In reaction we decided that from the next update on, Drei will be free of charge. To be precise, it will be free to play the first levels, but then the player has to put down $3 to play all levels. (You don't have to pay again if you have purchased Drei before.)
After this whole discussion I find the app market a super annoying place. And I don't think the problem is the consumer. If you can get something for free, why pay for it? And it's not Apple neither, of course they sell developers the dream of becoming rich, they rely on good contents to sell their hardware – that's where Apple makes the Benjamins.
So where does the problem lie?
I believe it's right here, it's us. Like many small and medium-sized developers and publishers we try to compete with big companies in a crowded market place. By making good contents cheap, even free. Big companies can afford to invest into advertising and create a volume that allows to offer their games for free and still make enough from in-app purchases. Let's face it, we can't. And shouldn't.
(This problem reminds me of the internal tax competition in Switzerland, where a few districts lowered their taxes and therefore attracted a lot of rich people and international companies. Many districts copied this successful model. A few years later almost all of these low-tax districts can't cover their spending and their new citizens show little bond to the place or each other, after all they're there because of financial reasons.)
Independent publishing is a great thing, let's not self-destroy it. Listen, creators of good contents: it's time to form a cartel! Let them dump their junk for free. Good digital contents are rare; people will always pay for good things... if they have to.
Wikipedia says: Several economic studies and legal decisions of antitrust authorities have found that the median price increase achieved by cartels in the last 200 years is around 25%. Private international cartels (those with participants from two or more nations) had an average price increase of 28%, whereas domestic cartels averaged 18%. Fewer than 10% of all cartels in the sample failed to raise market prices.
Come, let's do this. Let's fix minimum prices! Who's with us?