How much is the market willing to pay for apps? That’s a big question now that Apple have managed to turn their App Store into a mainstream success. When it comes to big iPad downloads, games can sometimes push as much as $10, but Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick thinks it could go a lot further.
Zelnick spoke to Forbes (via) about the possibility of $30 – $40 apps in the future. When asked if it could happen, he replied: “I don’t see why not. Tablets are ubiquitous. And tablets are a great game platform. And it’s the right sized screen. And you use the tablet to have an engaging experience. So if all of that’s true, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to sell a robust product for the same price point. The reason the price point is currently lower for an iPhone app is it is used for five minutes, and not for a hundred hours.
“My take is that small screens will be used for a quick but interactive entertainment experience,” he continued. “Mid and large screes can be a robust and engaging entertainment experience. That’s how my kids play games. When they’re at home, they don’t really play games on their desktops or tablets. They play games on the projection TV.”
It’s a hefty amount of cash for spend on a download, and not everyone agrees with Zelnick’s claims.
“Price points aren’t lower on iPhone because of five minute games — our latest game, Trucks & Skulls NITRO, clocks in at six hours-plus for $0.99, and our metrics indicate players return to Trucks several times a week, with average sessions longer than five minutes,” said Paul O’Connor, Brand Director for developer Appy Entertainment to IndustryGamers.
“Prices on iOS game are compressed to free or $1 because this platform is at the center of the most competitive entertainment software market in history. Surviving here requires a new kind of thinking that, frankly, most of the console industry has been unwilling (or unable) to achieve.
“Display size is a consideration in game development, sure, but drawing a direct relationship between screen size and depth of play is like saying ‘movies can only be robust and entertaining when viewed on an IMAX screen.’ A larger screen can make an image more engaging but if your game isn’t designed to take full advantage of this new, connected (and unique) touch-driven platform, then all a larger screen is going to do is amplify the shortcomings of your game,” O’Connor added.