It’s over for paid apps, with a few exceptions

“Is it over for paid mobile apps? That’s the general thinking these days, as the App Stores fill up with “good enough” alternatives to paid apps, while major publishers game the charts with free offerings that make millions which can then be used for their ongoing user acquisition efforts,” Sarah Perez writes for TechCrunch. “That’s one of the reasons why the top charts of the App Store have gotten so difficult to break into for new publishers today, in fact.”

“Yes, apps overall are trending toward free, and a majority of the App Store is composed of free apps – but there are a few areas where a paid app might still work… at least, for now,” Perez writes. “Developers lament this trend, noting that most paid apps are worth less than a cup of coffee, and that’s a “hard pill to swallow,” as developer Florian Kugler recently put it in a widely circulated post on Hacker News. From a user’s standpoint, though, it’s not about whether that app is worth the money, it’s about how that money adds up over time. There are nearly a million apps to choose from now – who can afford to buy a new one every day or every few days…”

Read more in the full article here.

28 Comments

    1. What I REALLY object to is paid apps that then blast you with ads or tease you with a cheap purchase fee and then financially rape you through the in-app purchases.

      1. I play a few games that offer a lot of in App purchases. You don’t HAVE to bite to play the game. I find it more challenging and fun to play without the aid of bought pieces. Even if you do buy here and there, it is optional and it usually isn’t a lot of money. About what you’d spend on a beer or 2.

  1. I disagree. I’d prefer to pay for best of breed, support the developer to make sure I keep getting the best. People should be paid for their work and according to the quality of their work. If I wanted free crap, I’d get an Android phone and be like those people.

    I use a VNC client called iTeleport. It’s $25 while others are just $1 to $5 or free, but I love iTeleport. User interface on iPad and iPhone is much more intuitive, IMHO.

    Since I’ve been using it, it’s gone to version 6, and they’ve come out with a Mac version. Meanwhile others have become “ZombieWare” (i.e. no updates, no bug fixes, just dead software sitting in the app store – which is a different problem).

    You get so much quality software for a few dollars from the App Store. I get sick of people complaining about paying $0.99 for brilliant software.

  2. BTW… I do have an Android phone, and I actually forget I have it sometimes. It’s a really good piece of hardware (HTC ONE), but most of the software I download leaves much to be desired. Even the pay stuff is crap. Often the same software that runs under iOS is far better. It’s more reliable and easier to use.

  3. My preference in order:
    1) Paid

    2) Free (product or service supported, like TiVo/GoPro/Nest…)

    3) Free “Lite” (Pro supported)

    7) Free (ad supported)

    82) Free (In-app purchase supported)

    1. I like apps that start out free, so you can see if you even like it at all. Don’t mind the ads then, but if I decide, hey, this app is fantastic, then I have no problem forking over serious money to get a “Pro” version with more bells and whistles or an ad free version. But that trial period either makes it or breaks it for me to spend for the more expensive apps so the initial freebie is valuable. If I can’t try it at all, I’m less likely to fork out more than $5 for that uncertainty.

      My favorite method for app purchase (when possible) is to download a bunch on the same topic, try them out, see which one I like best, buy that one and delete all others. Did that with Weather apps.

  4. Free???

    There is no such thing as “free” in business – the books have to balance. All you knot heads that think you are getting something for free just can’t see the cost.

  5. There are NOT good games in the App Store. The App Store needs the great titles from Konami, Capcom, etc.
    These “rush” kind of games we have there for instance, where you control ONLY the jump are for retarded people.
    What I personally miss are more of the Arcade type of games.

    1. There are some BRILLIANT games in the App Store. Albeit they get lost among the multitude of dreck! But they are there:

      – Any of the several Angry Birds game.
      – Carmageddon 1. As functionally and evilly joyful as the original.
      – Pocket Frogs – The best kid’s game I also enjoy. Free.
      – Pizza vs Skeletons – My kind of simple, bizarro game.
      – Plants vs Zombies – Massive fave worldwide.
      – Minecraft Pocket Edition – Another massive fave.
      – Grand Theft Auto – Although I’d rather play it on a huge screen.
      – A slew of pinball games, most of which are free.
      – Bejeweled – a personal addiction for when I don’t want to think any more.
      – Contre Jour – Magical and strange.
      – Cut The Rope – Simple logic in motion. Extremely popular.
      – Dumb Ways To Die – You have to play it. No exceptions. Free.
      – Enigmo 2 – Classic on Mac. Now classic on iOS.
      – A pile of MacHeist games, all brilliant!

      And so on.

  6. Definitely a “huh”? About half the apps on my iPad are for music making, with an average price of $10 or more. A few cost $30-$50. I’ll agree that I mull over big ticket purchases more than $1-$2 apps where the price is essentially irrelevant, but if an app is well designed, excuted and works/sounds great, then it is worth the money. Especially as iPad apps are usually 10-30% of the cost of their PC equivalents and often have the exact same functionality.

  7. The “free” designation is misleading. Many apps have a “free” and “pro” version, with the “free” version really being a trial version that has limited use. Other “free” apps have significant in-app purchases (either required or optional), but officially the app is “free”. Then there are “free” ad-supported apps, some of which can have the ads removed by paying a fee.

    Sure there are some truly “free” apps, but those often stop development after reaching a certain level of functionality.

    Irregardless, iOS apps are far, far less expensive than Mac applications, which still makes the App Store a revelation in software development, distribution and updates.

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