Thursday Mar 19, 2009
Like a lot of people, I’m crazy about my iPhone. So many people at SEGA have them, that when we all get invited to a meeting, there’s a flurry of calendar alert sounds from everyone’s phones. I’ve had my phone since the first day they were sold (yes, I was one of those people waiting in line outside the mall. Yes, it was worth it.) and I’ve eagerly followed the evolution of both the hardware and the software. So I was really excited to hear what would be announced at Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 event this past Tuesday.
There are over 100 new features, and although I’m happy to talk about them all, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with SEGA. Apple has made some revisions in the software development kit for applications, and opened up some new functions for applications. These changes bring some incredible opportunities for both application makers and application users.
Perhaps the biggest change to the applications is that makers can now sell content from within the app. This is great for magazine, newspaper, and e-book distributors, because now they can make one app and sell subscriptions from within the app to load new content. But it’s also great for game developers like us, because we can sell additional levels, additional weapons, and additional content from within the game. It opens up an entire world of possibilities that weren’t there before.
But you might not be as enthusiastic about this. Some people think it’s just a way for app makers to squeeze more money out of customers — to nickel and dime them to death or to charge them more money for content that should have just been there at the original price. And I can definitely see how unscrupulous app makers could attempt such a thing. I’d like to think that most app makers respect their customers more than that, and that customers would be quick to call out any app maker that excessively and unfairly charged customers.
I think this allows games to be more expandable and longer-lasting. Under the old model, you buy a game like Super Monkey Ball (for example), play it, finish it, and are done with it. You can play it again if you want, but it is what it is, and you’ve already been through it all. A lot of people won’t go back and play a game, so they end up pushing the app to a back page and ignoring it. But under this new model, game makers can keep adding interesting content, potentially making a game new and interesting (and engaging) for months or even years. If you like Super Monkey Ball enough to want more, you can get more in a seamless continuation of the original app. If not, then you don’t have to.
It will also be interesting to see if the pricing schemes for games change to be less money upfront, but more add-ins. Although this may also feel like nickel-and-diming, it may work out better for everyone. Game makers may sell more initial installs because there’s less risk due to the lower pricing. And gamers get to try a game out without throwing down too much money. If they don’t like it, it’s not a huge loss. If they do, they can pay to keep going.
Is this something you’re looking forward to, or something you’re dreading?
Posted by Kellie in General on 2:48:04PM Mar 19, 2009
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