Gruber on Astronut:

“Interesting business model: there’s just one app, no separate “lite” version. It’s free to download, but not all levels are included — the upgrade to the full game is a $1.99 in-app purchase.”

I think it’s fantastic that someone’s gone ahead and actually used the in app purchases in a novel way. They’re surely not the first company to do this, but the strategy of creating one version of your game has so many advantages over the classic (and overused) ying/yang full version/light version concept.

  1. Firstly, just one app to submit to the store, admittedly it’s not a huge deal to submit two, especially if one of them is just a limited version of the other, but think of the hassle involved in updating two separate apps, maintaining them, bug squishing, all of the above. Wouldn’t it be so much easier with just one to deal with?
  2. People are lazy. Bear in mind that people won’t even want to go to all the hassle of firing up the whole app store just to get the full version of an app (and then have 2 of the same apps on their iPhone). If the extra levels or extra content could be attained as an in game purchase, it would be so much easier for them just to click accept and BOOM, get them, making you more money in the process.
  3. Thirdly, piracy. If apps could be downloaded freely without the app store, bypassing all protection and copyright, then a full version could be had easily. Not so true with in-app purchases. If the extra features and levels can only be bought through the app itself, then it’s surely going to be much harder to access them illegally.

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