Case Khor

The App Store economy: Take the money and run

Jon Bell of UX Launchpad wrote a little piece on his time at Real Networks a decade ago and John Gruber chimed in:

Once you’re backed into a corner like this, where your users’ happiness and satisfaction are no longer aligned with your revenue, you’ve already lost.

Which reminded me about this post by David Barnard back in January:

While the current wave of free-to-play games are doing incredibly well financially, I worry that they are undermining the long-term strength of the iOS platform.

If the apps Apple brags about and features aren’t financially viable, we will inevitably see less of those apps being built over time.

And quotes within his post, a link to a tweet from Justin Williams

The post-PC revolution won't happen without the software that the current App Store economy makes it nearly impossible to build and sustain.

From the Android camp there‘s been a tonne of criticism dished out over Apple heavy-handed control of the App Store. To the dissenters it’s not “open” enough and too restrictive.

To me, and a few others it would seem, Apple does‘t apply enough control, and the App Store is filled to the brim with crapware, to the point where I‘ve completely stopped browsing the App Store in search of new apps.

Over a 24 hour period, Flappy Bird clones made up a third of newly released iOS games. But at the end of the day that’s how the App Store gold rush works now: get in, go viral, take the money and run. (Am I just kidding myself here, has it been that way from the start?) iOS devices create an economy that targets the lowest common denominator (a more profitable one compared to that for Android devices where users drop less dollars on apps) and just like with any other mass media, the appeal of making a quick buck triumphs over crafting quality.