course) aren't gonna buy premium games

  • Jake7905

    How about a $50 IAP cap for individual games? That would limit the "slot machine" mentality among freemium developers, and force them to stop looking at an individual player as a limitless source of income.

    • Jake7905

      But thank god for upcoming premium games like "the Banner Saga" and recent premium success stories like "Monument Valley". They give IOS gamers hope for the future.

      • dancj

        That actually caught me by surprise because the word "saga" in a game title automatically makes me think freemium now.

    • rewind

      That would completely kill freemium, and kill Apple's profits. According to Supercell (one of the dominant freemium developers), only about 10% of their players have spent any money on Clash of Clans. But the players that spend money really empty their wallets. A chunk of players, including a few that I know personally, have spent at least $10,000 on Clash. In the current state of the App Store, introducing a cap would significantly lower their revenue. It would be a terrible move, and one that Apple would never, ever, ever do.

      • coolspot

        Gotta wonder if Apple and the developers are taking advantage of mentally ill people - i.e. those with compulsive, addictive, gambling type problems? Because who in their sane mind will dump that much money into a mobile game.

  • DemoEvolved

    I hate free to play and never pay more than a dollar for anything
    1. Something good always goes free for a bit, get it then
    2. Pay games are not always amazing plenty are terribad
    3. I have backlog on steam and ios, do I really need the new hotness?

    • Michael O'Connor

      Obviously the point is to pay for premium games that ARE worth the value. Stuff like the Telltale Games, Monument Valley, Wayward Saga... or whatever you consider a high qualify game to be.

      $2 for that level of effort is criminal, especially considering the general value of the device in your hand. Game development isn't cheap.

      • Michael O'Connor

        *Wayward Souls.

        Darn it.

      • WrenDavey

        You're wasting your breath. DemoEvolved is not willing to pay for quality. His type wear their cheapness like a badge of honor. Everything else goes against their nature.

  • curtneedsaride

    Man. I can only pray that this will run somewhat on an iPad 2 cause that's the only iPad I got. I'm sure my iPhone 5S could run it if they'd make it universal... But if it won't play on an iPad 2, then I may be looking to upgrade. Or miss out on the game.

  • Eseres

    So... Apple is basicly frustrated over that freemium and ad supported games are being downloaded more than premium games? If so, I can understand that. Im trying to only stick with the premium games myself, but only because those games tend to bring me more play value and joy. Games such as the Broken Sword series is just more fun for me to play than for example The Simpson's Tapped Out and those games. Free games with IAP's always seem to guide me into a corner were I have to buy crap just to continue, and that ruins the whole game for me. I'd much rather pay the cost of a game ONCE, and then be done with it. Better for me and better for the devs.

    Now, with that said, I also understand the people who prefers the freemium games. Some devs seems to be under the impression that ALL smartphone and tablet owners are grownups with a bursting fat wallet, and thats not the case at all. In todays world, even 4 year old kids (and probably younger too,) have their own digital device too, and charging some of the huge amounts of money I've seen some of the games go for kind of exclude these kids from the mobile gaming world, as well as the people who for what ever reason can't afford to spend these massive amounts of money on a game that looses app support or have been on the AppStore for quite a while.

    Im not saying that the devs shouldn't get paid, but come on... Give people a breake! Free games with IAP's are okey in some ways, but the IAP's in some of them is borderline to insane!! One single dedicated player could almost pay for the whole production of a game over one single years in worst case scenario. So I don't think its strange at all that some people choose to download a pirate version or hacking a game. I could write a bunch more about this case, but it take up all the comment field space and people would eventually get mad at me for sure...

    • black _developer

      Well written

    • DBrown519

      True dat man.

  • KeiserOne

    If Apple wants some kind of sympathy regarding this, they're not gonna find any from me. They're the ones that encouraged devs to push DLC/energy bars/PayToWin/Freemium/any BS of some sort you can think of on their platform (so they can have more and more games on their devices). This new "form" of gaming spread like wild fire on dedicated gaming devices and ruined years upon years of gaming evolution. And NOW they're telling me they're not profiting enough from it? Well boo-hoo...

  • apolloa

    I can't help but think pot kettle black on Apples part, I mean it must love iap's as it gets 30% from every one! If Apple was serious in the slightest about removing the crap, then it must start with getting rid of the Iap business model, ESPECIALLY the ones where an in game purchase can cost more then a triple A console game at full retail price, like what Gameloft and Firemonkeys/ EA do.

    • black _developer

      EXACTLY THANK YOU!!!! These dev's are getting out of hand with these $99.00 IAP's - It's robbery

      • Eseres

        Couldn't have said it better myself 🙂 Some of the devs are getting way too greedy for their own good. My brother once told me that if I wanted to earn a 1000 bucks, it would be a heck of a lot easier to sell a 1000 items for 1 buck, instead of selling 1 item for a 1000 bucks. If I put too much efford and money into making the items, that would be my own foult. But then again, IF you choose to spend a whole bunch of money on a game, you kind of expect it to be that game to be worth it too. And in some cases with the games on the AppStore, thats not it. Paying a lot of money on a game that "looks" great, but only lasts for 10 freakin' minutes is bound to faceplant into the ground at some point. Thats not getting the devs on that game any sympathy at all. And as mentioned several times in the past, Gameloft can blame themselfs for loosing customers. I used to love their games, but they lost me because of their stupid ways of either making games that costs too much too short, or by adding paywalls and ads... The secret behind great sales numbers and earning money on a game, is to make make better games with reasonable prices. If the game is good enough, people WILL promote the game and more people WILL buy and download it. Don't make a hand few of customers pay for the whole production, and then consider the rest of the income for "money in your pocket". If a game costed like 4 million dollars to make, it would be enough to charge 1 dollar for the game, and IF EVERY citizen of Norway bought the game, it would be all paid for. And Norway is a small country, and above all, NOT the only country in this world. CHARGE REASONABLE PRICES FOR A REASONABLE PRODUCT!!! Its not us users foult that the devs spend too much time and effort in making a game. And its not us users foult that the devs choose to use game engines that costs an arm and a leg to build either. And speaking of game engines... They do not invent a new game engine for every game they make. Most (if not all) of the time, the game engines are "old news", and I highly doubt that this is the reason behind the outragous prices... Its all just old codes with new wrappings...

  • Vestid

    This article made me want a coffee.

  • Artfoundry

    I don't think it's as simple as people just don't want to pay money. The problem is that there are SO many games from which to choose that I think most people need to budget both time and money on which games to buy and play.

    I know for me, there are way too many games for me to buy and play, so I play the free ones I think I'll like and buy the few paid ones I KNOW I'll like. If I paid $3-7 for every game I thought I might like, it would not be a small expense - it could easily amount to over $100/month, and there's no way I would have enough time to play them all (as it is I don't have enough time to play the ones I do get). So it would then be a waste of so much money for me.

  • Ubisububi

    I'm encouraged that the F2P model is finally getting some real pushback. We premium gamers sure are vocal; let's hope we're not the tiny minority that F2P developers say we are.

    • Eseres

      We're not a minority, of that Im pretty sure. Its just not that many of us who speaks up, or some simply do not care because it seems useless to speak up at all. In my opinion, most of the devs don't care what we think, because they probably belive that we all can throw our money at them, shut the heck up and F off. In some peoples (devs in this case) mind, they can charge what ever they want because if the users (us) want something, we'll always pay what they ask if we want the product. In my opinion, there should be laws against how much the devs can charge for a game according to its quality. I've bought games that have made me feel like I've been exposed to a scam, because it has costed way too much compared to how long it took to play through the whole game... The devs should be forced to put in the description how long it will take the average player to complete the game, so that people would have an idea on the games lenght... I don't know if that makes sense to anyone, but its how I feel about it though...

    • Eseres

      By the way, devs claims what ever they want and never referes to any kind of campain or where they get their info from. They simply hide behind lies they make up themselfs. They have never asked me or anyone I know about anything when it comes to my mobile gaming habbits. I asume nobody of the TA users have been asked if they prefere freemium or premium games, or if they are willing to "sell their soul" to get a game either... (Even though I suspect some users to make a joke about it LOL.)

    • coolspot

      Seems like no one likes IAP, but the problem is only a minority will pay for a premium game.

  • Poo

    10 bucks no problem.

    • Terwilke

      Bought almost all of the final fantasy games... I would rather buy as few quality games than all free crap

  • MidianGTX

    Apple are only now moaning about what we've been moaning about since the beginning.

    • Edwin Ramirez

      We all know that Apple is slow. They've just realized what we did two years ago.

  • Joe

    Apple is a business. They can be frustrated as much as they like with the direction the market is going. Anyone one in business knows that you are going to follow the market even if you don't always like it, not waste all your energy trying to change it to something that people might not even want. If 70% of the people with your device want a fart app, or some little flapping yellow bird, then you are going to give them that.

  • mutts

    It a bit odd what devs want.
    Most apps in the store are just not full fledged games.
    Games that last hours and/or give you a run for your money.
    Sure there are those that do this X-com is a ptime example i would not mind to pay 10 to 15 dollar for asphalt 8 if it had all the extra whit it. On the other side you have games like tiny tower, coindozer and the infamous Candy crush that are not worth that amount. Altough I like the first 2 a dollar would be the limit, and no iap's.
    As long that there are iap's a game should be free imho.

    And App,e complaining must be an early aprils fool joke.
    They let this happen, it is the only app store that controls the quality themself.
    What it should say is Apple is missing out on reveneu deu to iap.
    And even that is not intirely treu since apple gets a percentage over those to.

    • Goggles789

      You need to use auto correct j/k 🙂

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    People should know that all depends on us the ones that really valuate games on an Ipad , and that know that there is really quality games worth paying whatever price, always to achieve a quality game where your time is totally worth. A strategy game on my ipad, where I can play it where ever placa I want. Thats what make it special. Developers should stop making free craping wasting time games, and people will realize that ios gaming is not just for wasting time in a bad way, so hail to premium quality games!

  • TouchMint

    Maybe Apple should stop featuring 75% free apps. They promote the s*** out of freedom apps so what do they expect?

    Honestly I dont know why they would be against freedom apps. The way I see it is they market on the fact that yes you pay $600 for an ipad but we got all these sweet free apps...

    Im actually working on a free version of my game "Adventure To Fate" just because thats where the market is. Most people wont even look at a game if they have to pay for it.

  • worldcitizen1919

    The best games which have come out recently were one price games where the enjoyment is the main part not the price.

    They can always have a free trial by including an IAP to buy the full game which reaches a wide audience but at the same time doesn't give away everything for free. I don't mind paying but only one price not continually. I only agree to pay once for the full version and that's that. I've bought games for $18 and $24 but then I'm left alone to play and not harassed for more money. I like that.

  • Eseres

    Just a quick message to TA; How about making a serious interview with some of your users about this matter? Im up for it, if you want to 😉 I've been around all kind of games since the 80's, even though Im nolonger considering myself a hardcore gamer anymore, I do play every now and then 🙂

    • nini

      Interviews with anonymous members of the site who'll already be radicalised anti-IAP types? What'd be the point, so the other people who share that belief can pat themselves on the back for being right thinking?

      • Eseres

        1. TA would be asking the questions. If interview subject was against IAP's, that would be that persons opinion and you would just have to learn to live with it.
        2. This article is obviously about Apple and them complaining about freemium games, ads and IAP's, if Im not mistaking.
        3. If TA did make such an interview, Im sure they have enough integrety to view both sides on the subject of free games, ads and IAP's.
        4. Im not totally against free games, ads and IAP's. I just don't like the agressive ways they are used.
        5. I used only myself as an example. In my opinion, you or anyone else are just as suited for such an interview too. I just think the common gamers voice should be heard in this matter, and not just the devs or the reviewers. All in all, its people like us gamers who makes the world of the gaming industry spin around. If it wasn't for us, the devs would be without jobs. Such an interview would be just as much in favor for the devs as it would be for the common gamer.

      • Eseres

        Oh, by the way, about that anonymous user (obviously me). IF TA made such an interview with me, it would be with my full name and alias attached to it. As I see it, absolutely every single user I've seen on TA have an alias. Its not just people being anonymous, but in my case, I have a looooong freakin' name which is probably hard for most people in other countries of to pronounce. Thats the reason why I use the alias "Eseres", which is, for your information, based on the initials of my real name. I use it everywhere because its makes it easier for me to sign in to places and easier for other people to talk directly to me. I had no intention of being anonymous when I created it. I just wanted to simplify my online life, if that makes any sense to you at all...

  • seinfeld95

    There's no denying it; the absolutely best, highest-quality iOS games are premium titles (Wayward Souls, Monument Valley, Out There, Leo's Fortune, FTL, Blek, Threes!, etc.)

    For me, at least, the prospect of purchasing a game with actual money, and not having to spend a dime more thereafter, is simply the best way to enjoy a game, knowing that it won't try to hustle you out of dollar after dollar just achieve progress in said game. Yes, I know that people will say stuff like "the IAP's are optional!". Sure, they're not blatantly enforced, but there is such a thing as the constant prospect of a smoother and better experience endlessly grating on one's nerves. This is not the best way to enjoy a game. (duh)

    Although I despise IAP's consisting of "premium currency", I am all for DLC in iOS games. Think of Skyrim for this particular example. This game is absolutely huge, with an enormous amount of content packed into it; an enjoyable experience, unencumbered by paywalls. If I so desire, I could buy one of Skyrim's multiple expansion packs, thus adding even more content, which will enable me to further enjoy a game that I love.

  • Arcite

    App store is a baddass experiment in the FREE MARKET - people will pay what they think the app is worth, no more, no less.

  • MaqueGenio

    Fascinating 180 turn as they have spent the last 5 years or so trying to convince developers and consumers that $ .99 + microtransactions was the right model for iOS platform. The whole Appstore economy was built around that model since the beginning. Steve Jobs talked about this in an old interview @ D8 YouTube link : watch?v=ZLEzEL35Iyc (jump to 1h:29m)

  • Jerutix

    What if, bear with me here, Apple tried to implement a Spotify with games? I don't think they'd want to replace everything, but maybe have a premium per month entry price that users pay to access premium games from willing developers. It would have to be heavily curated, but it could also be the equivalent of Apple's Seal of Approval. IDK, just a random thought.

  • dmn001

    There is no evidence that there was actually a conversation with Apple representatives on this topic, its just this one indie dev's "opinion".

    Also you cannot make a million coffees for the same price as 1, whereas the effective cost per sale of an app is just the time invested in making the game, you are not selling a physical product, a million apps sold is not a million times the labour and resources cost, that is actually just zero, so there is justification in pricing a physical product at a higher price due to increased costs. So it is no wonder app prices should tend to zero.

    Lastly, you are competing with free, people buy $500 devices for the sole reason so they can pirate apps all they want, theres no getting around buying a physical product, but it is fairly straightforward to pirate software, given one click jailbreaks and app store clone websites.

  • Stormourner

    since there's alot of freemium games in the app store blame the misers for this

  • jesse_dylan

    Quit whining and put out Banner Saga so that I can buy it.

  • ItouchBrett

    Once I see a game that says "free" next to it I say one thing, "pass".

  • Papa Deuce

    Does Apple realize how many games any price?

  • Warto

    I would rather all games were F2P with IAP. I hate spending $5 to find out a game is crap (And most of the App Store is crap).
    I'll take the light version, then pay to unlock features.

  • Sandy F

    I hate in app purchases. Please ask what the game is worth up front. Don't expect me to pay forever. I purchase apps not only for myself but a large institution. Games are a staple item for the children and teens I serve. Games that basically require in-app purchases for continuing play are not purchased. It's not practical or fiscally sound to do it and I won't. They ask for these games and I have to explain why we will not have them available for play. Even some educational apps require in-app purchases. What are they thinking? They lock out buyers like myself. Personally I hate games that hold me hostage for hours unless I purchase the power up or whatever. I read reviews beyond Apple to purchase, I am looking for unique content. I want fun educational apps but in-app purchases will keep me from purchasing many.

  • Kane

    The Banner Saga better not be like Candy Crush Saga.

    • Poo

      Lol nice!!

  • Jay

    I kinda stopped buying apps after getting burned on a lot of them. Buy a cup of coffee, or lunch, or an iPad - those are known quantities. Buy a game based on 5 screenshots and some words (saying how great it is), and you could end up with anything! It's like gambling. Sure, sometimes you're gambling with lunch, but you can get a refund on lunch if it's THAT bad.

    • Gabriel.Voyager

      You can ask for refund also for the app...
      If you go to a resturant you ask if the resturant is good, and maybe read some review, if you want to buy an app you can ask if is good in this site forum and read some review.

      • nini

        Which doesn't mean their concept of a good game is the same as mine. Anyway, you only get one shot with getting refunds, they don't hand them out short of the game simply not running and it's the same reason I don't use Steam often. Yeah it's no $60 a game but you get a handful of games you thought'd be good because hey premium pricing will always equal quality only to find no, premium priced games are just as likely to be as shitty as the free game you hate so much and you're out by just as much with little recourse. I support premium gaming experiences but no, the fuzzy moral superiority feeling that I helped a struggling dev studio make up for the fact the game sucked.

      • Papa Deuce

        I have bought well over 500 games / apps. I bet I only like / use 20 of them enough to justify what the price was. I would be asking for a refund about 95% of the time.

      • Jay

        I didn't know I could get a refund on iOS apps. How?

  • Mike Walko

    It's not just mobile games, but I am way more critical of the money I spend on a game than I am on any other hobby. When it comes to food, or a movie, it's pretty much instant gratification. I know rig away I'm going to enjoy myself, for a certain amount of time, and then move on to something else.

    For games, I wonder about everything. Will I initially like it. Will I like it six months from now. Will I like it too much and it takes up all of my time. Will it take too long to learn. Does it have a community I want to associate with. Can I play it with friends. Will I still want to play it if my friends get bored with it. Will I get bored before I finish it.

    All of these things I think about when I contemplate buying a game.

    • Goggles789

      That's very well stated. I go through similar thought process for games. I'm pondering a recent steam release that I can't remember the name to, lol! A turn based RPG, beyond divinity, original sin or something. Sounds great but like you, I'm in ponder mode.

  • Durduhdur


  • HalfnHalfCoffeeJelly

    Ha, Ha, Ha. Poor Apple. Guess they missed all those research and polls that showed its iOS App Store users actually pay for Apps vs Android users. That would really be a big eye opener for them.

    If it wasn't the fact that I paid over +$100 over the years into Apple's ecosystem I would have went Android phone-wise due to the bigger phone screen. Even though the gap is closing there still is a quality/early acess advantage that Apple still has in terms of high end Apps. I do notice that "Hearthstone" isn't yet available for my Nexus Tablet.

  • Hypocrypha

    I could never afford supporting more than 3 games/developers a week of they were all $4 games, especially when the average lifespan of a game on my idevices are 3 days. Like boxes of cereal at the grocery store, I buy what's on sale, and with a coupon to bat. Same difference, I owe no one money or to but their app, it's my prerogative.

  • Edwin Ramirez

    "...about the mentality
    that's gone rampant in mobile app markets, where people don't want to
    pay anything,"
    Well... we can thank Android for that.

    • nini

      Or we can blame the mouth breathing crazies who'll pay whatever to fund their hobby and expect everyone else to do the same.

      • Edwin Ramirez

        @toucharcade-30d7847827ae357b0c424971f949321a:disqus I'll have take your word for it. I have no way of knowing what mouth breathing crazies think 😀

    • apolloa

      It's nothing but hyperbole trendiness to state that. iOS gamers are just as much, if not more to blame for the IAP, freemium business model.

      • Edwin Ramirez

        @apolloa:disqus Sure iOS gamers are to blame but where did the whole "free with ads" and the later "free with in-app" trends really get traction?

        Remember the time when a newly released Angry Bird game cost one dollar on iOS but then it came out for Android, albeit a few weeks later, for free?

        It's not hyberbole to say that an app has to be free to be succesful on Android. I believe that most iOS gamers must have thought at least once in their life: "If they get if for free on Android then why do I have to pay?".

      • apolloa

        Free with ads was actually started by Apple themselves, someone posted a link in this thread to a video interview of Steve Jobs, in it he explains how they developed iAds for developers to make money on free aps! So again blame Apple and NOT Google.
        It IS hyperbole to constantly blame the Android platform for things Apple has started and pushed for.

      • Edwin Ramirez

        iAds is a failure and I didn't say that Google invented the free with ads model. I said that model gained traction, as in actually work and thrive, on Android.
        I'm not making things up, I think we are all pretty aware of the trayectory mobile gaming has had for the last 5 years.

  • dancj

    I have a small amount of sympathy with the developers - though I'm inclined to think that the "problem" is over-saturation of the App Store rather than cheap users.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever with Apple though. The App Store is taking in ridiculous amounts of money for them and they're complaining it's not enough? Well boo fucking hoo.

    • dancj

      Oh and I put "problem" in quotes because I'm not convinced there really is one.

  • TJF588

    One word comes to mind with game purchase hesitation: demos. The two means I've noticed so far are separate "Lite" versions, which are scant these days it seems, and free apps with buy-once unlock IAP, which might get mixed up with F2P (immediately, I think of the two mobile versions of Shantae, the latter with an awkward "(Full)" placed at the end).

    If demos could become more of a thing on iOS, it might be easier to pull in those who aren't sold on what to blow credit on. From my eyes, I see trial apps which may clutter my download list and mightn't transfer progress, vs IAP unlocks which I start worrying about not being able to verify for later devices, somehow, maybe. Dunno how prevalent those trepidations could be...

  • frathcke

    Better pay once than again and again. What sucks are pay games that offer in app purchases like gold or gems. That's mean. What Apple lacks is the possibility to return apps you do not like. That is an excellent service at the google Play Store

  • Lohengriehn

    We need a monthly fee! Easy that is! ...just to be able to play games on our devices. Even the free ones 🙂 (copyrighted idea :-P)

    • dancj

      That might just drive me to Android.

    • realinvalidname

      Explicitly prohibited by Apple's "App Store" guidelines: "11.9
      Apps containing content or services that expire after a limited time will be rejected, except for specific approved content (e.g. films, television programs, music, books)"

      [this was apparently rephrased recently; it used to be described as "apps containing 'rental' content".]

  • diegohostettler

    I would buy more premium games if I could play them first. So please devs always make a demo/lite version!

    • JPhilipp

      Apple should really streamline this. Imagine if every musician had to compose a "light" version of their song. No, instead Apple handles this, and allows you to listen in to a short preview of the song. The same should be made an option to tick for game developers.

      • apolloa

        Brilliant idea, click the option that asks, Do you want your customers to have the ability to test your game for free by playing the hour or 2 hours for free.

        Or it could be 30 mins of gameplay, either way that is a great idea that Apple should support.

  • JPhilipp

    "developers highlighting the fact that their games are "buy once with no in-app purchases" offerings"

    Now I would just love to know the percentage of indies with such games who make revenues. I would guess that already, 99+% of games are lost in the app store with no relevant downloads or sales whatsoever. For titles which dare to go a route that's not IAP-based, that number may be even lower.

    I have an iPad title with over 400,000 downloads (I don't want to promote it here, let's just say it involves siege towers). Whenever I made it paid, say 1 buck, the download numbers dropped around five kilometers sub-earth, presumably around parts where giant earthworms live. For what it's worth, not even adding IAP later made its revenues sustainable in any way to continue iOS development, but that might have been a different case had I added it rightaway (as nearly all of the downloads where for the non-IAP version).

    Do I love games development? Absolutely. It's a dream come true to be able to come up with a crazy idea, test that it's fun, then instantly publish to the whole earth with nearly no restrictions. Add to that terrific development frameworks like Corona, and things are theoretically rosy. Obviously, that makes it a dream come true for 100,000s of other indies too.

    In practice? iOS development is hard, *very* hard to be made into something sustainable (I've stopped after a dozen titles, which even in sum barely make revenues). As is normal, the outliers will be the one discussed by the press, so we may get the impression that it's easy for an indie.

    Well, at least that's from my perspective... but maybe I'm just especially bad at the revenues part 🙂 I tried to go the no-IAP and no Ads route in the beginning, but likely that was a bad choice. Good luck to all other indies...

    • apolloa

      Being a solo indie dev is really the same as starting your own business, it's never easy doing that and is a lot of hard work. Thank you for your comments as it does highlight how not all games make the money.

      • JPhilipp

        I agree it's never easy, though I guess one crucial difference between starting your own business and releasing an App Store app is that in a normal city, there's not a dozen officials who will decide whether or not you get to appear in city center (Editor's Picks, What We Are Playing etc.) or the desert (everywhere else in the App Store). Of course, on the upside you don't pay extremly high rent *if* you're lucky to be featured in city center by Apple 🙂

        BTW, I think the editors actually often do a great job in discovering apps (even if you're not a big budget house, you stand a chance). With the volume they must get, kudos to their editorial team & approvement processes they must have!

  • apolloa

    Reading the comments on here I think it's obvious what WE all want, we want demos with one time full game unlock costs, and pay ONCE for DLC content. Like the PC and Console markets, but we also want it all at a FAIR price.
    For instance, with Real Racing 3 I would pay £6 for the game and then say £4 or £5 for DLC after. Much fairer than £60 for enough gold helmets or cash for one car that you still cannot use until you've unlocked the racing series the cars used in....

    • dancj

      Speak for yourself. I don't want to pay that much for games.

      I'm quite happy to let the market sort out its own prices.

  • Justin

    I mean, I have an iPhone and a iPad, and the reason I hardly spend money on games is because I can't stand mobile games. They are so bleehhhhh. I'm a console gamer, I want real experiences, like The Last of Us, or Destiny, or Halo etc. I don't want Angry Birds 9 1/2……….

    • Gucciipad

      I love mobile games. Sitting at a dr appointment bored u play a game yes nothing beats console game but. I need a game just to bypass time.

  • Chq

    Still waiting for pricedrops.. don't want to pay anymore for games, since most games have in-app-purchases.

  • senoo

    Ban every game with IAP, paid apps and full experiences only! Greedy mofos

  • iqSoup

    Any chance of meaningful QA on Apple's part has long since gone out the door. They aren't going to go back and review a million crappy apps in order to suddenly become a curated store. I really don't see the need for this anyways. The Internet isn't curated--there's plenty of crappy sites out there but we can just ignore them and gravitate towards good sites. There's always going to be a role for sites like TA--showcasing apps of note, highlighting good ones and steering us away from bad ones. What Apple could do--and should do--is expand their featured section. There could be multiple featured lists depending on game type, indie or AAA etc. You could even have a premium list featuring some of the good $5+ games out there. Then it doesn't really matter much if there's a million terrible games on the app store because plenty of people will be able to easily find the gems that are worth playing.

  • rewind

    There is no direct quote from Apple. Apple is incredibly proud of the current state of the App Store. That's where they dominate, and that's where they have a huge advantage over competitors. The Bummer Saga developers are falsely speaking for Apple, and TA is stooping down to the level of these immature developers.

  • joy patel

    Personally, I feel that Apple does not really care.

    I think Apple's concerns are limited only to looking good and being perceived as cool. In order to maintain their premium platform feel, Apple needs to ensure that well designed games with gorgeous art keep releasing on iOS.

    Given that freemium games are bringing a lot of cash to Apple, I'll bet they want it to continue.

  • Matthew White

    If they made a version of the iphone with dual analogs and triggers like a smaller metal, much nicer vita maybe with a slightly curved 3D optional screen. That would go a long way for me. Or at least a really nice controller add on.

  • vai_levar_no_cu

    lol... dunno what is so new about the fact that the vast majority who
    plays on smartphones doesnt spend a cent, and doesnt want to.

    people around here tend to forget that theyre a niche demographic, that
    theyre the small group that actually pays for quality games, but everyone i know that games on a phone (cousins, brother, friends....) noone pays a dime and its all just f2p

    and this is supposed to be the future of the games industry?! dont
    get me wrong guys, love my ipad, but it would be a sad day for the
    gaming industry if this were the way to go. Still remember the reactions to me defending that Nintendo stay away from smartphones, thats its really a toxic market, that its better for the industry and gamers that they stay on their niche. Still believe that

  • coolspot

    iPad = Physical Item
    Coffee = Physical Consumable
    Lunch = Physical Consumable

    Digital Game = bits and bytes

    That's why people are reluctant to pay real money for software - it's because it's not a tangible good.

    Saying that, in-app purchases should be limited ... I think IAP is destroying the app store.

  • kevin8977

    Pip ol' chap

  • Spore Productions

    IMO it's all about the psychology in perceived value:

    "They'll spend $600 on an iPad, and $4 on a coffee, drop $20 on lunch, but when it comes to spending four or five dollars on a game, it's this life-altering decision."

    iPad: tangible good
    Coffee: tangible good
    Lunch: tangible good
    App: virtual good

    Psychologically people just don't value a new icon appearing on a screen the same way they do something they can hold, touch, taste, etc.

  • Tokyo Dan

    Apple should forbid free games and games with ads. The minimum price for a game should be $2.00. just a way to separate the worthy from the pathetic. If you can't afford to pay 2 bucks for a game then you don't deserve nor have any right to have it.