While we're in San Francisco at Macworld this week, there's also a Mobile Games Forum going on in London, and one of the discussions over there got a little heated when the talk turned to EA's big Christmas sale on the App Store.
Mobile developers have said before that EA's big push down on even its most premium games to 99 cents before the big App Store freeze over the holidays, flooding the App Store's top list with its own titles and claiming lots of the big holiday boosts in sales for itself, was a questionable move. Ray Sharma, founder of indie game developer XMG Studio, had this to say: "I think Electronic Arts really screwed the industry at Christmas time, and it's unfortunate, because of what Apple did to support them... They basically saturated the whole iOS community, they got 160 million units out there, and as a developer you had to sit there and watch Electronic Arts saturate the whole app economy." Sharma also said he estimates that XMG lost 15-20 percent of December revenue from its iOS games because of EA's move and Apple's support of it.
Of course, we're not sure where Sharma can get a number like that -- it's very hard to estimate what people would have bought that they didn't, not to mention that a lot of people see developer complaints about EA's pricing as sour grapes. But it is interesting -- Sharma also promises that if the push towards freemium apps on the App Store continues, EA will eventually regret dropping prices so low, as it won't be able to compete with indie developers at the same price levels, given the costs in creating its premium, often licensed games.
We'll be talking to more developers of all kinds of software here at Macworld, and we'll be sure to gauge other reactions to EA's price drops as the week goes along.