Ground-level App Store gem prices slammed as a dangerous disservice

App market allures Crytek, but Apple gets conked

Crysis 2 developer Crytek has for the first time revealed an interest in the bourgeoning mobile game market – but the group’s CEO fears for the future of the App Store.

Cevat Yerli told Develop that “the social and mobile spaces are certainly something we’ve been looking at for a while now”, though the studio co-founder balanced his optimism with a large quantity of caution on the future of App Store games.

“I think the App Store changes the perception of game prices, which I really don’t like. It’s pushing out games at such a low price that it distorts the perception of what a game should be priced at,” he said.

“iPad and iPhone are both doing a real disservice to game prices by allowing games at such low price points – it is an issue the industry has to address at some point.”

In an interview with Develop, CryEngine managing director Carl Jones concurred, adding that the App Store is “so saturated now, that a lot of iPhone developers won’t be making a second game. They just aren’t getting a return.”

Yerli continued: “These games launch low as well. I mean, an iPhone game will launch at maybe $1.99 and go down from there. If the prices were higher, the store would be less crowded, have a higher competitive pressure, higher quality and better returns.”

He also foresaw a knock-on effect that the App Store may have for handheld games, full retail titles, and perhaps, future Crytek titles.

“The App Store games are under such pressure that, to make money out of it I would find very challenging. If you look at someone who now takes a casual interest in games; they can get their iPhone and iPad games for something like $4.99, and that drives down sales on mobile platforms, and that in turn will drive down sales of handhelds, and eventually all this pressure will drive down the prices of full console retail games.

“That in turn could put all sorts of pressures on how the games are made. Perhaps in the future, the big retail games will take two hours to complete. Maybe in the future – let’s say we develop Crysis 5 – that game might be a two-hour game selling for $4.99.

Yerli wouldn’t commit explicitly to any plans to release a mobile game in the future. In the interview he said that the App Store’s pricing policy had not put the studio off mobile game development, adding that “we’ll have to see what time brings, but that’s all I can say right now.”

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