Pangea's Greenstone: We won't be releasing free-plus-paid games

Our apps will always be in the Paid list

Pangea's Greenstone: We won't be releasing free-plus-paid games
When it comes to iPhone developers who are happy to speak their mind, there are few happier than Pangea's Brian Greenstone.

Perhaps it's not surprise then that of all the studio heads we've spoken to, he's been the least impressed by Apple's announcement concerning its free-plus-paid business model.

Pangea, it seems, will keep making traditional Paid games.

Pocket Gamer: How significant do you think the ability to charge for micro-transactions within free games is?

Brian Greenstone: I don't think this matters a huge amount for games, but for other types of apps, especially subscription-based ones, this could be huge.

Games already had Lite versions, so all this does is make it so developers can merge that Lite version into the full version.

How significant do you think the ability to submit one binary which contains a combined free and paid app is?

Not very. It's easy to build multiple versions and submit them, so all it really does is minimise the book keeping.

How significant do you think this change is in terms of stopping iPhone app piracy?

Theoretically, this could be a big deal, but piracy isn't that bad on the iPhone in the first place. Our estimates are around 5 percent. And people who pirate apps aren't likely to pay for them anyways.

How do you think this will change the Free, Paid and Top Grossing charts?

It's going to make a mess, isn't it?

We don't plan on releasing any games for free with a built-in purchase plan, so our apps will always be in the Paid list. And if other games move to the new free model then that'll move them out of our way so we can climb the charts.

Do you plan to release free micro-transaction supported games now?

No. There are too many curiosity seekers on the App Store, and when you give them a taste of your game for free that often satisfies their curiosity and they don't bother buying it.

When I polled a bunch of iPhone developers, I asked them about their experience with Lite versions. All of them said it was either a break-even or a losing venture. I know there are companies who have had success with releasing free versions of their games, but I think they are in the minority by a wide margin.

Pangea's experience with Lite versions of Enigmo and Otto Matic were neutral to disastrous, so I would never release anything else as a demo.

What do you think are the implications in terms of ad-supported free games?

I've had mixed results from ad-supported apps, so it's hard to say if this will affect it at all. I suspect it will, but probably not much.

What do you think are the implications for the average price paid for games on the App Store?

Heh, could they get any lower? It's not going to have any effect.

Luckily, game prices seem to be rising thanks to EA and the other big guys who are sticking to their guns. I wish all developers would stick to their guns and keep their prices reasonable, then we'd all be making more money.

Last spring I started raising all of Pangea's prices, and I've been sticking there. It's worked out well.

Thanks to Brian for his time.

You can follow what Pangea gets up to via its website.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.