Developers Weigh In On End of App Store “Gold Rush” Era


App Store wall of icons

Mobile users are downloading more apps than ever before, but an increasing number of them are free — are developers out of luck trying to sell their apps for even 99 cents in the age of freemium?

Tapity developer Jeremy Olson delivered a crushing blog post Wednesday
for those of us who prefer to purchase our apps without having to contend with advertising or in-app purchases. Could it be curtains for paid apps?

“I have been talking to a lot of the most successful app makers out there — who many would assume are millionaires off their top apps — and I’m hearing the same thing again and again: people just aren’t buying as many apps anymore,” Olson writes.

“By piecing together a few anecdotes I have heard, the top ten best-selling apps are selling roughly 25 percent as many copies as they did a year ago,” the developer continues. “If a number five app sold 16,000 copies a day a year ago, number five might only sell 4,000 copies a day today.”

While those are still respectable numbers, the data does paint a disturbing trend in how mobile users “purchase” their apps. Without the ability to try before you buy, users are left with little choice but to stick to free apps, then purchase upgrades in-app for those they actually like.

The folks at productivity app maker Readdle have also chimed in on the subject, and they view the problem from a different angle: Developers should focus on building products, not apps.

“The value of a product goes beyond your device,” writes Readdle’s Denys Zhadanov. “It allows you to experience things in real world. Would you want to keep your passwords? Would you want to keep your notes or documents? Would you want to get your cash back by scanning and faxing the restaurant bill? The answer is yes.”

Both blog posts are well worth a read in their entirety, but the bottom line appears to be that the “gold rush” days of the App Store have wound down, and now developers must find new ways to thrive in a market filled with casual users looking for the next Candy Crush. Here’s hoping they do…

 

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2 thoughts on “Developers Weigh In On End of App Store “Gold Rush” Era

  1. Free to play is almost certainly going to be the primary distribution for apps for the foreseeable future, there’s just too much money in it for developers to ignore. It’s unfortunate for more traditional gamers who’re quite happy to but their experiences right out but good news for the larger casual audience.

  2. The amount of ads in most free apps are usually bearable. However, for free games I’ve noticed that app developers are making their games too hard for most to complete without purchasing in game currency or items. I’d rather pay up front for games then have to discover halfway through that there is a price required to complete the game or compete online.

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