Are Cheap Apps Costing the iPhone Great Games?

We've talked about this several times before on TiPb, but Jeremy Horwitz over at iLounge takes an interesting journey via the game Peggle, what it's release looks like for the Nintendo DS at $30, how retail sales prices break down, and what it might mean for iPhone gamers if they're forced by market conditions to give us a barer-boned $5 version.

We know Apple said "free apps stay free", so there's still no model for demos to get people hooked, but the idea of ScaleWare, so a low introductory price can be followed by a few level/feature pack upgrades is something we're fond of. Horwitz rightly points out that if devs over use this, however, it could make things worse:

just imagine the commercials showing someone actually playing a full Sony or Nintendo handheld game alongside someone clicking on iPod touch dialog boxes to the sound of a cash register.

iLounge likes the idea of regular games (i.e. cheap) with the in-app option to upgrade to deluxe versions (i.e. full price). Sounds good to us. We want great games on the iPhone, and we're willing to reward developers with fair prices for their work. Are 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

Are Cheap Apps Costing the iPhone Great Games?


I give a flip about games. Those of us whom have no use for games need to make ourselves heard.

Or, you could remain silent and don't bother the rest of us who don't. Have you decided this is the "gamer's only" comment section? :roll:

No, but it is a section about upcoming games... btw, why would we care to hear about your disinterest about games.

The last sentence in the article asks (but it seems I always have to explain that to people who don't read closely).
BTW, I'm not interested in your opinions, either. ;)

"Those of us whom have no use for games need to make ourselves heard."
No, you do not need to make yourselves heard. I'm learning to develop on the iPhone, and I will be getting in to gaming development as soon as I can. If you don't care about games that's great... no need to comment on an article about games in a gaming section.

Happy to pay proper money for a proper game. Some of Gamelofts stuff has been really good for expample, and I'd have paid more than what they asked. I won't pay for a game, which charges you more for features that would otherwise have been included.

After reading this article on PopCap, I saw they relased Bookworm for the iPhone for $5. Bookworm is a great game if you are a word geek, but if a $10 or $15 price point would get them to port the even better Bookworm Adventures, I would pay it in a heartbeat.

When I think of "great games" for mobile platforms, Peggle doesn't exactly come to mind. It's just another run of the mill puzzle game. Just because it's out on DS doesn't mean it's any more wonderful, and honestly if the developers couldn't afford to bring THAT experience to the iPhone OS, they're expecting too much cash for their skills.
Basically just because it's selling for $30 on the DS doesn't mean it's not really a $5 game.