Starting a Trend

During the weeks before our release of Spirits on the App Store in 2010, we looked how other successful indie titles had priced themselves. We decided to follow the same model as Osmos. We released a version called “Spirits” that would run on the iPhone and iPod touch, and a more expensive version called “Spirits for iPad” that would run on the iPad. While this model worked for us in terms of revenue, we missed a trend that was about to happen: Making games universal so they run on any iOS device without the need to repurchase. As a player today, I’d expect a game on the App Store to be universal.

With the comforting option of following a successful trend, it’s easy to forget that it’s possible to start a trend yourself.

When Queasy Games released Sound Shapes for the PS3 and Vita, they offered both versions of the game for the price of one, making it the first game to support Sony’s Cross Buy initiatve. When Dan Tabar asked players to pay for the Cortex Command Alpha, he started the trend of paid, iterative development, paving the way for Minecraft and Steam’s Early Access.

How do you come up with a model that will work in the future? A viable strategy might be to design for yourself. What do you want as a customer that noone is offering today?