$19.99 "Premium Gaming" Section to Hit App Store?

MacRumors is reporting a... well, rumor, that Apple may introduce a new section to the App Store for "premium" games with a price point at (or above?) $19.99.

The rumors suggests WWDC in June as a likely introduction event, and it would be exclusive to big publishers and allow them to side-step the $0.99 domination of cheaper Apps (some awesome indie fare but also a lot of... well, CrApps) that suck all the air out of the current Top lists.

This could actually be an interesting solution, allowing for both the cheap games many want to consume, but also providing a viable business option for developers who want to invest more resources into bigger games. (Grand Theft Auto: Cupertino Chaos anyone?)

I'd be willing to pay more for really good, in depth, immersive, highly optimized, and expertly rendered games, and think it will continue to push the iPhone and iPod touch into Nintendo DS and Sony PSP territory.

How about you?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

$19.99 "Premium Gaming" Section to Hit App Store?


I wouldn't mind, GTA:Cupertion Chaos sounds pretty awesome. But these games would have to be 100% bug free right out of the gate and be like something I would expect on the PSP or DS.

if theyre as good as their ds/psp counterparts with hours of fun gameplay, i dont see why they shouldnt

Apple needs to add a physical controller to make games more playable. the onscreen ones, and tilt based controls limit, IMHO, the playability especially for fast twitch type games (racing, shooters, many arcade games).

Tilt controls suck. The games I've downloaded that rely primarily on tilt controls have been the worst. The most fun games have been those with limited interactions actually, like a tap tap revenge.

I think this is a great idea, but I have yet to be convinced that iPhone/iPod Touch consumers think of this as a gaming device on thelevel of a DS or PSP. I know that's in part because of lackluster titles, but Apple would have to get some stellar gaming houses and stellar, feature-length games for this to be even marginally successful because right now, it's nothing more than a casual gaming platform.

Definately they would need to add physical buttons and also probobly have the ability for these games to close all background programs so it doesn't constantly crash

For $20, the game better be damn good. Truthfully, I don't know if there are any games in the app store right now that I would consider worth $20. But if there is a solid, top of the line game, it could be worth it - not just slimmed down versions of existing games.

Until they add an accessory to provides physical controls I won't be paying much more than $4.99 for any game. The playability just isn't there for something more complex. On screen controls don't work as well as physical buttons.
Come on Apple, you could make a killing with an Apple gaming dock that adds traditional gaming controls (thumbstick, etc.). Game developers would be all over it, and it would fly off the shelves. It would be a win, win, win situation. Win for Apple because they sell more product, Win for developers because they can create better games and a Win for iPhone users who want a better gaming experience.

I think that would be a great solution to ensure that the consumers continue to get quality games. Everything is about money so the $.99 wars were forcing great developers to only make apps that fit that market. I hope they add this so that the big time developers will have the room to blossom great games that are competitive with other mobile and handlheld competitors. My iPhone is Jailbroken because I like the idea of Themes on my phone. This should be included in the iPhone so I can stop jailbraking after every update. That is probably the only downside. I don't want to have to wait until these guys figure out how to jailbreak yet another firmware. I'm growing sick of it but its a necessity so that I can keep my rabbid rabbits theme with super mario sounds...lol!

I agree with the above commentators saying this would be a great opportunity to introduce a gaming control dock addon. There are very few tilt games I have kept installed, (Zombie Chav hunt springs to mind) but these are not games you play for an extended period of time. Tilt just isnt the best for that.
A gaming pad add on, with a built in 1800 battery pack = first day purchase (along with GTA:Cupertino Chaos :-P)

I don't care what they do as long as they don't add game-controlling buttons to the iPhone. I bought an adult's communication device, not a child's toy. :roll:

Well honestly i've got over 30-40 purchased games on my iPhone right now, i'm a huge iPhone gamer and i think being a long time gamer i'm a good judge of games in general.
The games that TRY and i emphasize TRY to be 3-D just are cutting it in the performance area... the sluggish Framerate is just not enjoyable enough to play the games and i've tried them all.
Now the games that are 2-d even with a few 3D visuals are AMAZING.. and perfect for mobile gaming as well..
i don't really think anyone should be making "Premium" games until the actual HARDWARE itself improves, meaning a better iPhone model.

I think that the market can only benefit from someone with Apple's reputation and built in customer base nipping at Sony's and Nintendo's heels. I think it's been obvious for a while that mobile gaming needs to stop being about mobility and start being about gaming (especially where the app store is concerned).
I worry, however, that this isn't the right time to employ this pricepoint. Only so many people will shell out for a 'mobile' game at that price—namely gamers. This will be especially detrimental if the game quality isn't up to snuff. Though Apple will be banking beau-coup bucks, the dev's may not be able to sustain on that profit margin.
My tendency is to want to allow a little more time for devs to push the hardware's limits in the current app store, to produce higher quality games. I could be wrong though.

I forgot to say this: even with the app store full of (I like the portmanteaux) crApps—it's not broken. Everyone's making money even though the quality bar is hovering just above the toilet seat.

I am willing to pay a top notch price for a top notch name. I bought beatmaker for $19.95 and it was worth every penny.
My worry is that...will the iPhone handle such games? maybe on the iPhone 3G?

The hardware can't really handle highly advanced games. With only around 40mb max available free ram (60 on the touch) you don't have alot to work with.

Well... This wouldn't be for just games, would it?
There are a number of non-game apps that would fit into that category including Apple-based ones (iWork Mobile perhaps :) ).