Valve may not like it, but the Windows 8 Store is coming, and more details have emerged about pricing policies from Microsoft. The most notable: the lowest-priced paid apps will start at $1.49 instead of the 99 cents that consumers may be used to from shopping for phone or tablet apps in iOS and Android stores.
Prices can rise in 50-cent increments all the way up to $999.99. Developers can choose to release free apps, and support them with in-app purchases. Unlike other app stores, the Windows 8 will allow seven-day trial periods for users to test paid apps before purchasing them. According to an MSDN blog post, apps using trial periods that are sold in the Windows Phone store have earned as much as five times as much as apps that don't.
Microsoft is also providing incentives for successful apps. As with other app stores, the company will take a 30-percent cut of sales (including in-app purchases), but if an app earns more than $25,000, Microsoft reduces that percentage to 20 percent. Apps can also include advertising, which is always an option if developers want to offer free apps.
The company is taking some heat for bucking the app-pricing trend and having developers charge more than the standard 99 cents, but it has some good reasons for doing so -- though they aren't necessarily for the benefit of consumers. Microsoft needs to convince developers to support the Windows 8 platform, and given its experience with the Windows Phone store, it has to deviate from the norm a bit. That's because a recent Vision Mobile survey cited by ReadWriteWeb finds that the typical Windows Phone app earns its developer less than half what an Android app makes in a month -- and just a third of what an average iOS app earns.
A higher base price instantly provides developers more revenue, and the cut in Microsoft's take after the $25,000 sales threshold gives them incentive to create successful -- and therefore even more lucrative -- apps. The big question, though, is whether users will balk at the higher base prices having been conditioned to buy 99-cent apps on their mobile devices.
Considering most software for PCs has always cost far more than a couple of bucks (freeware excluded), the extra half dollar might not make a big difference to consumers used to dropping $30 for a game or utility for their desktop or laptop. Does it bother you that the base price for a paid app in the Windows 8 Store will be $1.49 instead of 99 cents? Let us know why or why not in the Talkback section below.