Has the iPhone App Market already crashed?
At GDC Europe earlier this week, Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz claimed that the iPhone app market "has already crashed. You cannot sell your game for 99 cents and expect a return." Apple has said that developers are collectively making more than a billion dollars on the App Store, but Hubertz knocks that figure down a few notches, suggesting that because there are over 250,000 actual apps on the store, no one developer is making enough to cover the development costs of any game worth making.
Is he right? In a sense, he is -- it's already pretty clear that for a number of reasons, prices have raced to the bottom on the App Store. And while the audience is still growing (people are buying more and more iPhones every day), so is the pool of developers and apps. While there are definitely some runaway hits, the average developer isn't going to see profits that will keep an EA-level game afloat.
That said, the market certainly hasn't "crashed." Apple wanted an app ecosystem that anyone with a Mac and some knowledge and time could join, and that's what they've got -- a developer who puts a worthy amount of time and talent into an app, with some help and promotion from sites like ours, can likely turn over a profit, if not make a good amount of money. Sure, the App Store's not very friendly to big budget producers, but that's probably not what Apple wanted in the first place anyway.
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