Shopping the App Store: The Value in 99-cent Games

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The Rise of Easy-to-Purchase Games


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With the popularity of the App Store came the popularity of 99-cent games. These were the perfect game types for users who wanted to play something on the spot without having to put forth a huge investment. At 99 cents, a game is easy for a user to purchase and if the game isn’t entertaining, the user can just as easily delete it off their device without feeling as if they’ve lost a a significant amount of money.

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Trainyard, A Game Temporarily Priced at 99 Cents, Became Very Popular Over the Last Week

 

It also helps developers sell a ton of games, case in point, Matt Rix’s Trainyard. Yes, a good part of the boom in sales for the game had to do with a Reddit post by the application’s developer. Still, the fact that he lowered the price to 99 cents made it another easy sell.

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Angry Birds, a Top-Selling App Priced at 99 Cents

Call it Impulse Buys, Call it What You Will, They Sell

It’s much easier to sell to five people at a dollar each than it is to sell to one for five dollars. Of course the developer will have to sell many more copies to break even, but chances are that the lower price will make any of their games an easy sell.

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Pocket God

 

This only becomes more obvious as games start to cost more. While many of us at iSmashPhone are avid gamers and we love the Nintendo DS and the PSP, it’s simply much easier to buy a one dollar App while on the bus or at the airport than it is to buy a regularly priced retail game for either of the two systems. Given, each has their own answer to the App Store, they just haven’t proven to be as effective in the downloadable game market.

 

For Simplicity’s Sake

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Peggle

Furthermore, there is often more value in a smaller, 99-cent game than there is in even some of the biggest releases. This is because many of those games tend to be puzzle games or other simple, to-the-point titles such as Rix’s Trainyard. They can be quickly understood by almost any player, but are near impossible to master. It’s a successful formula because while the game can be played in short, one or two minute bursts, it can just as easily be played for one or two hours. As long as the game gives you a reason to keep playing, in this case to complete the next puzzle, it can keep you going for many more sessions to come. For a dollar, you can have several hours of enjoyment.

Has Apple Popularized the Idea of Inexpensive Games?

Simple puzzle games like Tetris have always been huge sellers. Combined with a price that is theequivalent of what any kid can find between the couch cushions, it’s easy to see why these games can sell so well. Apple didn’t invent the idea, but they definitely helped to push it forward. Still, there will always be a place for various types of games. In this case, it’s also games that can appeal to those who aren’t typically fans of gaming. That’s a good thing. If games can become a more mainstream pastime, it will only improve the industry and the perception of the medium as a whole.


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