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For Mac Developers, Armageddon Comes Tomorrow

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the race-to-the-bottom dept.

Businesses 429

kdawson writes "David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of an imminent price collapse for traditional Mac applications, starting tomorrow when the Mac App Store opens. The larger questions: what will Mac price plunges of 90%-95% mean for the PC software market? For the Mac's market share? Quoting: 'The Mac software market is about as old-school as you get. Developers have been creating, shipping, and selling products through traditional channels and at traditional price points for decades. ... Mac software has historically been priced on a parity with other desktop software. That means small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range. Games in the $50 range. Productivity packages and creative tools in the hundreds, and specialty software — well, the sky's the limit. Tomorrow, the sky will fall. Tomorrow, the iOS developers move in and the traditional Mac developers better stick their heads between their legs and kiss those price points goodbye.'"

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Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764632)

One of the key pieces to this argument is fallacious:

The news for the traditional developers is not good:

  • Chopper 2 — iOS price: $4.99. Mac price: $4.99.
  • Air Hockey — iOS price: $0.99. Mac price: $0.99.
  • ReMovem — iOS price: $2.99. Mac price: $2.99.
  • Compression — iOS price: $2.99. Mac price: $3.99.

These are all games and one did have a price difference between iOS and Mac, but it was a buck.

Compare that with Mac games listed on Amazon today. $38.99 $19.99 $27.54 $29.35 $54.99 $24.38. These are traditional PC prices.

As of tomorrow, games priced at $20-60 will be competing against games priced at 99 cents to $4.99. The most expensive iOS games are around ten bucks. In effect, game pricing will drop by 90-95% -- on average -- overnight.

Question: Why didn't you list out those titles that you found at $20-$55 like you did with the iPhone titles? Oh, I know, it's because they're so far from similar it would be embarrassing to reveal that the heart of your argument is on shaky ground at best.

I don't own a Mac. I don't own an iPhone. But I've seen people play games on both. From your suggestion of Amazon's bestselling Mac game titles [amazon.com] let's look at the top page without duplicates: The Sims 3, Bejeweled 3, World of Warcraft, Civilization V, Nancy Drew, and Spore. With the exception of Bejeweled (and the other Pop Cap titles), I think you are comparing apples to oranges when you say that World of Warcraft [youtube.com] is now going to have to compete with Air Hockey [youtube.com] and that Blizzard should tuck its tail between its legs and run because the $40 price point versus $1 price point means they're going to die. And in the only applicable case (Pop Cap Games), they will be the ones moving their apps to the Mac Store. So they should be afraid of themselves?

Here's how I see it: gaming on Mac has always been sort of unsupported. It's gotten a lot better recently but not all publishers see a value to it. Now, with this Mac Store, you're going to see the same publishers sell at their price point but gaming could explode on the Mac given this opportunity to transcend iOS and target OSX as well. I don't think that the applications and games that exist in the iPhone sphere are going to do much to the revenues of desktop counterparts because they're simply beefier applications. Furthermore, if they do modify those price points to compete, I'm of the opinion that the Steam Effect will take place and instead of selling 10k copies at $20 they're going to sell 100k copies at $4. The bottom line is that this software store will do little to traditional Mac sales and instead expand the subscriptions of the mobile games a bit.

Your friends are also going to have to figure out how the input on a mac with a single mouse is going to handle those times when they were sensing two or more touch points on the device screen. So even if you're right, Armageddon is not tomorrow.

Apple wins. Many of their very loyal developers will lose.

The Rapture is upon us, repent now before it is too late. Steve Jobs is a ruthless and uncaring god! Seriously man, you're blowing this up into something it's not.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764770)

At the end of the day there is still a competition. I've bought way more $5-$15 WiiShop games than I have bought $60 titles that required I buy a physical disk. You are right, it's kind of odd to compare the two, as they are about as different as different gets. However, I have quite a few games for my Wii that only cost $10 that are about 100 times better than a lot of the stuff they used to for $30 or $20 in the bargain bin at Walmart. What it really means is that developers won't be able to charge a premium for crap games as they did in the past. Sure, top rated titles will still demand a high price tag, but games that require very little development and could be done by a couple of good developers in their spare time will no longer be able to sell for $30+. Which is probably a good thing for all gamers in the end.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765136)

At the end of the day there is still a competition. I've bought way more $5-$15 WiiShop games than I have bought $60 titles that required I buy a physical disk. You are right, it's kind of odd to compare the two, as they are about as different as different gets. However, I have quite a few games for my Wii that only cost $10 that are about 100 times better than a lot of the stuff they used to for $30 or $20 in the bargain bin at Walmart. What it really means is that developers won't be able to charge a premium for crap games as they did in the past. Sure, top rated titles will still demand a high price tag, but games that require very little development and could be done by a couple of good developers in their spare time will no longer be able to sell for $30+. Which is probably a good thing for all gamers in the end.

Steam already offers this for the Mac. However, Steam also sells the beefier titles as well... sometimes for cheap. Steam also tends to have sales, including two back-to-back sales covering almost all of December.

See: Steam's Mac section [steampowered.com] .

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764818)

Without going into too much depth, your counter-argument is also flawed. World of Warcraft doesn't just cost $40, it also costs a subscription per month and works off of a completely different pricing model. I'm not saying that that invalidates your argument... just that you should mention ALL of the facts.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764910)

you should mention ALL of the relevant facts

fixed

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765116)

you should mention ALL of the implied relevant facts

fixed

Fixed

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34765094)

Far from invalidating his argument, it reinforces it. How many millions of people are going to pay a monthly subscription of £15 or whatever to play the average iOS game? It seems to me the traditional desktop game has the ability to offer greater depth and therefore take advantage of this lucrative pricing model (why develop and sell two A list titles a year when you can develop one, make the money of ten and just keep rehashing expansions for five years?), while the average iOS game is fun for half an hour and is then either finished or repetitive. Ignoring that, his basic point is nonetheless valid, take any A-list desktop game and compare it to what's offered on iOS and you'll see the two are hardly comparable. That's not to say the iOS games can't compete on fun or you won't get the rare gem, but really you're comparing watching lolcats on Youtube to watching a blockbuster on IMAX - plenty of people watch lolcats because it's free, charge £7 a viewing like the average cinema and see how many people enjoy lolcats, conversely we still have blockbuster movies and bums on cinema seats even with all the free competition out there.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34765114)

Without going into too much depth, your counter-argument is also flawed. World of Warcraft doesn't just cost $40, it also costs a subscription per month and works off of a completely different pricing model. I'm not saying that that invalidates your argument... just that you should mention ALL of the facts.

Well, those facts aren't really relevant to his point. The article is trying to claim that titles such as WoW and developers like Blizzard are going to have to lower their prices to compete against some overblown flash games which are going to start selling for a few bucks less than they were a week ago.
So even if we completely ignore the subscription fee, and only look at the initial price of an off-the-shelf box of WoW, Blizzard is NOT going to drop it in response.

The article is trying to claim that AAA grade titles are going to have to drop their price point at the risk of being outsold by a C grade game, which is plain and simple a pile of pig shit no matter how you look at it.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764834)

You hit the nail on the head, and it's not just gaming that the article is wrong about - I've been using Macs for a good few years, and I can categorically say that the assertion that "small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range" is bullshit.

Looking along my dock for non-bundled applications, I see Cyberduck (FTP), Skype, Firefox, NeoOffice (Mac-native port of OpenOffice), Adobe CS4, VirtualBox, SketchUp, Aperture, Steam, and Mathematica. Anything in that list that could remotely come under the heading of "small product" or "utility" was free. The games on steam cost exactly the same on either OS, although I do have a Windows partition for those that are unsupported on OSX. The only non-gaming applications that actually cost anything are the "big ticket" items - the Adobe suite, Aperture and Mathematica - and those of us who actually need to pay for them seem to be in the minority anyway, so I don't think any of those have anything to fear from $5 apps encroaching on their market.

This theoretical market for minor applications, sold independently for $20+, simply does not exist in my experience. Sure, there's the odd thing out there, just like there is for Windows, but as you said, if anything they'll benefit from increased exposure.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764844)

Isnt steam already available on macs?

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764870)

It's rather like the growth of Steam on the PC. It didn't kill big-price retail titles, but it did make it a lot easier for people to sell little titles like Popcap's games.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764968)

Can someone with knowledge of the system confirm what these OSX App Store products will be capable of? Are we talking a similar SDK to the iOS one or could you write a full blown desktop app without any restrictions?

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34765044)

Mac App Store will sell regular Mac OS X apps. There is no special SDK for the store apps.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765154)

They are (or can be) full blown OS X Cocoa apps, but there are some restrictions on what's allowed -- eg, no PPC code running under rosetta, no Java, and some system utility type apps are banned.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765062)

>>>Why didn't you list out those titles that you found at $20-$55 like you did with the iPhone titles?

Because that wasn't his point. If you read the NEXT paragraph (which I suspect you did not), he says the titles from "traditional" developers will continue to be 30-60 dollars but they will need to compete against those 1-5 dollar games, programs, et cetera from iOS competitors. Therefore the expensive titles will be largely skipped-over by customers looking for a bargain.

Basically it's the "invisible hand" in action, driving down prices.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (2)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765130)

If this were Microsoft, or Google, or just about any other company in the world, nobody would be making claims that $SERVICE_LAUNCH is going to change the economics of the entire software industry. It's because it's Apple, and these days people seem to work from the paradigm that Apple is the epicentre of technology - whether we're talking about devices, software, or services.

Re:Apples to Oranges Plus Fear Mongering (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765192)

Is there something about writing about videogames that makes logic fall out of people's heads? Seems like every month I see an article on the theme of "Oh god, cheap/crappy/casual/wii/motion controlled/sex video games are going to be THE ONLY VIDEO GAMES YOU'LL BE ABLE TO BUY AND IT WILL DESTROY GAMING!!!!" At least this one had an actual mechanism for how that would happen. Typically it's just along the lines of "Since the Wii came out, motion controlled games have increased 30000%. These trends WILL CONTINUE FOREVER! Say goodbye to food and water, because motion controlled games are taking over!"

Oranges and...well...Apples (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764638)

Comparing some $2 iPhone/iPad game and a full-blown Mac game like The Sims 3 or World or Warcraft, as if there is parity just because they're both "games," is fucking retarded. These are "apps" not "applications."

Some young hotshit programmer designing a great little mini-game isn't going to drive down the price of Call of Duty 4, for Christ's sake.

Some start-up's simple photo editor isn't going to drive down the price of Photoshop (anymore than GIMP or any of a hundred other free photo editors did on the PC).

Serious development still costs money. And the more complex your application, the more you generally have to charge for it. What sells on the iPhone/iPad for a few bucks will probably sell for a few bucks on the Mac too. But no one is going to look at these little apps as replacements for more serious software (the kind that costs $20+). Apple isn't going to look at some iVideoEdit app and say "Well, we'd better lower the price of Final Cut Pro down to $5."

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764702)

On the one hand, the cheap mini-apps could drive down demand for "the real thing". On the other hand, the crowd interested in the mini-apps probably would never buy "the real thing" anyways.

Photoshop is an apt example. That bugger is expensive. Most people will never even see it unless they pirated it.

Gaming on PCs is a little dire and it's made worse on the Mac by the fact that you can't upgrade your GPU. Mac gaming has that "platform fragmentation" that everyone likes to rag on Android for.

A good number of Mac users are only capable of running the "cheap little games".

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (3, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764984)

Photoshop is targeted quite squarely at the professional, and therefore it really isn't an 'apt' example as you say. I imagine there are many of people out there who use a pirated version at home. I also imagine adobe doesn't lose too much sleep over them. If photoshop was uncrackable, how many of those users would buy a legit license? None of them! They'd all resort to buying adobe elements, using the software bundled with their digital cameras, or resort to free alternatives such as paint.NET or gimp.

Photoshop with it's £550 price tag is a professional product, aimed at the professional user - a user whom it's assumed will be audited at the end of the year, and therefore can't avoid paying for the product. The app-store will do nothing to change that, and certainly will not harm photoshop sales in the slightest....

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765070)

the professional user - a user whom it's assumed will be audited at the end of the year, and therefore can't avoid paying for the product

I've known a few freelancers who didn't buy the full product for fear of an audit - they bought the full product because they didn't want to feel like a smalltime crook every time they turned on their workstation to do some design work for a client. It's a state of mind thing: if my skills and professionalism are solid enough to land me a 5-figure design gig, I'm going to do that work using professional equipment, none of which is stolen.

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765046)

The problem with photoshop is that its seen as "the thing to have", and is therefore used (usually pirated) by many people who simply have no need for its features and could do what they need with many of the alternatives, most of which are free or very cheap.

I know someone who use photoshop for resizing and cropping pictures, yes literally just resizing pictures, nothing fancy whatsoever... He won't even consider using any of the many free programs that would do the job, and his reason was "they're not professional", so instead he uses a pirated photoshop.

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764710)

Indeed. Go look at Steam where PC games at price points between $3 and $70 happily co-exist. Even the cheapest "serious" titles are $15-$20 and I expect the same to happen here. Yes, there are small indie games sold at cheap price points and you get what you pay for.

The only situation where I could see a case for change is with small utilities - PC/Mac utility software is usually sold at between $10-$50 with $20 being often quoted. This may erode for smaller utilities but again, I expect the price to reflect the complexity and usefulness of the software.

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764724)

...and BTW. There are cheap cut-rate EA games for the iThing available in the Apple Store.

So, the same thing could crop up for the Mac.

Although it would mainly be replacing the robust secondary games market that Windows has but Macs don't.

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764738)

But wait, I can play dumb flash games over the web for free. Clearly Call Of Duty 4 should now be free too!

The real question is how do people manage to charge $0.99 for an iPhone game when they are much closer to the free flash games available on the web or even the free games available on the iPhone.

Once Flash is no longer in your cache (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764780)

But wait, I can play dumb flash games over the web for free.

Not on your MacBook on the bus/train/carpool unless you pay $60/mo for mobile broadband. Locally installed applications are more often designed to work offline. Does Adobe Flash Player even support anything like HTML5's CACHE MANIFEST [whatwg.org] ?

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (1, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764860)

But wait, I can play dumb flash games over the web for free. Clearly Call Of Duty 4 should now be free too!

The real question is how do people manage to charge $0.99 for an iPhone game when they are much closer to the free flash games available on the web or even the free games available on the iPhone.

Because theres no Flash on the iPhone?

Photoshop Elements (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764748)

Some start-up's simple photo editor isn't going to drive down the price of Photoshop (anymore than GIMP or any of a hundred other free photo editors did on the PC).

Without NeoPaint, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, and other second-string image editors, Adobe likely wouldn't have made Photoshop Elements. Likewise, startups trying to compete with Final Cut Pro (to take your example) may encourage Apple to add features to iMovie.

Re:Drive down the price (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764774)

Free Call of Duty 4 when you buy Angry Birds!

Re:Oranges and...well...Apples (1)

dvdx (1535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764972)

This is bullshit.

The same was going around a few years ago when web-based `applications' were emerging and started competing with desktop applications. Back then some naysayers claimed they well apps will never reach the same level of functionality and use comfort as desktop apps.

What has happened is Zoho, ThinkFree competing successfully with Google, Microsoft, and their apps becoming pretty much the right stuff. Zynga bringing in 600mln revenue in 2010 from *Farmville*. DuckDuckGo having 820.000 daily pageviews and returning results more relevant than Google -- all that being one guy startup.

Apples can, and should, be compared to oranges, when we're talking about startups going against incumbents and innovating.

Watch the small, dynamic developers and their apps growing and eating into marketshare of incumbents.

Optional (5, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764644)

You don't have to use the App Store to sell software.

I don't imagine for one minute that large professional applications will ever be sold this way for the time being.

Competition (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764706)

You don't have to use the App Store to sell software.

But if you don't, your would-have-been customers will likely buy your competitor's close substitute from the App Store instead of your software from your web site.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764778)

There won't be a close substitute for, say, WoW or MsOffice at the App Store.

Re:Competition (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765026)

I don't know about WoW but Apple are putting their iWork suite up there day 1.

Re:Competition (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765028)

Why not? In fact I won't be surprised to see WOW and/or MS Office themselves available on the Mac App Store. Why not? If it's like the iOS App Store, or Fairplay Songs, it'll have reasonably good DRM, and wide distribution at a 30% markup. Compared with the retail channel, that means the developers will take much more of the retail price. Are you aware just how little of the retail price a developer normally gets?

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34765196)

Why not? In fact I won't be surprised to see WOW and/or MS Office themselves available on the Mac App Store. Why not?

what he said was

close substitute

Re:Competition (1)

varcher (156670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765048)

Put NeoOffice on the App Store, and see how close a substitute it is.

How long will it be optional, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764722)

Apple doesn't have a good track record of providing open systems. As a vendor, will you always be allowed (yes, allowed!) by Apple to sell software through other channels? As a user, will you always be allowed (yes, allowed!) by Apple to install software from some other channel?

GNUstep, here we come (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764822)

As a vendor, will you always be allowed (yes, allowed!) by Apple to sell software through other channels?

That'd alienate a lot of smaller developers. It might even promote more contributions by businesses to GNUstep, a free clone of Cocoa on GNU/Linux, *BSD, and Windows.

As a user, will you always be allowed (yes, allowed!) by Apple to install software from some other channel?

If future Mac OS X were to refuse to run applications that were designed for 10.6 (Snow Leopard) before the App Store came to be, this would hurt businesses that depend on such applications.

GNUstep is a lost cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764906)

GNUstep has had many, many years to make something of itself, but it clearly hasn't been able to do so. The only reason it's not a long-forgotten dead project is because of Cocoa.

Part of the problem is that they've gone out of their way to keep the UI totally unlike anything else used on Linux or Windows. While the OpenStep appearance has its place and its benefits, the GNUstep developers' attitude and resistance has totally prevented it from being adopted.

Re:How long will it be optional, though? (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764998)

Considering Apple has explicitly stated that they have zero plans to force people to use the app store, perhaps the better question would be why you consider it even remotely likely that they will?

You're right, Apple doesn't have a good track record of providing "open" products, but Apple also doesn't have a track record of *ratcheting down restrictions on what you can do with your device after you've purchased it.*

Please cite examples of where Apple has "taken away" the ability to do something with a product after it was released that would lead you to conclude that this is not only possible, but likely?

Re:How long will it be optional, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34765072)

Keep in mind that Apple is a company that dictated what programming languages developers could use to develop software for one of its platforms. Do you realize how absurd that is? Do you realize how absolutely wrong it is?

Even Microsoft never stooped to that level. Hell, Microsoft's .NET goes a long way towards making it easy to use a diverse range of programming languages within a single application.

I lost all trust in Apple when they put that restriction into play. That was a game-changer for me. I recycled all of my Apple hardware at that point, and I've since moved back to using Windows and Linux on a real PC.

Re:How long will it be optional, though? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765102)

Apple doesn't have a good track record of providing open systems.

What precisely do you mean by open systems in this context? If you mean ability to install/run any executable you want, they have a track record of more than 25 years of that on Mac systems. That's certainly a good track record.

They don't allow it on phones because malware is a far bigger threat on phones than on PCs.

Now think! If Apple created a version of OSX where you could no longer install software that wasn't available from the App Store, then most of their customers would not upgrade to it, because their existing off the shelf apps would no longer be installable. It'd have an adoption rate even lower than Vista. So why the fuck would Apple do it?

Apple think things through better than you do.

Re:Optional (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764824)

Steam... anyone?

Re:Optional (1)

Dysproxia (584031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764828)

I don't imagine for one minute that large professional applications will ever be sold this way for the time being.

Never say never, for the time being.

Re:Optional (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764900)

Ever! ... For the time being.

Re:Optional (1)

iniquitous (122242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764992)

You don't have to use the App Store to sell software.

True, but isn't it obvious were the Mac App Store will lead? Why would the average Mac user ever want to buy software from any other source when the App Store is immediate and convenient? Why trust n-many other payment systems, continually handing out credit card numbers on various websites, etc when they can just trust Apple, which they already know and are comfortable with? Why bother with finding download links on different websites and other installation processes when they can just perform the familiar one-click "Install"? And won't it go without saying that apps on the Mac App Store are naturally more trustworthy than apps in the wild?

Mac developers should get ready to immediately suffer profit loss and vaguely defined restrictions in order to get their applications in the App Store, where they must be in order to survive.

Re:Optional (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765004)

Yet.

Re:Optional (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765178)

Inconceivable! There's no way one could sell an app before the App Store. Thus, this app store opening is a huge thing. Huge!

Price points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764700)

Goddamn! Every time I hear someone utter "price point" I want to stab them in the face. Just say "price."

Re:Price points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764720)

I AGREE!!

Re:Price points? (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764790)

Price point refers to MSRP, manufacturer's suggested retail price. It's a suggestion and retailers do not need to adhere to that guideline. For example there are those tall cans of Arizona tea which have 99 printed right on the can but some places will sell it for higher prices. Price is what is determined by the retailer which will return an acceptable profit for a product.

...are non-smooth parts of the demand curve (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764856)

Goddamn! Every time I hear someone utter "price point" I want to stab them in the face. Just say "price."

The Wikipedia article about price points [wikipedia.org] states that "price point" refers to the sharp change in quantity demanded at specific prices. These changes appear as "points" on the demand curve.

Re:...are non-smooth parts of the demand curve (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765162)

True, but it seems to me that it's overused, as I often read 'price point' when the distinction isn't relevant. I always suspect the author of just wanting to sound fancier without knowing what the difference is.

What similarly drives me nuts is the use of 'mark,' as in "At the <bla> <dollar/second/mile> mark." Mostly just sentence stuffing; the opposite of good writing. Certainly the opposite of pleasant reading.

Re:Price points? (4, Funny)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765168)

Price points are not the same as prices. Prices are every numerical price from 0.01c to the most expensive thing you can imagine. Price points are attractive numbers that products tend to retail at. 95c, 99c, $1.95, $1.99, $2.95, $2.99 etc.

App store VS repository (0)

maroonhat (845773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764736)

Wow, it just occurred to me that after this, as far as a user is concerned the app store might as well be a software repository... If anything apple will allow to be tinkered with is available, and installs with a click or two... I'm not sure if i think this is good or bad. 1) Apple controls what gets in the repository 2) Macs ship setup to get software from it... ... 4) Profit!

Awful (5, Interesting)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764742)

What a terrible article. Does he interview any actual developers? Does he talk to software resellers? Does he talk to iPhone developers considering the move to the app store? Does he have any statistics at all? No, he did his research by looking at Amazon and MacConnection. He came up with a whole bunch of scary sounding analogies, though - I guess that should drive traffic to his site.

I think that, in the short term, the App store is going to compete with the traditional shareware market, which has always been pretty active in the Macintosh community. The solution for those developers is simple: make their products available on the app store. It will probably help them in the long run.

Gaming = Representative of all Apps? (1)

FatalChaos (911012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764744)

Other people have already begun pointing out the problems of comparing iOS games like Air Hockey with full blown, more "traditional" games like WoW. Here's my question though: How the hell does this translate over to other apps, ie: the ones people normally use. The articles only real mention of productive apps is photoshop, which he says "Sure, Photoshop might still be expensive. But how many under-$5 photo editing programs are their for the iPad? Answer: too many to count." But hey, there's GIMP for Mac OS too, and as far as I can tell Photoshop for Mac has been pretty successful despite the fact that GIMP is free. Office for Mac and other office suites? Neooffice is free, and so is Google Docs, MS Office Online, Zotero, etc. In the end, I highly doubt I bunch of apps meant for smartphones and iPads are going to compete with the traditional stalwarts.

If it means less bloat, then YAY! (4, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764756)

I've noticed something wonderful about the whole "app" phenomenon, something I haven't seen in a decade of working in IT.

Lightweight apps. Apps that get right to the point, and don't require lots of time to install and configure. After spending an hour installing Adobe's Master Collection and another half hour patching it, I say the desktop app revolution can't come soon enough.

Yes, I realize that "fat apps" will not be replaced anytime soon by "thin apps", but it could force people to really decide if the fat app is worth the headache and expense.

Finally, I understand the financial needs of developers - but the app store should allow devs to get more eyeballs on their product, and make distribution of their product easier. Sure the margins may be smaller, but the volume will probably make up for it.

-ted

Re:If it means less bloat, then YAY! (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764948)

I've noticed something wonderful about the whole "app" phenomenon, something I haven't seen in a decade of working in IT.

Lightweight apps.

I couldn't agree with this more -- small, simple apps that do one thing. Do it exceedingly well, and do it quickly is a huge thing. I've got more apps installed on my iPad than I typically do on my Windows machines -- largely because they're small, and I've only been downloading the free ones so there's no real cost to test drive something to see if it might be fun/useful/cool.

Yes, I realize that "fat apps" will not be replaced anytime soon by "thin apps", but it could force people to really decide if the fat app is worth the headache and expense.

And, the small apps aren't really a substitute for the fat apps. For me, gaming left me behind years ago. I have neither the patience, nor the manual dexterity to operate a modern game which needs 15+ buttons and all of that. However, on my iPad,I have a fairly large amount of small, easy (and largely goofy) games that keep my attention. I play them for a little bit and put them down. I'm not investing hundreds of hours in them (OK, Pocket Frogs so far might be up into that range), I'm not doing a level grind, and if I stop playing it or give up on it -- I'm not really out anything.

If instead of needing bleeding-edge hardware, gobs of diskspace, and way too much investment of time and money we are going to get stripped down apps, which focus on simple play/actions/whatever, and getting by with much more basic interfaces ... well, like you, I'm all for it.

There is always going to be special purpose software, which has big requirements and you simply can't do without. However, there's definitely a parallel (or lower-end) market for these kinds of things.

Re:If it means less bloat, then YAY! (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764982)

Thing is, you have seen those apps - but they were called Shareware. Everyone was saying there was real trouble selling them. But now they're called Free and Premium Apps and suddenly they're hotcakes.

I am starting to think it's the Mall sales experience of the App Stores (plural) making a difference.

Re:If it means less bloat, then YAY! (0)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765090)

Well, these limitations are imposed by the simple nature of mobile phone OS's. You could say the same of any firmware-based software. Its simple and gets right to the point. There is not enough excess memory, processing power, or diplay to do anything more.

On a dual core OSX machine, the sky is the limit. Users will demand features, bloaty crap, eyecandy, etc and developers will deliver to be competitive. The market is dictated by the wants of the lowest common denominator users. Yes, there will be fart apps for OSX, but they will probably show animated assess delivering farts instead of just making the sound. There is no revolution here. In fact there is a regression here as now we have a monopoly store as opposed to all sorts of vendors fighting it out using all sorts of sales channels. Apple, Inc now dictates prices, margins, selections, censorship, etc.

Re:If it means less bloat, then YAY! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765118)

This has been the case for quite some time already...

Compare something like the official AIM or Yahoo clients vs Pidgin or Adium...
The latter gets straight to the point, and provides useful functions like being able to connect to multiple networks from a single client... The former clients are usually plastered with ads, and tend to be much bigger than the third party clients.

The only thing Apple brings to the table, is recognition for some of the smaller lightweight apps.

What about steam and impulse? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764768)

The author must have worked very hard to avoid examining the history of steam and impulse on the PC, where a wide range of prices happily coexist.
Either that or hes one of those "I've never used a PC" people.

Re:What about steam and impulse? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764846)

Or even Steam on the Mac, come to that.

Re:What about steam and impulse? (2)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764852)

Steam works on Mac now, with a fair number of games available. But he probably didn't think to look there when writing this crappy article.

Might this balance out? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764796)

I wonder if this might not balance out somewhat -- before you had to make physical boxed copies, and put it into as many stores as possible. People had to go out looking for it (or order it) and all that.

The App Store seems to provide you with a larger possible base, lower distribution costs as you don't need to make the physical boxes, and a ready distribution model.

Not saying this will help all software, but the App Store seems to give you a better chance at Economies of Scale than before. Hell, I see software on the App Store for iPads that runs $49.99 or $99.99, possibly even more. Specialty software will always run you a fair bit, but for some software shops, they could have a far larger market using this.

Good! Apps from Adobe (example) are... (2)

Oflife (1636567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764798)

...massively overpriced, which is why there exists such a huge community of pirates. How many of you have spent some time on Pirate Bay seeking torrents for CS5 because whilst you're honest, there is no way you can afford $$$$.$$ for your tools? Hmmm? This will force greedy publishers to produce better more reliable software - just as the iOS and Android developers have done. This is not Armageddon, it is the way forward. @oflife

Re:Good! Apps from Adobe (example) are... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764884)

"This is not Armageddon, it is the way forward."

According to the Bible, the two are not mutually exclusive. :)

Re:Good! Apps from Adobe (example) are... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764918)

adobe sells a lite version of photoshop called elements for $80. people just want the real thing to play around with

Re:Good! Apps from Adobe (example) are... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765066)

How many of you have spent some time on Pirate Bay seeking torrents for CS5 because whilst you're honest, there is no way you can afford $$$$.$$ for your tools?

And how many of you who have gone out of your way to download CS5 really need it? I'm betting most people who think they "need" this are just downloading it because they want it -- you could probably use Inkscape or GIMP for most everything you do. If you're a business, buy the damned thing and write it off on your taxes ... if you're playing with it because you think it's fun or cool, well, that doesn't mean you're entitled to it.

This will force greedy publishers to produce better more reliable software

This isn't about "greedy publishers". Special purpose software used for very heavy lifting is expensive to develop, and has a relatively small legitimate market, so the cost is going to be higher because there's fewer people likely to ever be buying it. Things which take years of development and millions of dollars to produce aren't cheap or free because you want them to be.

Small, lightweight software which does one or two things well and in a small footprint is an entirely different animal. However, what people are discovering, is they didn't really need to have the big honking general purpose software for many things.

This is the way forward, but not because it's going to make specialized software like CS5 cheap -- but because it's going to make small, useful utilities cheap and available.

Re:Good! Apps from Adobe (example) are... (2)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765108)

Adobe knows damn well that something like 85% of their users are pirates. But the 15% that aren't are mostly corporate users who are part of volume license agreements and therefore won't be using the app store anyway. It works out well for Adobe: amateurs pirate the software, learn to use the app well enough to produce professional work, and end up paying retail when they start making money from it. The piracy essentially locks any significant competition out of the marketplace.

I see howvit is.. (1)

n_djinn (1883738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764810)

a sky is falling story, really?

Not a good comparison (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764820)

Although I have no experience with Mac development, how can you possibly compare a desktop game to a game written for an iPhone? It's like comparing a game written in flash to World of Warcraft. I'm not saying the flash game isn't good, but it's not going to replace desktop gaming anytime soon. The article assumes that one game is interchangeable with another. Devs just need to keep putting out quality products at reasonable prices and they should be fine.

things to come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764848)

If this app store works out for the desktop it may well do 2 things:

- fundamentally make b&m stores even more irrelevant for software
- increase software competition. The small developers will have a more level playing field re distribution.

Watch this carefully...if it works and is a game changer MS may well be forced into following suit and providing a forum for competition against their own very high cost products.

Disruptive technologies are pretty cool, especially if they are implemented correctly. Apple seems to get these sort of right more so than others. As much as I'm a hater Apple has to be given kudos for actually pushing the envelope.

Why? (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764854)

I can see the small utility app market having a market correction, since a lot of those are fairly overpriced on the Mac platform compared to their counterparts on other platforms, but aside from those and possibly games of the same class as a smartphone game I wouldn't expect much change. Steam's been out for years and has millions of satisfied users, yet all the titles on it have regular prices within $10 of, if not matching, retail. They tend to go on sale more often and with deeper discounts, but that's in my opinion more related to the significantly reduced overhead of online versus retail allowing for much greater dips while maintaining the same profit margin.

Basically anything that is significantly impacted price-wise by the App Store was likely overpriced to begin with.

Full versions on the computer vs. mini versions (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764866)

Most applications designed for smartphones(iOS, Android, WebOS, etc...) are fairly small applications that do not have a lot of complexity compared to applications designed for a computer. This means that except for the casual games you find from Popcap or Shockwave, there isn't a direct apples to apples comparison. The Sims 3 for a mobile device or even a console will tend to be a lower end or cut rate version of what is available for a normal computer.

So, there will be price cuts for the casual games, which currently sell for $20 or so, but for anything else, you still have the issue where you won't see the price of ANYTHING drop unless it is very low end.

iFart and iVomit on the Mac? (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764868)

My wife will be thrilled...

Armageddon? (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764876)

Armageddon tired of these apocalyptic prophesies. Price is the intersection of supply and demand, nothing more, nothing less. If you think you can't sell your app unless it's at a $1 price point, then you're admitting that it offers only a trivial benefit to your users or that it's a piece of crap. Either improve it to where it's worth what you'd like to make, or drop out of the competition.

Article doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764878)

But somehow I find it compelling and cool anyway

95% off of Zero is still zero (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764888)

All the apps I've built for the Mac platform have been free:

http://quadesl.com/macApps.html

They are not amazing, but losing 95% of my revenue of zero dollars won't keep me up at night...

Sheldon

Total FUD (4, Interesting)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764890)

For decades the Mac has had a viable shareware scene where you download apps and, if desired, pay a modest fee to upgrade to a full or non-crippled version. I don't see how anyone could possibly argue that a Mac App Store will be the end of the world unless they're a clueless analyst who thinks the only programs people run on Macs are Photoshop and Office.

In other news... (3, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764916)

Apple's iWork suite (Pages, KeyNote and Numbers) is rumored to be [macrumors.com] coming out at $20 per application, c.f. the current version at $80 for the bundle. That's a significant price drop but hardly a collapse (and could be self-compensating if it leads to more sales) - and Apple are probably in a position to price that as a loss leader to promote the store.

Something like Plants vs. Zombies (excellent casual game) is $3 on the iPhone, $7 on the iPad vs. (currently) $20 for the mac, which is a bit more of a price drop (I think the Mac version has a few extras, but there's an awful lot in the iPad version). Note that there's already a precident for charging more for iPad versions, so there's no expectation that Mac versions will match the iOS price. PvZ for Mac has already been on offer on Steam for less, at times.

Then there's things like CoPilot and TomTom at (UK) price points like £19.99, £39.99, £59.99 for iPhone - Probably not good candidates for a Mac version, but they give the lie to the idea that everything on the iOS app store costs $0.99. (Apologies for the currency mixing - but this is Apple so $1 and £1 aren't a lot different...)

End of Mac Developers? (1)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764926)

i have to say, this will be the most interesting thing to watch and i'm dying to know the outcome. i don't think many people realize the gravity of this situation.

usually, the idea of an app store on Mac/PC's is the worst idea ever. as with digital distribution, u don't see prices automatically decline over time. example, take bf:bc 2. it's now selling for like $10. u won't see that. it'll stay at 60, maybe now it would be $40-50 (8 mo. later), and they would do a special for a week (that most likely u'll miss) for like $20.

BUT...

in this case, there are so many apps that have competition, and the trend of the app store that if it's over $4, no one wants it (or for big apps, over $10 and no one wants it), it will keep prices beneficial for the consumer. also, i think the idea of a software repo that actually works (sorry Linux, apt and yum will always have dependency problems and there will always be a few pieces that won't be in the repo and you can't get because it won't work compiling from scratch), is brilliant.

That's one big thing. Now here is the other big thing. I'm curious to see what actully happens. Unless it's for promotional sake, or promo'ing the brand (like say netflix, just getting it on as many platforms as u can), or someone huge (like adobe), every developer that has made a complex and useful program will just pack up and leave. There will be a mass exodus to windows. MS was considering an app store. They might see developers flood to windows for that reason. And since MS's strategy is to support devs, it will actually can the idea of an app store. Yes, they may not make money on them, but it strengthens window's hold because no one wants to develop for Mac.

Yes, there will be tons of developers. But for once, I feel bad for the prices they charge. How do you make a living selling a DTP app that you spent years making for $2? You can't run a business like that. The only ones left will be small one-man shops. Because certainly no business can run on those kind of revenues. And the problem will be just that. You won't see a full featured complex app because the only ones able to make it are businesses and they all left because they couldn't make money.

I really am dying to see what happens.

Re:End of Mac Developers? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765124)

and the trend of the app store that if it's over $4, no one wants it (or for big apps, over $10 and no one wants it)

I think you are confusing "no one buys" with "sells less copies than Angry Birds at £0.99".

On the UK iOS store, #2 on the "top grossing" list is TomTom, at £39. The "Top 200" grossing list includes titles at £5, £7, £9, £18, £37.

There aren't that many "serious" apps on the iOS store because (a) who would want (say) a full-blown DTP suite on an iPhone and (b) the iPad, which is suitable for slightly more heavyweight apps, hasn't been around for a year yet. I'd expect the Mac store to accumulate rather more upmarket Apps - if its full of cheap crap which will run just as well on an iPod its not going to be a success in the long term.

Re:End of Mac Developers? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765172)

Steam is currently selling BF:BC2 for £19.99; when it was released back in May it was £39.99, so while it's going for £12.99 on Amazon & Play, it's still halved in price on Steam since its release (and it was available for under a tenner during the Christmas sales).

I guess it's a trade-off; on the one hand, you get slightly higher prices on new-ish games unless you're willing to wait for special offers (though to be fair Steam usually do pre-order discounts on new titles), but to counter that you get cheap access to older games that simply wouldn't be sold in traditional stores because it's not profitable to keep copies lying unsold around just in case someone wants it.

That said, one of the most useful "features" Steam have added of late is automatic notification if any of the games on your wishlist are on sale - it makes it much harder to miss special offers on things you want.

Unless they restrict mac app sales... (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764930)

...to the mac store, it's not going to matter. Once they do that I'll personally have 1 more reason never to buy another Apple product.

iPad and iPhone and iPod apps are cheap because they are small and lame, not because they're sold on the app store. If anything they'd be cheaper if sold in a less restricted market place.

Re:Unless they restrict mac app sales... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765084)

If anything they'd be cheaper if sold in a less restricted market place.

So, where is that marketplace? The flea market? If you go to a Bricks-and-Mortar establishment, or to Amazon they will promote some goods over others and refuse to carry some goods. The app store permits competition and that's why it's been a race to the bottom of the profit margin barrel. The only thing between you and the app you want is the rafts of crap.

Make it up on volume (1)

SHP (8391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764958)

Seriously, the lower price points will allow many more people to purchase many more titles. It could be a definite shift in the market, but the impact will be similar to the impact of $0.99 song downloads, which obviously killed the music industry.

Price vs volume (1, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764974)

Software is simply overpriced, vendors have been getting away with charging ridiculous amounts for years because they're greedy. Software sales are 99% profit, which is why developers on iOS can sell their apps for $5 (with a big cut going to apple) and still make a profit.

With lower prices comes higher volume and reduced piracy.

Software really is a penny bazaar product, sold dirt cheap or given away despite proprietary vendors trying to artificially inflate prices so they can get away with 99% profit margins.

It's the natural end result, for years hardware has been getting cheaper and cheaper and its now down to a point where the profit margins are extremely small but there is a limit with hardware and other physical products, software on the other hand has a much lower price limit as proven by the huge amounts of free software available.

From Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34764976)

On the other hand, for many of us it is difficult to shop for Mac software, yes you can buy online a bunch but it is not always safe to input your credit card digits all over the net. To me it will facilitate to buy software -which could be bad for my finances but good for developers- with confidence and much less troubles. my 2 cents

Really? (1)

macshome (818789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34764986)

People must be thrilled that Adobe will drop the price of Photoshop to $0.99 tomorrow!

The prices will only spiral down if the developers do it. Notice that they have not made the same mistake on the iPad. There we haven't seen the same race to the bottom like on the iPhone/iPod apps.

No way adobe photoshop will be in this with out so (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765002)

No way adobe photoshop will be in this with out some big changes.

No way adobe will yet buy photoshop 1 time and run it on 5 systems.

No way adobe will give 30% of the price of photoshop + $99 year to apple just to be in the store.

Also the app store may not like phototshop plug in system.

Re:No way adobe photoshop will be in this with out (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765096)

I could see Adobe selling a light edition through the store, though...

Say good buy to user maps , mods , and more on app (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765020)

Say good buy to user maps , mods , and more on app store games.

Re:Say good buy to user maps , mods , and more on (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765174)

User maps are often times free, and thus a very "Good buy" as you say. Perhaps you mean to say "Goodbye"?

Cheap games (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765050)

As of tomorrow, games priced at $20-60 will be competing against games priced at 99 cents to $4.99. The most expensive iOS games are around ten bucks. In effect, game pricing will drop by 90-95% — on average — overnight.

HOORAY! Now when do I have time to actually play any of these games?

Free software? Steam? (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765054)

Has the plethora of free software available already for the mac ruined the market for paid for utilities and professional apps? Has Steam, which is probably the closest thing to the app store you can get for PC games and where you can get plenty of indie games for a couple of dollars each, ruined the game market for big professional developers?

No.

Don't get your panties in a wad ... (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34765148)

Wow there are a lot of explosive emotional comments on this - WAY more than typical Apple posts on Slashdot. Lets review the posting, shall we?

"David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of ..."

I think that's all we need. You can see where the problem is.

It's an opinion article, not journalism. Simmer down folks. And quit clicking on links to blogs. You're embarrassing yourselves.

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