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Jason Rohrer on going from indie to the App Store


We covered Jason Rohrer's Primrose when it first came out -- the creator of Passage, a critically-acclaimed indie game, had taken his first steps onto the iPhone with an abstract puzzle game, and in this latest interview with Edge, Rohrer says he's on the iPhone to stay. He says that when he first moved from strictly art/indie games to more commercial development on the iPhone, he worried that he was selling out: he wasn't a fan of cell phones at all or any Chinese-made gadgets sold by American companies, and yet the iPhone's platform seemed most "palatable" to him in terms of making games and a little money from them.

And yet he says the iPhone still has pros and cons -- even in an "open source, free software" world, Apple's system offers a choice: you can buy a packaged-up version of the software and throw a little money back to the developer (not a ton -- he says you've still got a better chance at making a living from Vegas than you do from the App Store), or you can still try building and installing your own version on your iPhone. As an open-source developer selling apps on the App Store, he says, "you're charging for the service and convenience, not the content."

Still, he echoes the sentiments of lots of other developers: "There is no quality filter, except for the whims of the masses." Apple's App Store offers up an intriguing system for many indie developers like Rohrer, who want to earn a little money for their games without setting up all of the complexity and burdens of a more traditional publishing channel, but it's still tough to keep from getting lost in the mix.

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