Who Charges More Than $2.99 For Android/iOS Games? Crazy People.

Posted by on August 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

Charging Nintendo DS prices for Android games is absolutely ridiculous.

When I was a kid, I didn’t buy video games. I take that back: I did, but only when Christmas and birthday cash rolled around, but acquiring video games was mostly me nagging my parents to buy them in an era long before I had a job. Of course, back in 1996 new Super Nintendo titles, like the fantastic Yoshi’s Island, were still going for $69.99, which translates to about $100 in modern dollars. Can you imagine paying $100 for a video game these days that wasn’t loaded with tons of online tokens and other cheap tchotchkes? How things have changed…

Now, I’m still relatively new to mobile gaming. After the Super Nintendo, disc-based systems like the PC and the Xbox brought down the price of gaming dramatically. At one point, I even owned 85 Xbox games, they were so easy to acquire and I had so much free spending money. But expectations are different on phones. It’s not as equipped as a Nintendo handheld for gaming, which justifies the $29.99 prices there, but starting at free and working up to $.99 or more feels like a struggle. I’ve been reviewing a number of free mobile games that made money through in-game transactions that make them easier to make progress in. But games that don’t have that infrastructure are almost required to charge more to equate to the same amount of revenue. These are also userbases that rival or exceed any console platform, handheld or otherwise, ever made, and these games are available to nearly everyone who purchases one.

So who’s really charging more than $2.99 for mobile games? Traditional publishers like Electronic Arts who see mobile pricing as a concession to their sales on other platforms. Even people buying the games on PC in their “super value $9.99” format are giving them more money than the people buying the smaller versions through the Play Store. These titles don’t stand out for their excellent production values or gaming value, but rather the misplaced faith of old thinking. Now, I can’t say that $4.99 is a bad price point for a title that does truly deserve it, like an 80-hour RPG on your phone, but a company like EA or Activision is going to have to work harder for my dollar than merely being the only officially-branded FIFA or Tetris game in the store.

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