We spoke before on the price of King of Dragon Pass in the App Store. Unlike other online stores (like Steam or Amazon.com) there’s no way I know of to do A/B testing of price on the App Store (price reductions are noticed and retweeted before any PR we may choose to do, so they become publicity events in their own right). So I can’t empirically say that we chose the best price. It does seem like it wasn’t a horrible mistake. I think the basic message of “this is a valuable product” has come through, it has given us some flexibility for the occasional sale (ironically, even our sale price probably looks like a premium price given the state of the App Store), and there’s probably some benefit to the large number of App Store reviews saying things like
“Worth every penny!”iPad was released while the game was still in development, but too late for us to take advantage of. Once we figured out a design that would work on iPad, it didn’t take any time at all to know that it would be a Universal version — one that runs on both iPhone and iPad. And that it would be the only version.
“Wow this game is fantastic, don't be discouraged by the price it's absolutely worth every penny.”
“Well worth the price.”
“Do not fear the price point. You will extract the value over and over.”
“It's worth every dollar.”
A Sharp is a development studio, and I wouldn’t say we have a lot of expertise in marketing. But here’s the rationale.
It’s obviously simpler for a developer to have only one version to maintain, but the code base would be essentially the same, so that wasn’t really a factor. More importantly, we knew that a lot of our players were using iPads. How would they feel if (like some games) we released a separate version they’d need to buy?
“Total different from those "money machine" games.”Just flip those comments around. Also, this would be an ongoing issue, as people bought the iPhone version but later bought iPads.
“Wow thanks so much for the universal support on this app! It really says a lot about a developer who is willing to add universal support instead of forcing users to buy another separate app! Wonderful support!”
While we might be able to price separate iPhone and iPad versions differently and capture more of the market, we’d also be introducing more consumer confusion (which to buy? I might get an iPad for Christmas, I guess I should wait to see which version to get.) And if sales were divided between two versions, it’d be even less likely to appear in the App Store charts, which are one way to discover the game.
And, we had communicated that the game was a premium product. Premium products don’t annoy their owners. By trying to come up with clever ways to make more money, we’d undercut our own message, and likely end up making less. By staying true:
“What a great suprise! Most companies would have been more than happy to create a separate version to milk money from iphone owners who want to play on their iPad. This game rocks! Developer A Sharp rocks! Keep it up. You have a customer for life.”
So hopefully the Universal version not only is a better product, we’re using it to tell people it’s a quality product.