Many pricing methods have been used since the release of the App Store, however, at the moment, a lot of developers seem to be moving towards a “pay per content” model. I don’t like it and here is why.
There are several pricing methods that work well (even Freemium can work well at times.)
- Full priced app, with free content updates – Pay your £1.99 and the app improves over time at no additional cost.
- Freemium – if done right, you play a game for free and can invest money if you wish to.
- Available in Lite – You can download a cut down lite version of the game, and if you enjoy pay for the full version of the game.
- Download for free – play the first section, then unlock the full game via in-app.
However, we are now seeing another pricing model appearing, and it does not work well at all.
You either download a free or even £0.69 game, you play it for 20 minutes and then get to a stage where you are suddenly asked to purchase the next part of the game with a in-app purchase.
This is similar to the some ways to the download for free model, but does not give a clear insight to want you are getting with the in-app purchase.
For example, if you pay £0.69 then how much additional content do you think you will get over a £1.49 purchases.
There are been several apps now that have disappointed my heavily with the in-app purchase on content. Gaining 10 new levels or another 20 minutes of game play is not good value for money.
I especially do not like it when you have to pay for the application to start with. You feel like the developer has put a £1.99 game on the app store, but has split it up as they think it will sell better at £0.69, and then expect you to pay the additional content prices as you unlock content already within the application.
The biggest fear with these games is that no update in the future will be given for free.
These games really hurt parents, an adult player will give the game up as bad value for money, but a child who is enjoying the game does not care if their 20 minutes of fun is costing the parent £0.69 each time.
One thing that I would like to see Apple do, is make the developers show clearly what will be obtained with in-app purchases up front. They need to have all the purchases documented on the description. If you know up front that you will be needed to make four in-app purchases of £0.69 unlocking 10 levels a time, then you as a purchaser will be able to avoid the title and buy the £1.99 game that gives all their 100 levels for free, and free content in future.