Very few people are willing to pay for content any more, be it music, news, or apps. Singers are seeing revenues plummet thanks to streaming, web sites are folding due to lack of income, and developers aren’t able to feed their families simply by selling through the App Store. There are some notable exception, but increasingly creating content is becoming unsustainable. Perhaps new business models will emerge, perhaps not. For now, it’s a harsh reality the various industries are just starting to come to terms with.
Brent Simmons, writing for Inessential:
You the indie developer could become the next Flexibits. Could. But almost certainly not. Okay — not.
What’s more likely is that you’ll find yourself working on a Mobile Experience for a Big National Brand(tm) and doing the apps you want to write in your spare time.
If there’s a way out of despair, it’s in changing our expectations.
Write the apps you want to write in your free time and out of love for the platform and for those specific apps. Take risks. Make those apps interesting and different. Don’t play it safe. If you’re not expecting money, you have nothing to lose.
when expressing frustration with the current economics of the App Store, we need to consider the effect of this mass supply of enthusiastic, creative developers. As it gets ever easier to write apps, and we’re more able to express our creativity by building apps, the market suffers more from the economic problems of other creative fields.
The good news and the bad news are the same: we’re extremely lucky to be paid to do this. In our careers as software designers and developers, we’re able to create and share things we love, and we’re able to make a decent living. With luck, we’ll still be able to do both at once.
It became easy enough to make apps, and the prospect of having a hit app became attractive enough, that the market was flooded. In terms of raw numbers, supply vastly exceeded demand.
Some believe that if Apple created a premium App Store, or provided for demo periods or upgrade pricing, or made it harder to develop or get apps approved, it would either increase perceived value or lower supply. Others, that if enough developers held the line on pricing, it would raise all apps.
Perhaps. But truly fantastic apps are still few and far between, and enough people seem satisfied with “free” apps that it may not matter any more.
If so, then maybe we are moving into the age of indie apps for love, not money. And hopefully we don’t just get what we’re willing to pay for.