As developers learn the intricacies of what sells and what does not with the Marketplace, they will adapt. Such a case presents itself with the developer of Impossible Shoota (see hands on), which has been downloaded 21,000 times already, making it one of the most popular apps out there (#6 in games). One of its secrets is that it is free.
Much like on Android and the iPhone, free apps that are ad supported tend to do the best. In response, Elbert Perez who makes Impossible Shoota, has made his other two games free too since they have not been doing nearly as well when selling for $0.99. Because the Marketplace doesn't yet allow developers to go from a paid app to free, he has to re-release them with a "+" at the end so "Scribble Defense+" and Zombiedmix+" are the new names. Later, these games along with Impossible Shoota are expected to gain ads through Microsoft's new XNA-supported ad system. Perez is hoping this works for him and us noting:
Hopefully this will be a successful business model for me because it benefits me and everyone out there looking for a quality game for free.
Even Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds have gone free with their Android version and it has been a huge success for them. Could free and ad supported be the secret developers need for success? We think so.