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You know things are getting bad when the company that runs an app store believes that the majority of free-to-play titles flooding into the store are bad for business. Well, that's according to Stoic Games, the developers behind the highly acclaimed role-playing game The Banner Saga.
GamesIndustry.biz managed to scuffle together a few words from an interview Polygon conducted with Stoic Game co-founders John Watson and Arnie Jorgensen, where they expressed their disappointment with the over-saturation of free-to-play titles and they noted that Apple, the famed company from out of Cupertino, California that makes iPhones and Macs, also feels disappointed with the free-to-play surge.
The team is currently working on an iPad version of The Banner Saga, and they're aiming for something big... something bold... something that's not free-to-play.
Watson stated that...
"Apple is frustrated, along with everybody else, about the mentality that's gone rampant in mobile app markets, where people don't want to pay anything,"
It's not just that people don't want to pay anything, it's that the market – from publishers – has persuaded the average person that they shouldn't pay anything. Between the app store being flooded with low-effort, free-to-play cash-shop grabs and content-gouging titles like Dungeon Keeper, it's no surprise that people would assume that this is the way the app store is supposed to function.
Watson does go on to make a good point about that, saying...
"They think that four dollars is an exorbitant amount to pay for a game, which is very illogical considering most people's lifestyles. They'll spend $600 on an iPad, and $4 on a coffee, drop $20 on lunch, but when it comes to spending four or five dollars on a game, it's this life-altering decision. I'm frustrated with that too."
It's not so much that those in the lifestyle feel that games are too much, it's probably that they don't regularly play games (so why would they pay for them?) or that their kids are the ones playing the game. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that the consumer advocacy groups had to step in because it was kids charging up their parent's credit card for in-app purchases on free-to-play games, not the parents.
In fact, there's a recent story on Reuters about Google facing class-action lawsuits over kids racking up massive amounts of expenses using their parent's mobile device(s), as reported by Reuters.
The other problem is that the gamers putting the most money into the mobile market are “whales”. Small pockets of consumers who spend massive amounts of money on games, as noted on Forbes.
One of Apple's directives for changing this trend is to get higher quality apps onto the store. According to Stoic Games co-founder Arnie Jorgensen...
"So they're telling us to go higher-end with our game," ... "We're still making those decisions."
Jorgensen states that Apple encouraged developers to “push it” in terms of performance and presentation.
The major problem is that the app market is already over saturated with lots of low-effort, low-tier games that are designed as cash grabs. It's going to be hard to fight that trend now that every major publisher is already cashing in on the trend.