I have the habit of compulsively buying a ton of apps and games.
Most of the time, I buy them on impulse because I know I will change my mind if I give any consideration, and I may miss out on a fine application that could quickly find itself among my long list of must-have apps or amongst my favorite games. Not to mention, at least through the Play Store, there is a 15-minute return window. At the very least, I can get my money back by uninstalling the application within the given time. (You can even return apps after the return window closes by filing a claim with Google, but we won't get into that.)
When a new application or game is released, I often like to be amongst the first to download and install – that is, if the price is right. I don't mind waging a few dollars on a questionable new application or game. If it's enough to keep me entertained or intrigued throughout the first few minutes of trying it out, then it was worth the dollar or so, even if I find I don't particularly like it.
And as I've explained in the past, I'm not against putting forth extra cash for new features in future updates if the developer (or developers) are deserving.
Being a serial early adopter, however, you often face another problem: buying before price adjustments. Depending on how an application is received – how many downloads and purchases it has mustered in comparison to the development team's predictions – a price change might closely follow the launch of said app. Or maybe the development team faces a change of heart, etc. There are a large number of reasons an app might face price changes shortly after launch.
A perfect example of this happened just today with the newly released Dead Trigger from MADFINGER Games. Originally, Dead Trigger launched on the third of this month for $0.99. I purchased it just minutes after it went live in the Play Store and started playing it on the Nexus 7. The following day, I wrote about Dead Trigger, the freemium model that many apps and games are adopting and how MADFINGER was riding the fence between premium games and the freemium model – requiring an upfront price while all but forcing users to buy in-app purchases to make the game playable and enjoyable, too. (Evan later chimed in saying that in-app purchases are killing mobile gaming as we know it.)
This afternoon, only 17 days after its initial launch, a major update for the game was released to the Play Store, which includes new levels, zombies, weapons and arenas. It also includes a new price tag: free. Of course, it isn't totally free; it's only free to play and will still incorporate the same in-app purchases as before.
Immediately after DroidDog editor Dima Aryeh pointed this out to me, I was a little upset. Just over two weeks ago, I bought the game for $0.99, yet now people are able to download, install, play and enjoy the game, free of charge. It would have seemed less gauche had MADFINGER waited months before dropping the price, or never asked $0.99 for the game to begin with. But dropping to free after just 17 days makes the whole thing seem orchestrated, pre-meditated and a tad sleazy.
I'm more upset over the principle of the matter, not the money. After all, it was only $0.99. And, if nothing else, it went to a good cause. It's hard to get mad over a dollar, especially when supporting one of the best mobile game development firms around (as far as quality and polish go). But this isn't the first time it's happened to me, and it's definitely not going to be the last.
I purchased the premium license for Read It Later well over 18 months ago. But I wasn't at all upset to find that when the app was rebranded to Pocket, the service when totally free. I've been a fan since day one and would still put up money for Pocket if push came to shove.
I've really lost count of how many times this has happened to me and, really, I stopped caring long ago. To be fair, this is how gaming is on any platform, albeit much slower; prices drop and early adopters always end up paying the most. It's something every early adopter should learn to expect. In the same respect, however, I have purchased oodles of applications and games while on an early bird sale, or just before a major price increase. It all balances out (for me) and, at the end of it all, it's never more than a couple bucks lost.
And there's no reason in getting upset. Someone has to keep the gears turning; developers are hard workers, too, just looking to put some bacon on the table. Sometimes, it's entirely too easy to forget that.