The Casual Connect gaming conference is going on in Kiev, Ukraine this week, and while there, Square Enix's General Manager of Mobile for Europe Antony Douglas expressed that his company is considering lowering its prices on iOS. By itself, that's not a very surprising notion: Most companies these days are realizing that lower prices on the App Store open up to a much larger audience, and there are other ways to monetize apps rather than just the traditional pricing model.
But what's interesting here is that Square Enix is considering such a notion. The venerated Japanese RPG company has released quite a few apps on iOS, and its most popular apps (including Chrono Trigger and the more recent World Ends With You) have been priced significantly higher than even other very polished iOS games (US$9.99 and $19.99 for those two, respectively). In the past, we've seen this as a sign that game developers can still ask a premium price for premium content, and certainly Square Enix's games seem to have been doing well. Final Fantasy Tactics is another example -- a long-awaited game that was priced at $17.99 on the iPad.
Douglas does confirm that these games are selling well, but he also says that the pricing "has been commented on quite a lot in Europe in the West," and that the more traditional Japanese overseers of the company are "seeing the feedback, and there will probably be changes in the way that it's structured." At the same time, however, he says the Japanese hold the view that quality games should have a premium price, and he suggests (correctly so) that "$20 for something you can play for 30 or 40 hours is still cheaper than what you can get on a handheld."
So we'll have to see if Square Enix changes its pricing in the future. If anyone can command higher prices for these titles, it's obviously them, but it's also true that as prices drop, sales on the App Store tend to go up. So it's possible that Square Enix could sell more copies and make even more money with a larger potential audience if they go with a lower price.
[via Slide to Play]