I had to laugh because...

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Dustin Neff, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. ...Over on another forum, somebody was complaining because they perceived that asking $1.99 for my game was just too much, and in my defense somebody replied with this (which I think all developers can probably relate to in some way) --

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  2. ImNoSuperMan

    ImNoSuperMan Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2009
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    Oh ya. I remember seeing this one earlier. Eli tweeted this one. Hilarious and still QFT.
     
  3. S.I.D. CrAzY

    S.I.D. CrAzY Well-Known Member

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  4. Booch138

    Booch138 Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
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    It's simply amazing how much people complain about the price of apps. Most are so cheap. Especially as a console gamer, where arcade games are like $5.99 and up.
     
  5. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2009
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    I can understand the mentality of this, by now.
    When the app store was brand-new (and things were priced low-ish) there was not much competition. Now there's just this unending stream of constant stimulation "buy this!! and this and this and this!!!" It honestly doesn't matter what price it is.. hell, even if it is called "free version" The potential customer is so desensitized to "new release," and after probably having bought so many games on impulse (I see tons of people complain about it on TA) plenty of which they never get around to playing anyway.

    The real heart of it is, combined with the sheer volume of apps available, so many of them are just really incomplete experiences. "me-too" games that either look crap, play half-heartedly, feel slapped together, and most have no brand value worth whatsoever. It's hard to be angry at the audience for being so jaded.

    As devs we just need to take more time to develop better looking (and secondarily, playing) software that looks more in-line with what someone would expect to pay $30 for on DS or PSP or what-have-you.. and then charge next to nothing for it. It's harsh, it's time consumptive (and cost-inefficient in a lot of ways) but if one has the time and resources, it's a good way to overcome that initial barrier "why should I spend my money on this?"

    The reality is, most of us indies can't afford to do that for some reason or other, so we continue to moan about it..
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  6. I'll agree with that. As a consumer, there is just SO much crap, I'm sure almost everyone has been burned by now from a cool looking game that majorly sucked once you played it, and you're left just thinking "what a waste." Problem is that is an overwhelming large % of the app store.

    Ultimately, one of the largest problems -- imo -- is that so many people think because they CAN make an app, they SHOULD. The reality is not everyone is cut out for the video game business, even if the low entry point for the app store does make it incredibly easy. I can't count how many people think that because they play and are good at games, they will be a good developer. The 2 are indeed related, but one by no means implies you will be good at the other.
     
  7. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary - some kinda-crappy games do fairly well! I won't endorse them for the same reasons you mentioned, but that is the "beauty" of the App Store, that anyone can get in and try their hand at "winning the lottery." We've seem some really terrible productions make a few people rich by now. It's kinda the romance of the whole situation I suppose.

    The bad side of that is, of course, it does clutter things up for the devs who are trying to fill out the landscape with honest-to-goodness decent product (and therefore, culture). I guess if you want to get there, the moral of the story is that you still need to satisfy the lowest common denominator (or be able to afford enough marketing to power your way over the crap...)
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  8. Well said. I'm not angry at the audience or anything, speaking as someone who's also been burned by a lot of crappy games and app purchases myself, but still, I just thought the cartoon highlighted a humorous side to the equation - all things considered.

    I understand the jaded mentality though.

    I think a lot of the blame is to be put on developers who are just there to try to make a quick "cash grab" by filling the app store with junk, or rushing to be the first to copy a game that was very innovative and successful, and making a few hundred bucks off the tail end of its popularity. A few hundred bucks may not sound like very much to you or I, but in some places in the world it amounts to a good sum of money, relative to their economy.

    Somebody can clone a game and probably make $10 to $50 a month just off random impulse buys if it's in a popular category. Now what if they clone 10 games? Or what if not just one person is doing it, but 1,000 people (or more) cloning different knock-offs of a successful game? So I think that's one factor driving the huge deluge of crappy games that's continually flooding the App Store.

    I'm not talking about games that add an innovative spin to a tried-and-true formula, I'm talking about blatant rip offs.

    I've heard it said before that a good barrier to this would be for Apple to raise the yearly developers fee to $1,000 or more, and I don't disagree. I really wish they would, and I bet it would get rid of 40% of the crAPPS that fill the store. That would certainly improve the odds of a decent game getting better visibility.

    But until Apple reigns in these kinds of developers, I guess we just have to work a lot harder to get noticed and stand out above all the "noise".
     
  9. robotmechanic

    robotmechanic Active Member

    Oct 1, 2010
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    Cute comic. Unfortunately, I think this illustrates that the main forces at work here are "supply and demand. "

    Apple makes products that people are willing to pay a premium for and there aren't too many competitors that compete with apple on so many different levels (product design, marketing, user interface, functionality, etc)

    iPhone games, on the other hand, are in no short supply. With so many clones of games out there, it's no wonder people are not making money cloning a similar game. Now I am saying clones are bad, but the problem is some developers aren't putting the time to polish the gameplay, graphics, UI, graphic design, so naturally the best looking clone with the better gameplay eventually wins out leaving the other clones out in the cold.
     
  10. BravadoWaffle

    BravadoWaffle Well-Known Member

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    The low barrier to entry is a double edged sword for sure. If they raised the developer price to $1000 a year it would cut out a lot of the lower end developers, but honestly how many of us would have started developing if the initial cost was that much? Probably not many.

    As game designers and developers, we need to work together to raise the bar for iPhone games collectively so the difference between these cloned games and a real polished game is clear to the consumers.

    Also, after reading that comic, am I the only one wondering where Starboobs coffee is?
     
  11. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

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    I do think we have been enjoying a period for awhile now, where there has been a very steady stream of above-average content coming down the pipe. It's still matched by a metric TON of garbage - well, at least mediocrity - but it's been a fairly exciting time to watch/participate in the scene, even if only from purely a player's perspective.

    I think it's going to slowly raise, as some of the people who've been working hard and doing well are being rewarded for their efforts and continue to enjoy their good thing, meanwhile perhaps we'll see a bit of leveling off as those who are pooping out unspectacular apps sober up to the fact that the gold rush is over, and (as has been said by others) "they move on to the next thing."

    At least Apple are being a little more (?) selective, or at least conscious, of what they will promote than they used to be (when it really WAS a free-for-all), and I think you'll see a lot more of that with TA and all the way down the hierarchy as well (other reviews websites, etc). At the same time, this could be the opening up of a whole new can of worms, and the true avalanche might have yet to hit as other mobile devices' app stores (and such..XBLA, PSN, etc) come into vogue, and things spill over and cross pollinate, etc.

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  12. robotmechanic

    robotmechanic Active Member

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    If it were $1000, we would definitely see less developers but apple would lose out on the size of the developer community. We would probably all be doing more android, XBL development if that were the case.

    I read a post by Apple saying they were going to get tighter with the app approvals since they are seeing too many clone apps flooding the store. (fart apps were mentioned). That might pave the way toward more visibility for the some of the indie games out there but right now there are plenty of worthy games and apps out there already which are aggressively competing for sales or notoriety.
     
  13. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

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    I saw that post too, it was pretty high-profile.. and I am curious if it was mostly a bunch of hot-air on their part. Trying to look like they will take things more seriously, when in fact they won't/can't since it will set off a whole different trajectory.

    what constitutes "amateur hour?" Will a game be rejected because "we have enough doodle-style games?" or "it plays too similarly to bejeweled?" If it looks like utter garbage, and plays like nothing fun at all, but is still impressive since an 11-year-old made it from scratch (this has happened), what then?

    I am thinking in the short term, they'll just be a little more particular about what they choose to promote, but even if another toilet-paper rolling app comes out and shoots up the charts, do you really think they will not feature it on what's hot?
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  14. gammabeam

    gammabeam Well-Known Member

    I think Apple is aware of this becoming a problem, so we should expect tighter approvals in the near future.

    With Android and other mobile devices switching to full touch screens and better performances, Apple must be ready for a market shift, no matter how small it can be - due to Apple's popularity, it will probably not mean a thing, but they should be careful.

    I remember the good old "Console Wars" era, where Nintendo would always win over Sega... until Sony came along with the PS1 and surprised everybody!
     
  15. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

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    Ah, got to give Sega their due - memories are hazy now, but they took the early lead in the 16-bit days and were extremely popular as the 8-bit NES was being phased out. SNES had a lot of catching up to do, and probably by the end of the 16-bit generation it was really a dead heat between Sega and Nintendo (yes, there's still a lot of debate about this!) Of course we all know what happened next..

    Point is, the game industry is generally fairly lopsided, historically. Whoever is ruling the world one generation can be struggling to play catch up the next.. it's happened a few times for Nintendo, it's definitely happened to Sony. As for how this bodes for Apple, well the mobile market is obviously a different animal, but right now iPhone really feels like the PS2 of the current day (noticeably underpowered compared to the competition, but the clear market leader and most popular "system" by a wide margin... for now!)
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  16. Gravity Jim

    Gravity Jim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2009
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    When you are selling digital copies of something, which are unlimited, "supply and demand" would have no effect on AppStore pricing even if there were only 10 apps available. Like Doritos, you can eat all you want and they'll make more. There can never be a supply squeeze on downloaded products.

    AppStore pricing is based on "what the market will bear." Consumer expectation was set early, and it's damned hard to change.

    Many of you will be too young to remember when music on CDs was introduced. They listed for an unheard of 12 bucks (vs. 7.99 for vinyl) were discounted 10-30% depending on the store. Consumer were assured that the price would come down to match the price of a vinyl disc as soon as more people had adopted the format. (I was working in a record store in those days and remember repeating this to customers.)

    But the price never came down. That's because the law of supply and demand does not apply to an unlimited resource: CDs remained at their initial list prices because consumer expectation had been set, and as profit-per-disc increased, nobody saw any reason to change.

    By the same token, you're going to have a heck of a time getting the price expected by consumers in the App Store to go UP.
     
  17. EssentialParadox

    EssentialParadox Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2009
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    The only thing I disagree with about that comic is that I don't feel this is a problem caused by consumers...

    Of course, it's illogical how they're stressing over a handful of cents for app prices, but that's because price is relative to the rest of the products on offer (which I think is what the other guy meant when he mistakenly used the term, "supply and demand.")

    Ultimately, developers are collectively to blame. Stop pricing your freaking apps at $0.99! That probably sounds overly harsh, but it's ridiculous how much I see discussion on these (and other iPhone development forums) about being unconfident about pricing higher than $0.99. —If you're releasing at (or later reducing to) these kind of prices, you need to accept that you're guilty in contributing to keeping this problem alive and well. I acknowledge it's hard to break that cycle, but at some point, iPhone devs just need to stand up for themselves and price their games appropriately and then let it be judged on its own merits as a game, not how much it costs. Quality will always find its way to the top of the heap eventually.

    Make better, more full games, and price them higher.
     
  18. Vetasoft

    Vetasoft Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2010
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    Priceless :D
     
  19. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

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    This is something that's been discussed plenty, and honestly a lot of thought, research, and comparison has gone into this issue.

    When you are a smaller dev with no-name, it's fairly costly/time consuming to assemble a bonafide "AAA" level-looking product. Unless you can genuinely afford to put it out and bear that it will very possibly fall flat even then, you have to price it low for anyone to even consider picking it up. If it looks like a SNES or PSone game (or somewhere in between) then the customer will be a little more forgiving of a higher price, but again.. no name, who cares.

    Secondly, look at the top spots on iTunes. The majority of customers are biting on 99cent apps. Once in awhile you'll get a Sonic 4 or Modern Combat which is a fairly well-marketed and well-known brand, but everything else is just scraping the abyss. Even those higher-priced games will blip off of the radar after their launch, never to return to the top spots again (unless they have huge pricedrops). Well-known established games like Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, they will only get high visibility with dramatic price-drops and as soon as they go back to normal, they too trickle out of the top.

    Thirdly, when you have big several-decades-established publishers like EA, Taito, Namco, Konami, etc pricing close to 99c and even doing promotions that low (on "new-ish" software) then it really sets the expectation in consumers' minds. If those games are selling for that price, then anything else must be ridiculous!

    Also worth mentioning, download games are generally not considered "real games" as someone alluded to above. It sounds a bit crazy, but if there's no box/physical media, the whole thing is considered a lot more disposable. This is a huge issue with Steam/XBLA/PSN/etc right now as well. When Pac-man CE released a couple of years ago, people were fuming about how the game cost like $8. I played that game for hours!

    Right now the opportunity to even compete in the same field as those guys is so tantalizing for devs that it's worth it to sacrifice price/establishment of a brand. I am (almost) surprised that no one with any vision has stepped up and assumed the position of "We are going to be the iPhone dev who takes 6mo-1yr on every title, it will look like a DS game, and it will all cost no less than $10" It just doesn't make business sense to do that at this point.


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  20. Unfortunately the reality is often you make more money at that lower price point... this is why devs drop there price so often. With N.Y.Zombies after a certain period we tried a $0.99 sale and initially saw about 8x the profit we were making at $2.99. When the initial sale died down we were still at higher overall profits then before, so we kept it at that price. We hate giving a game with 20+ levels and tons of content away for a buck, but this is a business, and a buck is what the market has determined the game is worth.

    You'll see many other games (Predators comes to mind) which have done the same thing because the reality is, do you want to "stick to your guns" and price it at what you think the game is worth, or price it to where you make the most money? Again, this is a business, and many need to be making money in order to continue developing.
     

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