Before I begin, I am not referring to the billions of free apps out there, for all you smart kids who’d like to add your two cents here – but instead, I’m curious to discover whether the latest “The Amazing Spider-Man” app, released at a mere 10 cents on Android devices, is the cheapest app ever to be launched in the GooglePlay or Apple Stores? After much research of trying to discover the cheapest ever app to be released over the years since the mobile gaming revolution began, it seems that “The Amazing Spider-Man” can claim this title.
My curiosity was arisen simply after spotting this as the number one app on the GooglePlay Store charts. For a comic geek like myself, I must admit that the title did captured my attention, yet I instantly found myself baffled and intrigued by the 10 cent price tag. Had I ever seen an app so cheap? And was this an introductory price? Or even a typo?
It seems however, that the price is correct and that this is the standard release price and not a special offer. While this is awesome news for gamers and lovers of Spider-Man (and possibly a bit of a look into the future prices in the App Store) could this be a clever marketing ploy by Gameloft to reach the number one ranking on the charts? Practically speaking, the competition between apps is far greater in the ‘top free app chart’ than in the ‘top paid app chart’, considering that free to play apps made up 91% off all downloaded apps in 2013, according to Gartner, one of the world’s leading companies for information technology research. Reaching the prestigious title of number one on the charts can have a remarkable impact on new downloads for a game. Putting this theory to work, it would be safe to say that developers would need significantly less downloads to reach the top of the paid app charts, in comparison to the downloads needed for a number one spot on the free app charts.
In 2012, GooglePlay released a range of 25 cent apps as part of a celebration for reaching a massive 25 billion downloads, across all varieties of applications. In the past, developers have also initially released games at an introductory price, however, all of these reduced prices were ‘limited time’ offers – unlike the latest top paid app, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, which seems to be sticking it out at just 10 cents a pop. Charging next to nothing for this app could be one of the smartest ways we’ve seen to reach a top chart position and, in turn, gain further exposure and more downloads for a brand new app.
Could this potential marketing technique throw a spanner into the works of rankings for both free and paid app charts for 2014? I’ll let you be the judge of that.