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Why app subscriptions could be the downfall of the App Store

Apple announced new changes coming to the App Store that affects both developers and users, but probably not in a good way. Im talking about their Subscription Enhancements, Apple will soon allow developers to make their apps subscription-based, something that was previously limited to specific app categories. Here’s why I think it won’t take off…

Apple has stated that the subscription business model isn’t appropriate for every app. To be eligible, developers must provide paid access to content that is updated (or delivered) regularly or provide an ongoing service such as cloud storage or massive multiplayer online games (MMOG).

Personally, I prefer to pay up front for my apps. I used to regularly play games on my iPhone/iPad, back when games didn’t require in-app purchases to progress further, now I rarely buy new apps or games, solely because I know sooner or later I’d hit a paywall.

Sure, the subscription model works fine with apps like Microsoft Word, Spotify, Netflix, Adobe Photoshop, but I find it hard to see it work well with games.

The current ‘freemium’ model

In the past, some developers made their games paid when they first released on the App Store, then months down the line they chose to make their game ‘freemium’, meaning it’ll be free to download but it’ll include loads of in-app purchases. Personally, I feel cheated when I’ve paid for an app up front and the developers make it free (forever) later on. I’ve even seen instances where a paid app requires an in-app purchase to remove ads, which is absurd.

This ‘freemium’ model, that a lot of developers are using, seems to be working, people are obviously spending hundreds of dollars in in-app purchases. Because of this, I find it really difficult to find great games in the App Store, the Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing lists don’t help either, most of them are riddled with ads and/or in-app purchases.

RelatedSearch Ads and Subscription Enhancements coming to the App Store

The future ‘subscription’ model

As I said earlier, the subscription model could work fine for apps, for example ones that provide photo effects/filter, where users could pay a monthly fee for regular/updated effects or filters, but I cannot see it working for any game on the App Store right now. I don’t know what developers can include in game updates, that’ll make me want to pay a regular fee for.

Who know’s I could be wrong, this subscription business model could thrive, but I am definitely against it. I will always support developers who have the end user in mind.

What do you guys think? Would you pay a subscription for your favorite game?

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About Chris Wilson

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