If you are a developer who has created apps for Windows Phone or Windows 8 (or both) or the some of the other platforms out there, it won’t be long before you hear a collective cry of “please make your app free” or something to that effect. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your app for $0.99 (with a limited trial), for even that is too much for a lot of users out there.
I have heard it many times from users who want me to sell Page Manager for free and I still hear it on a regular basis.
If you think that this is an attempt to guilt you into buying my app, nothing could be farther from the truth and you’re sadly mistaken.
So, if you are a user, this is my attempt to list a few reasons why (I believe) you shouldn’t ask (or expect) developers, especially Indie developers, to sell all their apps/games for free.
Ask any developer and they will tell you that creating an app and then maintaining it requires a lot of time, effort, energy, motivation and sacrifice! Oh, it also costs money!
Not every developer works for a company that’s in the business of selling apps. In fact, many of the developers I know (including myself) are Indie (independent) developers.
What’s an Indie developer you ask?
An Indie developer is someone who has a full-time job (or many part-time jobs) that in most cases, does not involve any app development of any kind (and may not even have a job in the IT industry!). They may or may not have a family to support. They have responsibilities and hobbies and generally, have a life to live. In other words dear user, an Indie developer is a person who is a whole lot like you!
Such a person becomes an Indie developer when they dare to come up with an idea for an app and then, makes a decision (more like a gamble) to:
- learn skills they need to learn in the spare time they have (or what little time they can spare)
- purchase tools/software they need (with their own money)
- invest a lot of their energy and effort
- and sacrifice even more time (time that they would like to spend with family/friends or on a break)
to bring their app to life.
If you stop to think about it dear user, you can clearly see that there is so much involved to bring an app to life. And you know what? The developer has to go through the same process to fix bugs and add new features.
How can you ask anyone who goes through all this trouble and makes all these sacrifices to bring you a great app, to not put a price for all that they have done?
If you refuse to pay for apps and are more than happy to keep using the limited trial versions or free alternatives, eventually, you will begin to see a stagnation of engaging apps in the store. Worse yet, you will begin to see the quality of existing apps drop (unless they’re made by the likes of Microsoft or Nokia or one of the few big players).
Why would an Indie developer go through all the trouble of bringing awesome apps to life, if you’re not going to appreciate him or her for their hard work?
Why would an Indie developer bother to add new features or fix bugs, if they know that users like yourself couldn’t care less about the paid apps, but will make do with the free/limited trial version?
Why would an Indie developer bring new apps to life, if you haven’t shown them any appreciation by not paying for their apps and on top of that, leave horrible reviews about how they free version is not up to your lofty standards?
Am I beginning to get through to you?
Bottom line is, if you are willing to pay, you can (and should) expect to see more engaging/quality apps and games slowly but certainly appear in the store.
Developers (Indie or otherwise) will see that you are willing to pay them for their efforts, which in turn will encourage innovation and motivate them to raise the bar in terms of what they offer.
If you want more apps/games to appear, you can help change that by paying for them OR you can complain about the lack of choice in the stores, all the while pretending not to know the reason why it is the way it is.
It’s your call.
What would you do if your boss/employer asked you to exactly what you’re doing today, but for free?
You would be very upset, wouldn’t you?
So, why is it that it’s not OK for you to work for free, but you ask us Indie developers to do it without thinking twice?
Your time, skill, effort and sacrifice is worth money but ours isn’t?
Where’s the justice and fairness in that?
What is precious to you, is equally precious to us.
Please don’t expect us to sacrifice our personal time, family time, rest, hobbies, responsibilities, obligations – our life, if you’re unwilling to show your appreciation by paying for our creation.
If you are a user, I hope that you will respect my honesty, rethink your views and make a conscious decision to start supporting developers.
If you’re a user and after reading all I’ve written, still believe that it’s totally OK for you to ask developers to offer their apps/games for free, I feel sorry for you.
Thanks for reading.