One measure of the value of a person’s creative output is what another person is willing to pay for it. Low prices actively court those who place less value on work. That’s not an admonishment; it’s just a simple fact. And no, you can’t balance the price-point and the sales figures to achieve the same income: there are far, far more people who will only buy at $1 (or free, if you’re trying to sell in-app purchases). If you sell at $3 instead, your number of sales will go down by much more than the factor of three that you increased the price by. If your goal is just to make money temporarily (which is up to you), then the race to the bottom — with all its attendant risks, and its environmentally corrosive effect — is probably your best bet. You also need to acknowledge that you’ve marked your work as being essentially worthless, and that it’ll be discarded just as quickly. Your most vocal supporters will turn on you the minute you ask for more money (remember the extra levels for Monument Valley?). They simply won’t value you enough to even consider paying again, because you’ve already taught them that your work isn’t worth it.It’s a dim view of a profession so many have chosen, but not unique to Apple. Google’s Play Store does the same things (and the race to the bottom there is arguably worse, if consumer spending is an indication). Meanwhile, shareware has been around since the dawn of personal computers. We never really wanted to pay for software, but we always want the latest and greatest.
Lots of good points, don’t even get me started on all the people who expect Mac and iOS versions as one purchase.https://t.co/vzcj4U7PIU— Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) May 4, 2017
A Remedy for the Indie DeveloperSize Five Games takes a sober approach to being an independent developer. More than anything, it cautions to spend wisely, work hard and not assume initial success will bring continued cash flow. It also smartly suggests avoiding developer events (it specifically names the Game Developers Conference) if you can’t afford them:
You know it, it’s a big piss-up jolly fun time and it’s not really benefiting your project beyond ‘inspiration’ and maaaaybe some facetime with some journos. Absolutely brilliant to go if you can afford it, and do definitely go if you can, but don’t spend £2000 flying to GDC under the proviso of it being ‘good for business’ because it isn’t, it’s good for blowing off steam and having a jolly. Could that £2000 be better spent on a composer or an artist? Spend it on a composer or an artist, then. GDC-and-the-like are for when you have money.The company's blog post also makes another great point: don’t quit your day job. It’s easy to believe that a fun side project could become your ticket to working from home (which is probably possible at your job, anyway), but don’t give up a salary until it’s clear you have to. Once an app, or series of apps, is bringing in enough revenue and has enough of an audience that you feel comfortable relying on your LLC (you did create an LLC for your side projects, right?) for income, you can make that uneasy leap to self-sufficiency. It’s also not a binary experience. Just as you might have launched apps while working a 9-to-5 gig, be open to freelance opportunities while holding down a job. Supplementing your income during slow periods doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Really, more indie devs should probably go that route. As a recent study pointed out, once an app has been downloaded, users are likely to stop using it almost entirely within 30 days. After 90 days, the retention rate is next to nil. Budgeting is an important skill to have, as is a healthy pipeline of updates and new apps. This is also a good reason to examine your current or potential business model; ads and subscriptions may bring a steadier cash flow. It’s important to know the market, too. Many desktop developers are seeing success away from the Mac App Store. Even when sales remain somewhat stagnant, eliminating Apple's 30 percent cut from the equation might help your revenue stream. Similarly, democratized distribution services such as Setapp are gaining momentum. (We’re holding our judgement on Setapp until we start seeing real-world reports from developers.) Like any venture, independent developers want to make money. It’s not easy, and being an independent developer typically means income variances. It also means you’ll have a lifestyle more attuned to the lean times.