Craig Grannell writing about the annoying (greedy?) practice of iOS gaming developers forcing users to continue to buy things via an IAP, in order to continue enjoying the game. He writes:

They are designed around keeping you hooked through the time investment you’ve put into them, rather than around addictive, exciting, engaging game design. The problem is, money talks, and with top-grossing titles typically being the most exploitative money-gouging games on the App Store, why wouldn’t more developers head in that direction?

I don’t play enough games to notice this, but it shows the bad side of the business model I advocate for: charging for your work. The tough distinction is between a service and an actual app. Instapaper is a service in my mind, and thus I would be willing to pay monthly for it (I pay for the subscription). By that I mean, I would be willing to pay just to use the basic service on the website. Numbers is just an app, not a service, so I feel you should be charged accordingly. This means, charge me enough to fund the next version of the app — how ever far away that might be.

I am not sure where games fit in, they feel more like apps than services, but then some games are really services. Things like Words with Friends feels like a service, not a game. Whereas Tetris clearly is a game to me.

The real question in my mind right now, is whether this is something that should be regulated by the marketplace (gamers) or by Apple? Should Apple start rejecting apps that can’t be used in a long-term and meaningful way without IAP? Or should Apple continue down the current path and leave it to the gamers to stop buying these IAPs?

I think the latter is the best move, but I also think it is the slowest option.

Posted by Ben Brooks