1 Level Free! Are "Lite" iPhone Games an App Store Deal or a Dud?

One of the highest profile iPhone games to state, EA's Spore, retails on the iTunes App Store for $9.99. Now, however, you can also get a "free" version, Spore Origins Lite Edition (iTunes link). The catch? It's teaser consisting of 1 level. Since Apple doesn't (yet?) have a model for demoing apps ("try" instead of "buy"), it's likely the only thing developers can do to give potential buyers a real preview. They hope, after one or a short number of levels, you'll be hooked enough to pony up the bucks for the full blown version.

How's this working? Well, Spore Origins Lite is not in the iTunes App Store Top 10... Pac Man Lite, which uses the same model, sits at number 5 in the free listings as of this posting, but it's full blown counterpart in nowhere to be found among the top 100 paid Apps.

What does this tell us? That people would rather pay nothing for a Lite edition than something for a full game? Or is it simply that the whole App ranking mechanism still broken?

Have you downloaded any free "Lite" Apps? And if so, how many have convinced you to move on up to the full version?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.