Apple is well known for having a closed and rather restrictive digital ecosystem. It’s a method that’s allowed them to have a close grip on what goes into their iOS app store and how they’re sold. One of these restrictions was the price point system, where developers could only sell their apps or games for a set price selected from a list. However, that’s set to change, at least partially, with Apple announcing in a recent developer update that they would be adding numerous new price points for developers and publishers to choose from.
In the post, Apple states “Under the updated App Store pricing system, all developers will have the ability to select from 900 price points, which is nearly 10 times the number of price points previously available for most apps. This includes 600 new price points to choose from, with an additional 100 higher price points available upon request. To provide developers around the world with even more flexibility, price points — which will start as low as $0.29 and, upon request, go up to $10,000 — will offer an enhanced selection of price points, increasing incrementally across price ranges (for example, every $0.10 up to $10; every $0.50 between $10 and $50; etc.).”
What does this mean for publishers and developers?
A major part of this change is the ease it will offer to developers and publishers. Especially for those that aren’t selling their games in dollars. Previously, for currencies like Yen that tend to work in the thousands rather than the tens or single digits for purchases, it made pricing games accurately to the actual cost quite difficult for developers. The consideration for foreign currency includes provisions for automatic pricing adjustments across non-native currencies for developers as well.
As stated on the blog post “This means, for example, a Japanese game developer who gets most of their business from Japanese customers can set their price for the Japan storefront, and have their prices outside of the country update as foreign exchange and tax rates change. All developers will also be able to define availability of in-app purchases by storefront.”
Although this will alleviate a major headache for developers and publishers on the platform, in a post-IDFA world there are still major concerns with how Apple treats those that put apps on its platforms. With the UK CMA (Competitions & Markets Authority) investigating Apple and Google for a purported duopoly in web browsing, criticism of Apple’s approach to a digital ecosystem remains prominent.