Microsoft seems to be seeking to be more developer friendly. A month after introducing ‘universal’ app “Halo: Spartan Assault” that made the app launch both on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 simultaneously. Now, Microsoft has stated that it will allow developers to launch two OS specific versions of the same app. So, if a user buys access to one of the apps on one platform, he will get access to the app on the other Windows powered platform as well.
However, Microsoft has come through with a strange measure.
You, as a developer do not need to price the app the same on different Operating Systems. So, you might price the app a bit lower on Windows Phone 8.1 and more on Windows 8.1. So, if the user buys the app for a lower price on Windows Phone 8.1, he can download and access the same on a Windows 8.1 PC. So, what’s the point in pricing the app higher on one Operating System and lower on the other?
Well, this could swing both ways. Users could be inspired to buy an app at a lower cost from a different platform, as he would know that he could access it on different platforms at the same time. However, there is a different side to the story too. If a user sees that he bought the app at a higher cost, then app developers might lose out on customer loyalty.
What Should Developers Do?
It doesn’t make sense to price apps differently on different platforms if you choose to make the app available for download on all Windows platforms. You can come out with special offers and prices in one platform for a limited time. This would ensure that the user is ‘inspired’ to buy the app when he sees the special discount on one platform and would also not put customer loyalty at stake. The user would know that the offer is for a limited time. On the other hand, if you price the app differently on different Windows platforms, this would mean that you might risk and lose out on customer loyalty.
The approach adopted by Microsoft is in stark contrast to that adopted by Apple. Apple users can buy different versions of the app on the Mac store and the iOS store. So, Fifa 14 or other games do not cost the same on the iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Mac store. In fact, in the case of Fifa, Electronic Arts has adopted a freemium model for the iOS version, something you do not normally see otherwise.
Microsoft’s approach means that you need to design your game uniformly for different platforms, i.e. in case you want to design an universal app.