Home Your Tech Entertainment Entertainment Will iPad games cost too much, or does it not matter?

Will iPad games cost too much, or does it not matter?

Reports that iPad games will cost more than iPhone and iPod Touch games have arisen through leaked screenshots of iPad App Store pricing for 'HD' versions of existing iPhone games recreated for the iPad, but will higher pricing truly prevail?

Following leads of iPad App Store screenshots showing pricing for the HD or XL iPad versions of existing iPhone and iPod Touch games, some have claimed that these prices are too expensive.

A case in point comes from Macenstein which claims that 'iPad game pricing is gonna suck', complete with a screenshot of the iPad App Store showing games such as Flight Control HD at US $4.99, Real Racing HD for US $9.99, Cro-Mag Rally for iPad at US $9.99 and more.

Naturally these prices will be higher still when converted to Australian dollars, but given the iPad is a brand new device, developers are clearly going to 'try it on' to see just what the market will be in terms of iPad pricing.

Prices started somewhat higher on the iPhone and iPod Touch when the App Store, but prices quickly fell as competition increased, with examples such as Super Monkey Ball or Cro-Mag Racer having fallen after the initial buzz wore off.

Even James Cameron's Avatar game, which started life at AUD $12.99 is now available for AUD $8.99 today, although whether this is because the game isn't as compelling as the movie or other first person shooter-type games is open to question.

The fact is that whenever something new is on the scene, prices are generally higher than they'll be further down the track. Early adopters are well aware of this phenomenon - even the iPhone itself in its original 2G incarnation saw a famous price drop a couple of months after it first launched.

Compared with pricing for handheld games consoles or regular PC gaming pricing, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad games are priced far more competitively, something that has led to a great volume of sales coupled with a great volume of actual apps.

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Ask any parent or teen who has to spend far more on a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP title which they'd prefer: more expensive physical games cartridges or discs, or far cheaper App store iDevice downloads.

There's also the issue of competing 'app store' platforms for Windows Mobile or Nokia phones generally having much higher pricing than that for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Given the leaked screenshots, it's easy to see that initial iPad app pricing is definitely higher than equivalent iPhone app pricing, but in a free and competitive world, price competition will soon rear its welcome head, lowering prices for all while continuing to make those successful developers a heck of a lot of money.

iPad app prices are clearly starting higher, but market forces will sort out the wheat from the chaff, and prices will fall.

On top of that, no-one is forcing consumers to buy at the higher prices anyway. If you're unhappy about a price, then vote with your fingers and buy something else, or forego that app.

If developers aren't getting the prices they want, they'll lower those prices, while sales and specials will surely follow.

If developers do get scads of people buying at the higher prices, well those prices will take longer to fall, but as noted, it's a free market and developers are free to charge what they want.

So'¦ if you're an early adopter, then prepare to pay early adopter pricing, even if at the prices concerned they're still, for the most part, far cheaper than you'd have ever paid for a games console app, regular computer app or competing smartphone app at any time in recent history. 



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.