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The price remains the same…

October 18, 2009

“You guys…we’re the #37 app. With no publisher. Without being a dollar. With a free version online. Thanks for help breaking the rules!”

No, not us, but developer Semi Secret talking about the success of Canabalt on Twitter, yesterday.

We personally love their game. It’s exactly what an iPhone game should be, in our opinion. It’s fun, simple, stylish and very, very addictive… great for short play sessions when you’re waiting for the bus, or on the train. Or just on the loo 😉

The incredible thing is that they stuck to their guns, price wise.  The game retails for $3 on the US App store, and many called for the price to be reduced due to the game’s simplicity and the general standard of the competition.

So why the huge success, when most developers panic and drop their prices according to what the market wants?

Here are some possibilities:

1. The market is huge. It’s therefore able to support multiple pricing structures. We recently bought the excellent BeatMaker music creation app for $20. It was worth it. Perhaps Canabalt is *worth* your $3 just because it’s a quality, quality game. Do quality games deserve high price tags? Activision certainly thinks so… Some people will buy quality games no matter what the price. Others won’t. If the former outnumber the latter, you have a hit!

2. The game itself is awesome fun, as we’ve said before. It’s not *everyone’s* idea of awesome fun. Some call it too simple to command such a price tag. We would call it ‘pure’ 🙂 Enough people like it, though, to have pushed it into the top 40 paid apps list… so they must be doing *something* right, right?

3.  The online version, the full Flash game played in your browser, serves as a great demo of what the game would be like on the iPhone. Nothing’s hidden, nothing’s removed. It’s the full game. You pay to have it in your pocket, on your iPhone.

4. Did we mention it was awesome fun? Seriously though, games should be measured, value wise, by how much fun you have playing them, not how many features you can cross off a checklist.

At the end of the day, the decision is the consumer’s as to how much they’ll pay for a game. Canabalt has been a huge success, despite the naysayers warning of doom and gloom at a price that bucks the market trend. A diversity of price points will only encourage others to get in on the act. Whether their products can command such diversity in price is up to you.

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