The fact is that there is a finite appetite to pay for apps (it’s called a “market”). Each person will have a threshold for what they’re willing to pay for apps and services in a given year. Each app and service is vying for a larger piece of that pie. And subscriptions eat into that threshold much, much quicker than one-off $4.99 purchase prices.
Said another way, we’re testing the boundaries of app price elasticity here.
Developers are experimenting with subscription pricing because it seems like a good way to bring some predictability to their revenue. And it gives them an opportunity to try and earn a bit more from each individual customer. The problem for users is that many of these subscriptions are priced much higher than what we’ve become accustomed to.
But those low, single transaction prices were not sustainable for developers. If you want these types of well-designed apps to continue, a few dollars for life just isn’t going to cut it. Perhaps the new pricing is too high, but it will take a few years of experimentation before everyone settles in on what the market can bear. In the meantime, if you feel the need to complain, at least be kind about it. Developers get a lot of flack when they change pricing models and there’s no reason to pile on.