GDC Europe: App Store developers need to think beyond $1 games, says Bigpoint CEO

The iPhone app market â??has already crashedâ??

A industry-wide race to bottom-line App Store selling prices has led to what is a market crash.

That’s according to Heiko Hubertz, the sometimes-outspoken CEO of online game firm Bigpoint.

Speaking at an info-packed GDC Europe speaker session, Hubertz agreed that Apple is “dominating the mobile space” but scrutinised figures recently supplied by the iPhone manufacturer.

Apple recently declared that App Store developers recently made $1 billion in revenues for themselves. Yet Hubertz said that this rich sum would be spread thin across the 250,000 apps on the marketplace.

”Okay, I know that many apps are free, so that messes the maths up,” he said, “but even if there were 100,000 paid-for apps, that would mean each one makes an average revenue of $10,000. So development costs on the App Store have to remain very low,” he said.

Hitting his point home he added: “This market has already crashed. You cannot sell your game for 99 cents and expect a return.”

There are of course numerous exceptions to Hubertz’s rule, such as Rovio’s recent smash hit Angry Birds, but the development exec said all developers should seek inspiration elsewhere.

He said the big question for social game developers to ask is how you can convert low-paying customers – those who pay in cents – to heavy-paying customers who pay in tens of dollars.

”If your company is not thinking about that in the social game space,” he said, “it is doomed to fail”.

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