While some view mobile app pricing as a race to the bottom, Take-Two Interactive believes their $19.99 premium price point for its console-quality "XCOM" title has proven quality software can command a higher price.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during his company's quarterly earnings conference call this week, as noted by Pocket Gamer, that the success of XCOM: Enemy Unknown on iOS was a success. In his eyes, the popularity of the title "illustrates that consumers are willing to pay a premium price for premium entertainment."
Zelnick did not offer any specific sales figures on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but the title did crack the top 10 grossing applications on the App Store within its first week. The title was a port of a PC and console game that, when it launched on iOS, was less than a year old.
"This bodes well for the opportunity to delivery profitably our most immersive AAA titles to mobile platforms as they evolve," Zelnick said.
Take-Two's apparent success at the $20 level stands in contrast to mobile app pricing trends, which some have viewed as a "race to the bottom." One study released earlier this month found that iPad users pay an average of 50 cents per application downloaded, while iPhone owners pay just 19 cents per app.
As of Wednesday morning, just one of the top 43 grossing applications on the iPhone App Store was a paid download: Minecraft - Pocket Edition. On the iPad, Minecraft is the only paid option among the top 37, with the newly released djay 2 coming in at No. 38 for $4.99.
Game publishers and developers have been increasingly leaning toward "freemium" titles, which are free to download but include in-app purchases for game content. Electronic Arts, for example, revealed last week that it makes more money off of Apple's iOS App Store than its own Origin download service for PC and Mac. EA in particular highlighted freemium titles The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, and The Sims Freeplay.
Apple's iOS platform may attract more console-quality titles like XCOM: Enemy Unknown when official "Made for iPhone" gaming controllers debut later this year. The upcoming iOS 7 software update will add support for such peripherals, offering more precise controls for traditional console-style games than a touchpad can offer.