These days, I feel like there are less tangible disadvantages to the 99c price point, other than the fact that you make less per sale. There's still the issue that users are willing to put more effort into a product they pay more for, and will even go to further lengths to defend it, because they want to justify their purchase and their taste.
On the App Store, it all comes down to perceived risk. If a user is unsure about an app, they probably won't spend much more than 99c because they don't want to overspend on a dud. Once a user sees an app in Apple's "featured list" or has used the lite version of that app, they'll be much more willing to splurge on a higher price, because they know what they're getting.
For Trainyard, I felt that there was no longer a big difference between the $1.99 and $2.99 price points, because by the time a user arrived at the purchasing page, they already knew they wanted it.
All that being said, there is a large contingent of users that seem to only buy apps at $0.99, but most of the time, your apps won't be visible to those users. The moment I reached the top 50, I knew I would have tons of that sort of user looking at Trainyard, so I did the price drop.
But now you have me thinking. Are MORE people in the the $0.99-only crowd seeing my app, and are there enough of those people to make DROPPING the price more financially beneficial???
I suppose I could run a "sale", but once you start getting comfortable with a nice daily income, taking risks becomes harder and harder.
I'm not sure how the Android charts work, but in the App Store, it's ranked by units sold, not by profit. This is the KEY thing that is crucial to how the market works. Even if I make LESS money than I did the day before, I will be higher up in the charts, which will get me more exposure, and eventually more sales. Going high in the App Store is all about upward momentum. The volume of sales doesn't change linearly with rank either, it's quite exponential.
In the App Store, it's ranked by units sold ...
I will be higher up in the charts, which will get me
more exposure ... volume of sales doesn't change
linearly with rank either, it's quite exponential.
If you were going to game the system and you spent $10000 or even $20000 to get your app into the top 5, you'd make your money back within a day or two, and your app would be remain "sticky" at the top (provided it wasn't awful).
Do you think it was a mistake to start at $1.99 based on your theory? Should the entire aim to be to go as cheap as possible to get into the top 10 in the first place? (Or is that unlikely unless there is some other form of catalyst, e.g. Apple feature and therefore you may as well have the price at $1.99 / $2.99 until that happens?).
Do you believe this also applies for users searching for a specific keyword or combination of keywords? The 'above-the-fold' phenomenon. For example, 'baby feeding'? How did you do on keyword searches before you were selected by Apple (though Trainyard is a pretty unique name)?
Congratulations on your inspiring success! Are you going to release the original Tic Tac Toe game now?
I may do the tic-tac-toe game at some point as a multiplayer game.
Of course, next week when a $9.99 game is in the top 10 I'll have to revise this opinion. :-)