Apple unveiled the most sweeping change yet to the App Store pricing model it’s applying to all apps submitted to its app stores on Tuesday. In the new system, app developers will have more control over how their apps are priced.
Apple’s App Store has a history of offering app and game developers relatively limited price point options. With the new policies, the minimum application price has decreased from $0.99 to $0.29, and the maximum has increased from $1,000 to $10,000. Prices can include $0.10, $0.50, $1, $5, $10 and $100. Supported conventions include X.99, X.00, X.90, and X.95.
Here’s Apple’s specific wording:
Under the updated App Store pricing system, all developers will have the ability to choose from 900 price points, which is roughly 10 times the number of price points previously available for most apps. This includes 600 new price points to choose from, with 100 higher price points available on request. To provide developers around the world with more flexibility, the price points — which will start at $0.29 and, on demand, up to $10,000 — will offer an enhanced set of price points, increasing incrementally across price ranges (for example, every $0.10 to 10). $; every $0.50 between $10 and $50; etc). See the table below for details.
Prices can be set on a per country basis. This allows developers to respond to inflation and shifts in exchange rates. Developers can set a base price for the storefront and currency they know best, and they’ll see auto-generated suggestions for prices for other regions and currencies – which they can either accept or exchange for their chosen rates.
Apps that offer auto-renewing subscriptions will be able to take advantage of these changes starting today. Developers of apps without subscriptions will have to wait until an unspecified date in the spring of 2023.
Before now, most of the changes to the App Store’s pricing system were additions of new types of fees, whether it be extended in-app purchases or subscription models. Along with these additions, this is the most fundamental change to the App Store’s pricing model and policies since its launch.
Several forces paved the way or contributed to this change. In 2021, Apple agreed to ease price restrictions in the wake of a class action lawsuit by a coalition of third-party developers. More broadly, the company has faced intense regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers and public criticism from developers. Like many other recent App Store policy changes, this shift may be an attempt to get ahead of future crackdowns.
The changes were also made to help Apple and the developers in its ecosystem navigate the volatile economic landscape of late, with higher-than-usual inflation and exchange rate volatility. Apple will also likely introduce these new prices to prepare for new types of content, tools, and experiences that can be sold for its upcoming mixed reality headset, which is likely to launch in 2023.
Listing image by Samuel Axon
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