Android Market Pricing

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately on how to price a game on the Android market. I’ve given myself a deadline for codename Squishy Bugs (by the way, that’s the new name for codename Frog Fly). I plan on having something, anything, but hopefully something playable and fun on the market by December 24. There’s no strategic plan for that date, I just told myself I’d have the game playable and on the market by Christmas. December 24 just happened to be the furthest date away that still fits the deadline.

Now that a date is set, what do I do about the price?

I’ve been considering the following plan. First, the game gets posted to the Android market December 24 essentially as a fully featured demo. All power-ups and game-play elements are in place but users are restricted to a limited level set. And the game would be ad-supported.

Then I continue to polish the game. The December 24 demo would be considered the “first 90%” of the game. When the game is at a semi-polished level, somewhere in the last 10% of the development cycle (for those not in the know, the last 10% of development is the longest part of development) then I put a new build of the game up on the market with the lowest possible price point. $0.99. And I remove advertisements from the new build.

Early adopters get in at the low low price of $0.99 and get to play and suggest features as the game reaches completion. This could be a month, it could be half a year, but they get in at $0.99. And when that last 10% is done then the price raises to $1.99 (but not without a nice sale price for the first week or two to transition new purchasers into the product).

At least, that’s the thought right now. I’ll be continuing development on the game. I’m trying to post new screenshots every Saturday but there’s really not much new to show. It’s the same sort of screenshot every time. And I suppose I should get WaggSoft and the forums operational some time soon, too. I’ll need those forums to get feedback on demo.

2 Responses to “Android Market Pricing”

  1. David says:

    You should verify this yourself, but I have read that while you can convert a paid app to a free app on the Android market, you cannot do the reverse. You could remove it and put it back, but you would lose a lot of your users.

    Again, double check that info, but I thought an FYI might be in order

    Also, in-game purchases might accomplish the same thing as your original strategy.

  2. kyle says:

    Hi David, Thanks for the tip. I have no strategy! I’m still trying to work out how to approach this thing. However, if I end up going the paid-app route the $0.99 “new build” will be in addition to the free version which will still be available on the market.

    Good to know that you may not be able to turn a free app into a paid app. That means you can’t run a “my game is free for a day” promo. You’d think that would be allowed.

    I would not expect that those who “purchased” the free app to have to pay for it when the price increases. They would have already “paid” $0 for it. But that’s beside the point.

    I’ll end up with 2 versions on the market (free/paid) if I go that route.

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