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XCOM publisher touts success with premium price point on Apple's iOS App Store

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
While some view mobile app pricing as a race to the bottom, Take-Two Interactive believes their $19.99 premium price point for its console-quality "XCOM" title has proven quality software can command a higher price.

XCOM


Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during his company's quarterly earnings conference call this week, as noted by Pocket Gamer, that the success of XCOM: Enemy Unknown on iOS was a success. In his eyes, the popularity of the title "illustrates that consumers are willing to pay a premium price for premium entertainment."

Zelnick did not offer any specific sales figures on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but the title did crack the top 10 grossing applications on the App Store within its first week. The title was a port of a PC and console game that, when it launched on iOS, was less than a year old.

"This bodes well for the opportunity to delivery profitably our most immersive AAA titles to mobile platforms as they evolve," Zelnick said.

XCOM


Take-Two's apparent success at the $20 level stands in contrast to mobile app pricing trends, which some have viewed as a "race to the bottom." One study released earlier this month found that iPad users pay an average of 50 cents per application downloaded, while iPhone owners pay just 19 cents per app.

As of Wednesday morning, just one of the top 43 grossing applications on the iPhone App Store was a paid download: Minecraft - Pocket Edition. On the iPad, Minecraft is the only paid option among the top 37, with the newly released djay 2 coming in at No. 38 for $4.99.

Game publishers and developers have been increasingly leaning toward "freemium" titles, which are free to download but include in-app purchases for game content. Electronic Arts, for example, revealed last week that it makes more money off of Apple's iOS App Store than its own Origin download service for PC and Mac. EA in particular highlighted freemium titles The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, and The Sims Freeplay.

Apple's iOS platform may attract more console-quality titles like XCOM: Enemy Unknown when official "Made for iPhone" gaming controllers debut later this year. The upcoming iOS 7 software update will add support for such peripherals, offering more precise controls for traditional console-style games than a touchpad can offer.
post #2 of 32

If other companies can keep up the same level of quality that they did with XCOM, they shouldn't have any problem raking in the profits. Great game!

post #3 of 32
Premium price points are over-rated. If you can sell 5x as many at $6.99 you made more profit as you do not pay for bandwidth as that comes from Apple.

The whole lesson of the Apple store is that people BUY more software at $2.99 then they do at $19.99. Not just a little bit more, but many times more.
post #4 of 32
We need more games like this!!! I will gladly pay $$$ for quality. There are too many games that are free and then after 15 minutes of gameplay you have to shell out for gems or other crap...

I hope this trend continues...as long as they can do this for $10-$20 bucks that is great.
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post

Premium price points are over-rated. If you can sell 5x as many at $6.99 you made more profit as you do not pay for bandwidth as that comes from Apple.

 

You might not pay for the bandwidth but you certainly pay support costs and the cost of running any servers that your app uses. And what if you don't sell 5x as many copies? It's hard to put the price back up once you've lowered it. 

 

I'm really glad to see XCOM succeed at a premium price. It's a great game and I bought it for iPad despite owning the PC original. I really hope that it's the start of a fightback against low price, low quality apps. Premium hardware deserves premium software.

 

post #6 of 32
I can only speak for myself, but I can't stand in-app advertising or in-app purchasing. Where there are paid app options available (lacking advertising or too heavy focus on in-app purchasing), I'll always choose those. Congratulations to this developer who realises that people like me are willing to pay for quality.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post

Premium price points are over-rated. If you can sell 5x as many at $6.99 you made more profit as you do not pay for bandwidth as that comes from Apple.

Not necessarily. Depends on how much you need to recover per copy sold of your upfront development costs, marketing costs, estimated maintenance and future bug fixing costs, support costs, etc. So depending on those costs even 5x the sales could be making less profit than a single sale at a higher price especially when you also factor in the 70/30 revenue split. For example, assuming your fixed costs are $3 per copy that means at $19.99 you get $13.99 in revenue (from your 70%) and $10.99 in profit per sale. At $6.99 you get $4.89 in revenue (from your 70%) and only $1.89 in profit per sale. If you can do basic arithmetic you'll notice that 1.89 x 5 is less than 10.99 and in order to make more profit you'd have to assume a 6x increaes in sales.

 

This is as silly as the people who claim that e-books should only be a dollar since they can be duplicated at no effort. Wrongfully implying that duplication costs are even remotely the major costs involved in publishing a book. All the other costs of a book still apply to an ebook such as paying the author their royalties, recouping marketing costs, paying for the staff involved in creating and editing the book, etc.


Edited by MikeJones - 7/31/13 at 7:14am
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiepaul View Post

I can only speak for myself, but I can't stand in-app advertising or in-app purchasing. Where there are paid app options available (lacking advertising or too heavy focus on in-app purchasing), I'll always choose those. Congratulations to this developer who realizes that people like me are willing to pay for quality.

What I hate most of all is paid apps that then ALSO have in-app purchases. Particularly if the purchases are advertised within the name or description of the app itself (but not mentioned as purchases).

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #9 of 32

Nobody ever said you couldn't.

 

I just haven't seen an app yet that justified such a high price point. Currently, all the games I have played, I grew bored of them within days because they were shallow with repetitive gameplay. Give me planescape: Torment with updated graphics and a redesigned touch-optimised UI, and I will willingly shell out good money for it. 

 

People think they must price an app cheap for people to buy it, that only gives them less incentive to design it properly, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel it would do good for Apple to periodically purge their app store of underperforming apps once in a while, just to jolt the developers out of this sense of complacency. 

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


What I hate most of all is paid apps that then ALSO have in-app purchases. Particularly if the purchases are advertised within the name or description of the app itself (but not mentioned as purchases).

 

I don't mind if a game comes out and then later the devs release more content as an IAP (e.g. the extra campaign in Galaxy on Fire 2). I absolutely avoid any game that uses IAP consumerables though.

post #11 of 32

I bought XCom Enemy Unknown from Steam for $10 during the Summer Sale. You should be really stupid to buy it for $20 from the App store. There is also a deal right now on Greenmangaming. If you preorder The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for $44.99 right now, you will get $12 credit or $8 cash back AND you will get XCOM Ultimate Bundle that include all previous XCom games for free! Check this out: http://www.greenmangaming.com/the-bureau-xcom-declassified-offer/

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

I bought XCom Enemy Unknown from Steam for $10 during the Summer Sale. You should be really stupid to buy it for $20 from the App store.

Yeah, because comparing a limited-time sale price to the full sale price somewhere else is a totally fair comparison. How about mentioning how the non-sale price for the game on Steam is $39.99. So when you factor that in the App Store version is half the price.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

Yeah, because comparing a limited-time sale price to the full sale price somewhere else is a totally fair comparison. How about mentioning how the non-sale price for the game on Steam is $39.99. So when you factor that in the App Store version is half the price.

If you wait you can find it on sale somewhere every 2-3 weeks. As for how may copies can you sale if you lower the price check the latest Humble Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/

For less than $5 you can buy some amazing AAA games! The bundle is not even 24 hours old and they already sold almost 200000 copies!

post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

I bought XCom Enemy Unknown from Steam for $10 during the Summer Sale. You should be really stupid to buy it for $20 from the App store. There is also a deal right now on Greenmangaming. If you preorder The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for $44.99 right now, you will get $12 credit or $8 cash back AND you will get XCOM Ultimate Bundle that include all previous XCom games for free! Check this out: http://www.greenmangaming.com/the-bureau-xcom-declassified-offer/

 

What if I don't have a PC or Mac?

And even if I did, if I buy it from Steam can I play it on my iPad whilst sat in the shed at the bottom of my garden?

I reckon something/one else is really stupid.

post #15 of 32
I bought the game on iOS for $20 when it first came out, played it for 10 minutes, then deleted it to free up the space. Meh.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

If you wait you can find it on sale somewhere every 2-3 weeks. As for how may copies can you sale if you lower the price check the latest Humble Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/

For less than $5 you can buy some amazing AAA games! The bundle is not even 24 hours old and they already sold almost 200000 copies!

Great, how does buying it from Steam or the Humble Bundle allow me to play it on my iPad? And, yes, the humble bundle can sell lots of copies. But the average take of the game creators is peanuts. Putting stuff on the Humble Bundle is done for marketing not for actually making any real profit. That is unless you've already recouped all your costs and you didn't have to do any porting work to get it into bundle and even then you aren't making a lot.

post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post

Premium price points are over-rated. If you can sell 5x as many at $6.99 you made more profit as you do not pay for bandwidth as that comes from Apple.

The whole lesson of the Apple store is that people BUY more software at $2.99 then they do at $19.99. Not just a little bit more, but many times more.

cryptoanarchy.com

another person who believe selling widget at the lowers possible price means greater profits.Please go take a basis Econ Class and learn about supply and demand and pricing cross over points. There is a point that setting a price below that point you do not sell one more units the same is true on the higher side. The question you have to ask, is it more important to say you sold more unit but had less profits in the bank or say they you have huge profits but sold less units.

 

personally I am all about having a big bank account than claiming victor of biggest Market Share. With money in the bank you can do what you want, having the honor of largest market share most time locks you into what you can do especially if you do not have the huge bank account behind it.

post #18 of 32
XCOM sounds great, the problem for me isn't the price it's the size of the file ~3GB, which takes up about a quarter of the space on my iPad Mini. If Apple wants to encourage people to buy games/apps like these (or movies), they'll need to get more competitive with pricing of tablets with more storage, or make it easier to offload these huge files when not in use. Charging $100 for the next step up in storage capacity is lame. Hopefully Google selling the Nexus 7 32GB for just $30 more than the 16GB will have some effect on Apple, but I'm not holding my breath.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick29 View Post

or make it easier to offload these huge files when not in use.

What's so hard about syncing your app and its data to your computer?

post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

Great, how does buying it from Steam or the Humble Bundle allow me to play it on my iPad? And, yes, the humble bundle can sell lots of copies. But the average take of the game creators is peanuts. Putting stuff on the Humble Bundle is done for marketing not for actually making any real profit. That is unless you've already recouped all your costs and you didn't have to do any porting work to get it into bundle and even then you aren't making a lot.

It doesn't! But the thing is you don't want to play great AAA games on a tiny screen! These games has to be played on huge screens. But I get it, I get it, I'm on a crazy Apple fan site so...

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PneumaPilot View Post

I bought the game on iOS for $20 when it first came out, played it for 10 minutes, then deleted it to free up the space. Meh.


You are exactly the reason why AAA games will never be on iPads. The real gamers play games on PC, XBox or Playstation. Those who are just casual gamers don't like AAA games. I bet you like Angry Birds, right?

post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

I bought XCom Enemy Unknown from Steam for $10 during the Summer Sale. You should be really stupid to buy it for $20 from the App store. There is also a deal right now on Greenmangaming. If you preorder The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for $44.99 right now, you will get $12 credit or $8 cash back AND you will get XCOM Ultimate Bundle that include all previous XCom games for free! Check this out: http://www.greenmangaming.com/the-bureau-xcom-declassified-offer/

 

"Really stupid"? I'm laughing at you. I played XCom on my iPad while waiting at a restaurant last night. I love being able to take my games with me. I hate having incredibly shallow games. And I have no respect for someone who are so shallow they think that $10 is cause for judging people "really stupid." How much does a movie cost to see? If a game occupies me that long, prices can be equivalent and it's a wash. If it occupies me twice as long, it can be twice the cost of a money, and it's still a wash. In the case of XCom, I've spent significantly longer than two hours playing it, so the cost is justified as an entertainment expense.

 

Would you actually avoid a well crafted game just because of $10? I'll drop twice that amount on lunch today. There's a difference between being smart and being cheap. $10 is a rounding error on my weekly expenses. And it's not because I'm especially wealthy, because I'm not. It's because $10 is a small amount of money.

 

The amount of time I'll spend playing a game though is time I'll never get back. That's the currency that matters, the currency I want to spend wisely and conserve as much as possible. Money? It's just money. Get your values straight. If you're so poor that $10 is such an incredibly precious resource to you that you think it justifies calling names, then what you really need to do is to stop playing such time-intensive games and do some genuine work.

post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post


You are exactly the reason why AAA games will never be on iPads. The real gamers play games on PC, XBox or Playstation. Those who are just casual gamers don't like AAA games. I bet you like Angry Birds, right?

No, I'm actually a very avid gamer (a casual gamer wouldn't have spent $20 on a game like XCOM). It's just not a good experience.
post #24 of 32

Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

It doesn't!

So then what's your point? There doesn't seem you have one beyond being a troll.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

But the thing is you don't want to play great AAA games on a tiny screen! These games has to be played on huge screens.

Why wouldn't I? I'm not always sitting in front of a huge TV. Some of us actually do leave our houses and our TVs from time to time and yet still might want to play a game.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

But I get it, I get it, I'm on a crazy Apple fan site so...

Because Android users don't play games on their phones and tablets? There are no games for Windows tablets and iPhones? There are no games for Blackberry phones? Again, do you have an actual point beyond being a troll?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post


You are exactly the reason why AAA games will never be on iPads. The real gamers play games on PC, XBox or Playstation. Those who are just casual gamers don't like AAA games. I bet you like Angry Birds, right?

There are plenty of AAA games on the iPad. Ignorant much?


Edited by MikeJones - 7/31/13 at 9:03am
post #25 of 32
Personally, I really hate freemium games.

With a paid game you can design it solely with an eye toward making a game the best it can be. You might not succeed, but that's you're motive.

With a freemium game, you have to design it also with an eye toward balancing how much you can inconvenience the player. You want to inconvenience him JUST enough that he'll pay you to stop it, and not so much that he'll stop playing. I just picked up Solstice Arena on a recommendation from my brother. He said the only thing you pay for is skins. But that's not true. You'll have to play a ton to be able to afford each champion. Most likely you'll pony up, because they make it so painful otherwise. Ah, but the question is how much? $10 apparently gets you nearly nothing. $20 not much more. There are $100 IAPs!!!!! Jeez. Freemium is far, far, far more greedy than just putting a $10 or $20 price on the thing. All the people who bitch about that up front cost, how many of them pony up once they get in?

Please, any game designers reading this: just design a game to be fun and only fun. I'll pay for it. Apparently, though, I'm a minority. And a whole generation of games is being ruined because of it.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by abazigal View Post

Nobody ever said you couldn't.

 

I just haven't seen an app yet that justified such a high price point. Currently, all the games I have played, I grew bored of them within days because they were shallow with repetitive gameplay. Give me planescape: Torment with updated graphics and a redesigned touch-optimised UI, and I will willingly shell out good money for it. 

 

People think they must price an app cheap for people to buy it, that only gives them less incentive to design it properly, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel it would do good for Apple to periodically purge their app store of underperforming apps once in a while, just to jolt the developers out of this sense of complacency. 

 

You got bored within days? Days???? And that's not worth $19.95. What's your imagined reasonable cost-per-hour?

post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

It doesn't! But the thing is you don't want to play great AAA games on a tiny screen! These games has to be played on huge screens. But I get it, I get it, I'm on a crazy Apple fan site so...

 

Actually, no. the thing is that *you* don't. Some people do. And what weird thing was happening in your head that you thought your last sentence made any sense at all except showing that you really had no point and wanted to just try and call some names? You might want to check out who made XCom. It wasn't Apple. Your invective is not appropriate for the discussion at hand. It illuminates nothing except for the person who typed it, and the sickly glow it casts on you is something you might do well to be troubled by.

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

I bought XCom Enemy Unknown from Steam for $10 during the Summer Sale. You should be really stupid to buy it for $20 from the App store. There is also a deal right now on Greenmangaming. If you preorder The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for $44.99 right now, you will get $12 credit or $8 cash back AND you will get XCOM Ultimate Bundle that include all previous XCom games for free! Check this out: http://www.greenmangaming.com/the-bureau-xcom-declassified-offer/

 

Sorry I don't feel stupid at all, I paid the extra $10 so I can pretty much play the game anywhere.  It is a great game to play right before going to bed :) 

post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

What's so hard about syncing your app and its data to your computer?

 

Don't have a computer?

post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

It doesn't! But the thing is you don't want to play great AAA games on a tiny screen! These games has to be played on huge screens. But I get it, I get it, I'm on a crazy Apple fan site so...

 

This is a very narrow understanding of the gaming industry.  Of course the majority of AAA games are mean to be play on big screens on the latest gaming rig. But a large part of gamer enjoyed their games on mobile console like the GameBoy or PSP. This is where the gaming market is in crisis right now, the latest generation of mobile gaming console are unable to compete with new generation of general use mobile device like android phone and tablets.

 

This is where news like this one show how gaming on tablet could be a game changer for bringing new games on new platforms outside of common market: PC and game console.  This could exit both Nintendo and Sony from the mobile gaming hardware market.

post #31 of 32

I agree!

post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

Yeah, because comparing a limited-time sale price to the full sale price somewhere else is a totally fair comparison. How about mentioning how the non-sale price for the game on Steam is $39.99. So when you factor that in the App Store version is half the price.

It is free on PS+ for the next year if you have a current membership, and personally I think free is too much to charge for this game
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