As free apps continue to spoil us, don't forget that indie developers deserve to get paid
The human race has reached peak entitlement, and it's all the App Store's fault.
Apple's software marketplace has done a lot of good for consumers and developers. Without it, downloading software would still be an arduous process that most people would rather forgo, and it's unlikely that many of the world's largest companies would exist in their current forms. The App Store has also undoubtedly made life easier for independent developers.
But damned if the promise of cheap software hasn't turned some people into entitled little jerks who think their pocket change is worth more than months of someone else's work. That's what happened earlier this week when Monument Valley, a game based on exploring surreal, colorful landscapes, released an update that nearly doubled the number of levels available in the game and had the gall to charge users two extra bucks for it.
Monument Valley has since been inundated with one-star reviews complaining that its developers are charging more than the new levels are worth, especially since they already paid $4 for the game and the ten levels with which it launched. Apparently paying half as much for almost the same amount of content is an outrageous proposition to consumers used to receiving free software updates.
Just to be clear: these people are outraged about the proposition of paying $2 to almost double the number of levels available in a critically-adored game made by independent developers. So as far as reasons to be outraged go, this one's right up there with being so upset that Twitter hasn't verified you yet.
The App Store might not have directly created this sense of entitlement, but it certainly made it easier for people to think that software should be cheap (or free) and constantly updated. Large companies might be able to meet those two goals because of their reliance on advertising or the in-app purchases so many people profess to hate, but independent developers often can't do so.
So here's a proposition: once a developer starts asking for hundreds of dollars for a mobile game -- which would make it cost more than its console counterparts -- then people can be outraged. Until then they should shut up and either pay $4 for the original game and $2 for the expansion, or admit that they're entitled little misers who ignored such a cheap game.