Mac App Store

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Post: #16
(Oct 20, 2010 12:19 PM)skyhawk Wrote:  And I swear if you have to pay to develop on the Mac...

(Oct 20, 2010 01:46 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  I watched the keynote and dug around for more info on the Mac App Store, but I haven't been able to find much on the specifics yet. There are the review guidelines which I found, but they don't tell me the technical details I was hoping to find out about. The other links wind up saying access denied for me. Is there some other "pay" account we have to have with them on top of our paid iPhone dev account?

There is (and has been for a while) a $99 Mac Developer Program, so yes.
https://developer.apple.com/programs/
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Post: #17
Isn't that kind of a slap in the face to all the developers who've been supportive of them for all these years (in my case, >20 years), and also to all us devs who went in with their iPhone App Store and put up with all of Apple's crap about NDA stuff, and then been dealt bad cards on top of that? Then to require yet another ransom to join in yet another crushing wave of them depressing our software prices yet again...

While I'll still probably pay the petty price, because I'm starting to feel like I don't have much choice, I must admit that it's pretty tacky of Apple to be like this -- especially considering where their profits are at right now. What's wrong with you Apple? Can't you give a little bit of your new-found success back to the developer community that helped get you there? Is it really too much trouble to spread the $100 App Store distribution thing across iOS and Mac OS? I mean, it's not like you aren't already taking 30% of the royalties, when smaller systems like appbodega only take like 10% or less. I'm not saying it's an outrage, but this really looks tacky to me, and is below what I would expect from Apple -- *especially* considering the great risk you are putting upon independent developers by coming stomping into this market as if you alone owned it all along.

[edit] for crying out loud, at *least* give us a better deal than 70% royalties and I could maybe see something less than you not only being greedy, but just flat-out busting our balls at this point.

[edit2] you, Apple, *made* the iOS ecosystem, which is pretty easy to concede, and we're proud of you for that, but it seems quite arrogant of you to be treating the Mac ecosystem the same way, considering you went through a period where the only people who kept you alive were people like us. We sold software on a struggling platform because we loved it; because it was the underdog; because it was better. Now you are telling us, nay, *demonstrating* to us true Mac developers, that you OWN us. Where's the love, Apple? Where's the love?
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Post: #18
What? $1 to buy Photoshop? Sounds like a good deal! lol.

I imagine services like KAGI must be crying.

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iDevGames
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Post: #19
We put Crayon Ball on Bodega right away when it came out. We were basically a launch app. I don't believe we got any sales from the service.

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Post: #20
I have a feeling that the Mac App Store will simply do what the Downloads page did, but with more assistance. As far as games, it seems to me that they are content with letting Valve handle that sector (the hardcore game market). We might see a lot of productivity software and casual games on the MAS. However, Steam is recognized by a lot of hardcore gamers, and it has a large PC/Mac community already. Also, it doesn't seem that the Mac has as much of a spam factor as the iOS, after all, a fart app on your computer isn't so great of a gag, instead we will probably see the magnificent world of the WindowsSharewareHeaven/UserSoftwareHell migrate to the Mac.
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Post: #21
I suspect the dynamics of the Mac App Store will be different from the iOS App Store primarily because of the different demographics between Mac and iOS users. Users will tend to be older on the Mac and have more disposable income purely from the Mac being that much more expensive an investment than an iPod Touch and the balance of Mac users that want games vs utilities. Plus Mac users have the option to buy (or steal) their games from multiple sources, so the volume of sales probably wouldn't warrant trying a rush to 99c in an attempt to make up for margin with volume. I suspect $5 - $10 will end up as good prices for games.

As far as the fairness of Apple's royalty split is concerned, you're not being forced as a dev to use their system. If you want the benefits of the Mac App Store, then the $99 a year sign up and the 70/30 split is the deal, if you don't you can ship your own way. Compared to the deal you'd get if you were shipping large volume via a big publisher it's pretty reasonable. Compared to typical shareware site deals, not so good, but it's probably going to shift a lot more units.
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Post: #22
I am inclined to agree that the price rush to the bottom won't happen to the same degree as on iOS, but it will happen for sure. The way Apple features apps and makes overnight success stories out of a few of them strongly encourages competitors to lower their prices in order to be noticed. The zillion dollar question is: to what degree will that same phenomenon manifest itself on the MAS? One thing that might help is if Apple didn't do any "featured app" categories of any kind and simply left it up to all developers to market themselves so app discovery was fair and not "fiddled with" by Apple. Another thing that could help is if they established a bottom line tier price of maybe four or five bucks.

I also agree that the 70/30 split is fair for what it is. There is a lot going on there with payment processing and also server hosting and generally managing the whole system. The $100 extra (in addition to paying for the iOS account) is a tacky annoyance IMO, which is what I was going off about. [adding] ... but still, this announcement comes in the very same event where they started off by pointing out how incredibly rich they are now (I think second only to Exxon on the NASDAQ). I am sure they could afford to cut the developers in the Mac ecosystem a little slack.
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Post: #23
Actually, I'm one of many devs in favour of the $99 a year fee being a lot more (as it is with consoles) to discourage timewasters, cloners and general "my first app" types. Supporting new devs is great, but a 2 tier system like XBLA/XNA would solve that with a separate store section for up and coming amateur devs.

The simple solution to the rush to 99c is for Apple to not feature anything priced less than a certain cut off point. If Apple only features apps that are $10 or more (and the chart is still valuable), then the bottom price will end up being $10.
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Post: #24
(Oct 21, 2010 12:46 PM)Zwilnik Wrote:  Actually, I'm one of many devs in favour of the $99 a year fee being a lot more (as it is with consoles) to discourage timewasters, cloners and general "my first app" types. Supporting new devs is great, but a 2 tier system like XBLA/XNA would solve that with a separate store section for up and coming amateur devs.
Sure, that might be great. That's what I thought they should have done to begin with.

The thing is, that's not what they did, and that's not what they're doing with the MAS either. The fact that they're charging $99 in addition to the iOS fee is just as annoying to me that they aren't charging enough! I mean, come on! At that price it's just a petty little pocket grab for Apple and serves no other purpose that I can see. I say they should either jack the fee up considerably, or not charge it again to those with the iOS account already.

(Oct 21, 2010 12:46 PM)Zwilnik Wrote:  The simple solution to the rush to 99c is for Apple to not feature anything priced less than a certain cut off point. If Apple only features apps that are $10 or more (and the chart is still valuable), then the bottom price will end up being $10.
Heh, I hadn't thought about that angle. You're a genius Zwilnik! That would be very effective and would help greatly, I believe. Somebody needs to escalate that idea at Apple.

[edit] You should send an email to Steve Jobs with this idea, if you haven't already. I really don't see why they couldn't do this. Perhaps they could call it the "Minimum Featured Price", or something like that...
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Post: #25
All the apps in the example screenshot are priced at FREE or (N * $5 - 0.01)
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Post: #26
Well that is certainly encouraging. Hopefully they're already on this issue then. I wish they would officially address it.
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Post: #27
Make it cost more to keep out the riffraff? That's ridiculous. All they are doing is adding an arbitrarily low barrier to entry.

If you want them to keep out the riffraff, you should want them to do it by having higher standards of what they accept. Consoles don't just have a higher cost barrier to entry, they have a pretty thorough review and guideline process. When you submit something to go on XBLA you go through several iterations of them sending your game back and telling you what you need to fix before they will let you publish it. Same for WiiWare I hear. It's not just the cost that keeps every Tom, Dick and Harry out. Publishing on Steam is free, but they don't just accept everything that is submitted to them. They have standards too, and their only rule (which is pretty fair) is that they only want the highest quality titles.

As it is, 90% of the downloads (and presumably sales) of our software comes from Apple's downloads page. I have a hard time believing that the MAS isn't going to supplant that. So being able to sell your software somewhere else is pretty much a moot point. You either play by Apple's ridiculous rules or get your sales cut to a tiny fraction. If Apple decides they don't like you or your software, they basically can hand you your hat and show you the door. I don't know how long I want to develop for a computer platform where the only commercially viable software is the stuff that is personally blessed by his holiness. I guess we'll see how it turns out.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Post: #28
(Oct 21, 2010 01:44 PM)Skorche Wrote:  I don't know how long I want to develop for a computer platform where the only commercially viable software is the stuff that is personally blessed by his holiness.

I am totally with you on that. That's why I think Zwilnik's idea is workable.

The problem has never been that Apple is being the central source of distribution, the problem has always been that competition for visibility on the App Store can only be done (practically speaking) via altering our price per unit, rather than the quality of the product. So, it doesn't piss me off so much that Apple "blesses" apps as much as they "bless" apps that often only cost $.99.

One gotcha with Zwilnik's idea is that apps that are being featured on one of Apple's featured lists would probably have to have their prices frozen during the time they're on that list, or else automatically de-list them from that list if they drop their price below the "Minimum Featured Price".
Also, in regards to the riff-raff simply making junk that starts at a higher price point, which is what I think you meant, the users will slam the heck out of them and they'll soon figure out that they get more sales at $.99 and not being listed anywhere, rather than zero sales and horrible comments at $10. The users will probably even want their money back if it's Pong for $10.

This is exactly the counter of the current system where, hey, maybe it's a really cool Pong game after all and it only costs a buck but $0.99 games are taking up the top of the lists so none of the games that cost more and have higher quality can be seen. <-- this is the system that we're all afraid of seeing on the Mac. In this system, users routinely become used to paying $1 for really high quality games, so that other high quality games, even if they aren't on the MAS will suffer the wrath of spoiled users from the MAS.

The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to realize this is a very serious situation that Apple is going to have to work hard to address, or else there will probably be legal challenges, if not direct legislation. The argument that, "well you can sell your app elsewhere", isn't going to work when Apple is conditioning users to expect high quality for rock bottom prices. Even Walmart has federal standards they have to abide by because of this.
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Post: #29
Maybe I'm a little bit dense but it just occurred to me that we should be able to do demos, not directly on the Mac App Store, but users could simply follow a link to a web page where they could download it and try it out. I wonder if Apple will prohibit that? I can't imagine how they could, unless they require your app to be exclusively distributed by the App Store. Has anyone heard/read anything about this?
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Post: #30
They don't let you puts links in iOS descriptions, why would they let you do it for MAS descriptions? On their current software page you can't put links to anything beyond your website and a download link right? That's already sort of frustrating.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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