Mobile Mavens

Advantage App Store? The industry reacts to App Bundles on iOS 8

Advantage App Store? The industry reacts to App Bundles on iOS 8

The unveiling of Apple's new iPhones also coincided with the roll out of new features on the App Store designed to change the way developers sell their games, leading us to ask our experts – the Mavens - one very simple question:

Will the addition of App Bundles and changes to discovery on the App Store change the way developers do business on iOS to any great extent?

 

William D. Volk Chief Futurist Forward Reality

Apple is smart enough to realise what the "race to the bottom" in app pricing means for the platform - an oversupply of low quality games. We have seen this before - see videogames in 1983).

While I don't (and Apple surely doesn't) see that sort of crash occurring in mobile, I believe Apple actively supports and encourages the creation of high quality premium games.

One indication of this is the choices Apple makes in featuring games in the App Store. As I write this, of the 22 games in the "Best New Games" category, 9 are premium (paid) apps.

That is certainly out of proportion to the downloads, revenue (the top 19 grossing apps are Free2Play, #20 is Minecraft) and submissions counts.

Game Bundles allow publishers to establish a new tier in pricing for their back catalogue.
William D. Volk

Game Bundles allow publishers to establish a new tier in pricing for their back catalogue of premium games, ported retro titles, or even new, simple games. No longer do they have to go with "ad supported" or invest in the work needed to turn a title into a free-to-play game who's income depends on a minority of players who buy into the in-game purchases.

They can also bundle the sort of games that would be ad-supported, into bundles and charge 99¢ for that, a lower cost per title than the current minimum.

One obvious additional change in the App Store is the simplification of Apple app features. It's BEST NEW GAMES, not a bunch of "What We're Playing", "What's Hot" etc. There are additional feature lists "below the fold" indicated by icons "Gorgeous Games for iOS 8" etc. and a "Games for New Players" at the bottom of the page.

So I view these changes as Apple simply working to make the discovery simpler and provide a new 'pricing' model for publishers.

John Ozimek Co-founder Big Ideas Machine

John is co-founder of PR and marketing company Big Ideas Machine. Also an all-round nice guy...

I really like the idea of being able to bundle games - it will allow publishers with a portfolio of titles a lot of freedom to merchandise and create limited offers. It's a great way of creating a lot more freedom to experiment with pricing models too.

A bundling approach may make brand marketing more economically viable.
John Ozimek

I would love to see this as a way of revitalising back-catalogue titles that have fallen off the App Store rankings.

There is such a focus on new titles that older games that are still fantastic can be easily forgotten - hopefully a bundling strategy will create an incentive to push these games once again.

We know from experience that cross-promotion within games is one of the more effective ways of driving downloads, so perhaps bundling will have a positive impact for this reason also.

And whilst the question focuses on the App Store, it may be that a bundling approach makes brand marketing more economically viable. Any publishers already proactively using social media and community management can have a lot of fun creating fan-focused bundles and getting feedback from fans about what games they would like to see on offer.

Jared Steffes Co-founder Muxy

It could be great but it is off to a strange start.

Anyone else experience a higher price than the last app to finish the bundle?

Kevin Corti Principal Spidershed Media

I'm well up for anything that genuinely pushes the discovery envelope forward but I'm not overly excited with App Bundles. On the face of it, yes, it is another little cross-promo weapon to add to the marketing armoury so it will help a bit but only really those that have traction/users already.

I'm not saying that isn't positive but it is still about manual curation.

There's no intelligence to matching player and game. It is panicky app store platform owner thinking that smacks of a clunky throwback to Web 1.0.

It is incremental not ground-breaking and it won't work when game #A is 'Pink Pony Hair Stylist' and Game B is 'Attack of the NAZI Zombie Goats from Hell….different audience demographic and all!

I do like the new Family Sharing features though particularly how, after a "Little Jimmy would like you to pay £4.99 for Minecraft in the AppStore on your credit card" message pops up you can quickly hit the "Only if you don't tell your Mum about what you saw on my iPad's incognito browser window" button.

Now that is 'Genius'.

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

I'm not sold on the family sharing, I know it will complicate my life a bit more.

The feature of being able to allow a purchase of a child is really cool but the converse that we are no longer able to share IAP is a problem that will keep me from implementing it at home.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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Abby Anderson
First, Keith, I am also a huge Kylie Minogue fan! :-)

Second, as an app developer I have really enjoyed making the app bundles and have seen some success with them. Usually our free IAP apps get the most downloads but we are seeing more and more bundles selling. I wonder if it will change the dynamic of the app store charts, with less focus on free and more on paid bundles? Also here's to hoping that Apple eventually allows multiple publishers to make bundles together. I would love to include our Odyssey Translator apps with other travel apps to help travelers get the most bang for their buck.