It’s interesting to read the opinions of the Whale Trail developers with regards to their pricing strategy. I’m paraphrasing from an article on GamesIndustry.biz, but if I’m not mistaken they are losing faith in ‘premium pricing’ (aka – selling stuff for money) because the money they made off the App Store didn’t cover the cost of developing the game. They are also dissatisfied with the sales figures based on their marketing spend, question the validity of even charging for a game on a mobile device, and are using the performance of the title on Android to decide whether to go ‘freemium’ (aka – giving stuff away) in the future.

Some thoughts spring to mind…

Does marketing spend ever correlate with sales? Nope, and when it does it’s pure coincidence.

Should developers be giving stuff away because it doesn’t sell? Nope, they should question the product and their expectations instead of questioning people who didn’t buy. And besides, the game is selling – but given the cost of the game the money earned through sales seems less than great – but at 140,000 downloads to date and 700 subsequent downloads a day – that should actually be a pretty nice earner for an indie.

So what really went wrong here? Well, answer me this:

If the game cost $250,000 to develop – where did the other $240,000 go?