This is an excerpt of the Interview with J. Casasanta at venturebeat.com about Camera+ and how he made millions out of a $1 app. An interesting topic on its own, but even more interesting (IMHO) is what he says about In-App-Purchases in games.
"The direction the industry is moving in this regard really does sicken me. The trend (mostly with games) is to have companies sitting around a big table brainstorming how to waste people’s time enough to the point where they pony-up some dough via virtual trinkets to prevent it."
"And what saddens me about all this is the number of people who are OK with having their time wasted in this fashion."
As far as in-app purchases go, we’re being fairly cautious with that. Through in-app purchases, it’s become far to easy to turn an app into a nickel-and-dime-your-customers machine. One of our competitors, Hipstamatic, has greatly suffered because of that.
But this isn’t to say that we’re completely against it. For Camera+, we currently offer one add-on effects pack that sells for 99¢ and we get tons of requests to add more. So we plan to over time but were going to be very careful about the fine balance between adding value and bleeding customers.
The direction the industry is moving in this regard really does sicken me. The trend (mostly with games) is to have companies sitting around a big table brainstorming how to waste people’s time enough to the point where they pony-up some dough via virtual trinkets to prevent it. This is very unfortunate for society in general and companies like Zynga are the root of this evil in my opinion. Maybe I’m just old and crotchety but I recall a day when the primary goal of game designers was to create fun games. But I guess this new way is what we’re going to have to expect in this post-”appocalyptic,” 99¢ world where many of these entities can only be loosely called games.
And what saddens me about all this is the number of people who are OK with having their time wasted in this fashion. These are all the people who play these freemium games but don’t pay for the in-app purchases. From what I understand about the low percentage of people who actually pay, this number is pretty high. It kind of frightens me to think of what kind of society we’re becoming where the masses have built-up a tolerance to this kind of thing.
But worse, Apple is encouraging this behavior by featuring these apps. Apple used to set the standard for quality and one thing that the App Store has undoubtedly done is drop Apple back several notches in the quality department. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who’s been a fan of what Apple produces who looks at the App Store as a model of anything resembling quality overall. To put it bluntly, the App Store has been one big wart on Apple’s once fairly pristine ass. The good thing is there’s nowhere to go but up.
And again, I’m not trying to say that in-app purchases are inherently evil, even in games. One example of doing it (relatively) right is Rovio with their Mighty Eagle in-app purchases in the Angry Birds games. While I’m not a fan of the aspect of paying for it to more easily advance past levels, what it has done is added another dimension to the games themselves. Essentially, they’ve done it in such a way that you get a lot of replayability out of the games and it’s not done in the sleazy way that’s unfortunately becoming the norm for the so-called “games” these days.
Source: How Camera+’s John Casasanta made millions off a $1 app - venturebeat.com