updated 12:25 pm EDT, Thu April 14, 2011
Game dev group attacks Amazon Appstore price rules
An International Game Developers Association e-mail on Thursday attacked the Amazon Appstore for hurting the prices for games. A no-better-price rule that prevents even temporary price drops at rival Android app stores is believed to be forcing an unfair choice on game writers, who either have to avoid price cuts and risk losing sales or else hurt profits by cutting the price everywhere at the same time. They also criticized a familiar Amazon practice of discounting an app price on its own, which they saw as punishing developers by taking the profit out of a strong-selling app.
The IGDA said Amazon had been receptive to some issues for now but noted the store had "little incentive not to use a developer's content as a weapon" to grab share from Android Market or any other store. Amazon could just as easily clamp down if it became big enough that developers were dependent on the Appstore.
Its practices aren't uncommon and have drawn fire from the book and music fields, where similar rules on best pricing and involuntary price cuts have left content publishers only reluctantly staying onboard. In e-books, the decision created a stand-off after leaks revealed that Apple was requiring the same terms for what would become the iBookstore. The deadlock has raised concerns of price fixing, since publishers could set a high minimum price knowing no store could go lower.
Game developers have usually preferred iOS for development over Android, regardless of store, in part because of higher revenue potential. More iPad, iPhone, and iPod owners are willing to buy games where even games like Angry Birds are solely ad-supported on Android to prevent piracy.