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Microsoft unifies pricing tiers for universal Windows and Windows Phone apps

Windows Phone Store

Back at Build 2014 (remember that, two weeks ago?), Microsoft announced their initiative to unify apps across their entire ecosystem. That way a developer could build an app once and deploy it to Windows Phone, Windows, and even Xbox. But to make that a reality there was some back-end housekeeping to be done in order to make that a possibility. One of those steps: making it so you can price apps the same across all the stores.

To that end, Microsoft announced today that they're simplifying and consolidating the pricing tiers between Windows and Windows Phone. The end result of that is the addition of tiers for $0.99 apps and $1.29 apps for Windows. Microsoft noted that apps in that price range currently account for 55% of Windows Phone app sales.

Of course, you don't have to price your app that low, but if you intend to build a universal app for Windows and Windows Phone, you'll be looking at the same price on all platforms.

Additionally, Microsoft is making adjustments in its international pricing based on changes in the exchange rate, though they haven't specified which countries can expect to see their prices raised or lowered accordingly. Developers are encouraged to check the Dev Center and make any manual changes to their app pricing as they see fit. And they're telling us to keep an eye out for additional changes coming later in the week, so stay tuned to Windows Phone Central for the next moves in the Windows and Windows Phone stores.

Source: Microsoft

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Reader comments

Microsoft unifies pricing tiers for universal Windows and Windows Phone apps

197 Comments

Free WITH ADS right? If you like ads, you should buy Android anyway. Google will make sure those ad agencies get your data safely. WP you get two options - paid (no ads), trial (with ads and live tile limit)

I don't really care about ADS, as long as i have option to remove them(paying), app has to be worth it. WPCentral app doesn't even support videos or podcasts. Aswell browsing forums through it is a pain in the ass and some of the features are locked until you buy it. It didn't got improved for quite a while, i was on a verge to buy it.

And i have nothing to hide from google, it can read my 999999 new spam letters whenever it wants from my gmail inbox

If I'm not mistaken the WPCentral app on Windows Phone is free... You can use the trial if you want it free. If you want a live tile (something you can't have on android) and toast notifications then you can buy the full version.

but to go on a tangent who and the hell buys a smart phone yet balks at .99 apps get a fn life.

if you can afford a smartphone i dont think one less mcchicken is going to kill you

the app does support podcast and video. deep linking.

Im not that type of person who eats shit like you do.

This app is a disaster, it isn't worth a single penny, but it's way too hard for you to understand. Since you're used to buy and eat shit

Grow up you sad little boy. Not only have i happily paid for this app i would pay again for the value it provides. Why do small minded people like you expect so much for free? Because Google has given stuff away and now you think everyone should work for free. Newflash! there is no such thing as a free lunch, Google give stuff away so that they can read your data and target you with ads where they make money,. everyone pays, if you are too stupid to notice  then more fool you.

Your grammar sucks sweaty donkey balls. Newsflash to you, redneck, Google doesn't provide the WPC app to android users, WPC provides the WPC app to android users for free.

If you think my gammar sucks perhaps you need to go back to school. Yes I know that WPC supplied the android app free but its a different app from a different developer and it offers a fraction of the functionality. But then i wouldn't expect you to know that given the way you talk you sad pathetic little fuck tard.

You're missing commas and proper words. And since I actually have used both the android and windows phone WPC app, I can assure you the only thing the windows phone app has that is better is the live tile, and that isn't anything special. It is only personal preference. Now go back to masturbating in your grandma's basement.

Fuck this is so out of hand. I don't even no who the troll was now

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You're the one who came in with guns blazing in the wind.. But as they say, the more ignorant being is the one that argues with the ignorant one. I'll stop being ignorant.

Speaking of grammer "used to buy and eat shit" should be buying and eating shit.

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The best thing is instead nigging why don't you try to give your feedback and tell them what to improve in their APP. That's how mature behave so behave like one.

You know, I remember seeing a study somewhere about a few years back (long before Windows Phone took off), that a significant amount of peoples' monthly data was sucked dry due to ads placed in free apps.  I remembering uninstalling all my free apps (I was an Android user at the time) for a couple of months, and comparing my monthly data usage to all the previous months I had used free apps.  And sure enough, I discovered I had been blowing through a 20% to 30% chunk of my monthly data cap.  

Ever since then, I always pay for my apps.  Wireless data costs too damned much to be wasting it paying someone else's bills.  And the few bucks that I thought I was saving by using free apps, I was more than paying for in the form of data overage charges, or raising my monthly data limit to the next tier from my carrier. 

I guess what I am saying is, that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  We all pay one way or the other.  Whether it is Google selling all your most personal info to God knows, who; or whether its all the wireless data those ads are eating up running in the background, free apps are just not worth it.  Better to pay the app developer for their hard work up front, and call it a day.

Ad agencies don't actually get our data. Google keeps it, and they just target ads. Same exact way Microsoft keeps your data, and then targets ads through bing.

It's the level at which Google is aquiring data and the methods they use to do it that is the issue most people are concerned about. 

 

MS is basically taking a users Bing search history and using it to display ads targeted at related topics.  Google also does this, but it's the additional scanning of what most people would consider personal data that is the concern.  Google basically provides a whole bunch of mostly free products/services that are all designed to aquire data about the users.  For example, they scan emails in gmail accounts, documents stored in gdrive, and collect data from interactions with Android. 

 

In the Xbox example, MS is basically just letting an advertiser target "males ages 20 to 40" which is based on the info you have entered into your public gamer profile.  Google on the other hand could see that you forwarded a pro democrat/republican chain email to other people and use that information to target you with political ads.

 

On the surface "targeted advertizing" sounds like the same thing, but the level of intrusiveness is very important.

Thank you for writing this. Only if people get more educated with real deal before jumping on how everything Android has is free. There is a reason for it. Nothing on this green earth was ever free, will never be.

Of course they do. And Apple does it too. If you read the terms and conditions of the pages and browsers, you see that by using the services you are consenting to that collection of data.

Also, I'm not sure if this happens in the US too, but now every site that uses cookies is forced to show you a message that warns you that they do so and that they collect data from you.

Never said Microsoft sold data. Targeting =/= selling.

And Google doesn't sell to third parties, they just allow third parties to advertise. Unless you can find actual information that isn't from WPC, Microsoft, or blogs that can show Google has literally sold identification data to someone else.

I use the app across both platforms and I can honestly say there are no ads on my Android version of WPCentral...

The thing that really annoys me is that I can't get Android Central or Smartwatch Fans apps on my Windows Phone...

Those apps are coming. They are being made available according to OS size. Android is done. Next the apps will be on iOS and after that they'll be put on Windows Phone and Blackberry.

Root your phone download adblock then there will be no such things as ads on your phone haha

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Indeed it does, WP app seems ridiculously unintuive and as i mentioned before comments section is simply awful

It's really difficult to follow a conversation in the WP app as there is only one tier for all responses, be nice if that were changed.

I just feel like the theme colors just make it sometimes hard to look at, and can actually make it look very amateurish. To me the Anroid app seems a lot more profesional looking.

And you're fallacious. No need to call anyone an asshole. And if you don't care, then show you don't care by easily not saying anything.

Now for them to make it so you only have to pay once on one device(your WP for example) and not again on your other (W8 tablet or Xbox).

I am sure they mentioned that. I definitely read it somewhere, and I have been waiting for WPC to mention it. I am sure it was said that if you buy it once, you get it for all devices.

Not automatically. They said the dev gets the option of publishing universal apps as buy once, or separate purchases

In other words, unified apps will double their price. Hopefully devs will see that's a stupid move. You sell more with lower prices.

And does anyone actually buy it? (And don't forget until fairly recently you could forge the app placement in the charts on iOS).
here's a game on WP that's 13€ too I think. But I doubt they'll sell much.

Unified apps are on 3 screens after paying once. That is buying 3 apps for one payment. That is paying for 3 apps in one go. That is paying £1.29 for 3 apps instead of £0.99 each. What is wrong with that?

That's good. That's what I liked about iOS. One didn't need to pay twice for the same app on iPhone and iPad.

Good to see Microsoft doing this too.

That's a 30% price hike under the assumption we're going to be using the app on multiple devices - and many devs might not be so generous.

I understand the concern, though in practice I don't mind chipping in a little extra for the development time put into making it universal. So long as developers don't get carried away, of course.

That's assuming the jump if from 0.99 to 1.29. Which isn't a sure thing. Developers, if they're offering an app on 3 screens, may very well increase it so you pay the price of 3 individual apps anyway.

 

Also, why would I want to pay more for 3 screens if I only use it on one? The majority of people will NOT have a Windows combo (PC+tablet+smartphone). So they will be forced to pay for the hypothetical advantage they won't have. And you can say "well, they can change OS on the missing devices...but you know that only a madman would buy a new tablet just because of some apps.

 

And even for those who, like me, have a Windows-Combo, this isn't exactly good. While I may enjoy, for example, paying once for the WPCentral App or for a game and have it cross devices, why should I pay more for, say, a Weather app that I know I will never use neither on PC nor Tablet? OR a calendar that I know I will not use on PC or tablet?

 

The unification is a nice idea in theory but I think it's not that really good. I think it would be better if you paid the price for 1 app and then if you wanted to unlock it on other screens you could do it through a smaller IAP.

So, for example, you get a really cool calendar App on WP. You pay 0.99€ for it. If you want to unlock it on a 2520, you unlock it through an IAP on the device you bought it in and that would allow you to then use it on another screen.

I think it would be a better approach for everyone. For those who don't want to pay more for something they won't use; for those who want more screens; and for the developers who would not lose sales because of price hikes.

Because what may happen is that you have a 0.99 app. Because you make it work with extra screens, you hike the price to 1.99 or 2.99. People who would buy your app on their phones only will no longer buy it because instead of paying 0.99, they'll be forced to pay 1.99 or 2.99 for something they'll never use (the extra screen). So the developer instead of making money out of those 0.99, will not make any money.

 

Strategy. Having to pay for apps you cant use because you have a Mac or iPad acts as a deterrent. You pay for one app your really want, you pay for two but then you start thinking - why am I also paying for stuff on iPad separately when I want it, when just by paying on WP, I can get it on any Windows OS!? That's when next time you purchase, you go Windows. In Steve Jobs language, "Chain them so tight to things they buy, they cant leave our ecosystem." Most homes will upgrade to Windows 8. Most people will buy things on Xbox. These things are already in houses in hundreds of millions. Once they get on Xbox, they want a phone where it is free, not an iPhone.

Exactly, that's what Apple and, to a lesser extent, Google are doing with their ecosystems. Another example is Steam, you buy a game on your PC and get the Mac and Linux versions for free.

"why am I also paying for stuff on iPad separately when I want it, when just by paying on WP, I can get it on any Windows OS!? That's when next time you purchase, you go Windows."

 

You do see how very very very easily this will turn against Microsoft, right? They don't have the upper hand here, neither in mobile nor tablet OSs.

If people go that route, I can see them way easily buying an iPhone next time since they already bought stuff on their iPad. Or vice-versa. Only people who would buy it on Windows would probably feel compeled to buy a Windows tablet or smartphone then...but I'm ready to bet the majority of people on Windows 8 don't buy apps on the Store.

 

I think, for a strategy, given Microsoft's position, it's a terrible strategy. Again, it's trying to copy Apple when they aren't in position to do so.

As a believer in the free market, I want to believe that consumer demand (or lack thereof) will do that. But humans are greedy by nature.

Honestly when I first saw Asphalt for like 2$ I was like whoa this seems worth it on windows 8 PC, and when u get that low or lower for a good game like that, people will be interested and wouldn't mind sparing a buck or 2 for a full game...

I see ur point but I guess it all depends on what game is going to be unified and if the price is justified I guess! I.e. Skulls of Shogan is too expensive for my liking (a game that I'll play only when I have SOME time for $5 and some isn't my cup of tea). But if it were that same price on WP and I could get it on W8 as well since it's unified, hell yes I would get it. that's a bargain, IMO

Asphalt is an interesting case actually. For way over a year Asphalt 7 was 0.99 on WP8 and 2.something on W8.

Then, suddenly, Gameloft hiked the price to 4.99 on WP8 (maybe because people would prefer to spend 0.99 on Asphalt 7 than get that crappy non-Xbox Asphalt 8? Don't know). I am pretty sure Gameloft sold more copies of Asphalt 7 on both Windows Phone and Windows 8 while they had the WP version for 0.99 than since they hiked the price to 4.99.

Except I bet you, you won't. The moment Gameloft puts it on 3 screens (IF they do it...which I doubt) they'll hike the price to 10€ or more: the price of a normal crappy PC game (because, lets face it, these games will always be crappy on a PC).

That's exactly what it means. If a developer links their apps together between the stores, purchasing it (or IAP) on one platform gives you the app on both.

Nope, Universal apps still compiles to two separate binaries and the unified store will download the correct version based on the device you're using and developers can choose that you have to pay separately for each one. Microsoft only allows a unified price but does not enforce it, which has been clearly mentioned at Build 2014.

Is there an option for one purchase across platforms?
If an app is just a port I shouldn't have to buy it twice for a different format. This isn't the MPAA/RIAA, here.

This is an option that I welcome and would like to see on windows platforms, including xbox. A bundle price for all platforms. It's as if you're telling a user surrounded by microsoft ecosystem "hey, would you like to pay for a bundle and use the app accross all your platforms". Thus, increasing the app/game revenue.

True, but that's a different story. He meant unifying app purchase on all microsoft platforms. 1 purchase for all platforms, If the app exists on all platforms.

i know right? i cant believe how long the wait seemed, and now that its over time has just flown by. hell, this coming week could bring us the dev preview of wp 8.1, but i dont wanna hold my breath when it comes to microsoft, cause you might just suffocate and die :T

Unification...I'm so stoked about this. WP, Windows, AND Xbox?! I'm so stoked!! (Yes, did I mention I'm so stoked? Cuz I am!)

Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0. Now at 43 points. Definitely safe from relegation so their season is now over and they can relax with the last few games. So yeah, even Stoke is stoked. But I'm a Liverpool fan actually so I'm more stoked that their are at the top of the league and I'll be super duper stoked if they beat MC tonite! :P

I see devs making universal apps at a higher price and still offering platform-specific apps at the usual lower prices.

This makes sense to me. If  someone has a Mac and an iPod, but uses a WP device, why pay $9.99 (for example) for a 'universal' app that said person will only be using on a WP device.  Giving the price option for a single device use would be great.

 

Either way the universal app store was the biggest news that didn't get any coverage its what everyone was asking for they were bitching because they didn't want to pay multiple times for apps. Now they are bitching cause they may only have to pay once.

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app unification will allow me to buy apps on my wp with my phone credit and use it on my windows 8 laptop! i like this 

Would this allow for one who owns a preexisting app on either platform (W8 or WP8) to use it without purchasing it on the opposite platform?

Yes if developers make that app as an universal update and push a free update to existing app instead of making a new app.

well, I have WPCentral app on both Windows 8.1 and WP8, so will they get the free update to be one app?

I was wondering how they'll handle name unification on both platforms. What if the same name is owned by different companies on each platform? Who gets to have when unified.

You actually have to now reserve the name for unified apps. However if you have already published an app, even though you still have to go reserve the name, your application display name in the store can remain the same even if you may have to change the internal application name if it's already taken.

Seems like there are a couple buttons behind the scenes Microsoft need to push(click) to enable WP8.1 before they can release it ;)

Hopefully this will mean existing apps will be converted to universal apps. Believe it when it happens.
As universal apps will only work in WP8.1 it will be 2 - 4 months before it is out there in large numbers. How long till devs convert their apps or start to make new apps? If an app is converted to a universal app, will someone that purchased it as a normal app get access to the universal app abilities?

Not all Windows Phone apps can be converted to universal apps as there is still a lack of certain Windows Phone APIs in universal apps. I think most developers who have already published Window Phone apps but not Windows Store apps will simply continue to use the next version of Silverlight for Windows Phone 8.1. Once they developed a complete version of their app for Windows Runtime, then it will be very easy to turn it into a Universal app and make some UI and API changes to better fit WP and then drop the Silverlight version for good. However one thing for sure, WP7 is reaching the end of its life.

Yeah I'm not 100% sure i feel like converting all my apps from Silverlight to universal...i'll def do it with "slated" cos my WP version kicks the crap out of my crappy windows version (that was one of my first attempts at an app) any new apps i make will def be universal :)

So the question I have is if I purchased angry birds for on my WP, will I now be able to download on my surface?

But angry birds is not a universal app. This scheme only applies to universal apps and I don't think the developers would spend more time and cost to convert their games in order to earn even less.

I love the idea of unifying apps, but I don't understand why MS structured the payment scheme like this. All I want is that when I buy the same apps on the different devices, I can have discounts. Let's say I can buy an app from W8 for 4.99$ then buy the same app for 1.99$ from WP8 or vice versa.

of course. Dev would still have the option to build only one platform.

this will only be applicable if they plan to make One App for three VS of platform.

Its actually worth the money specially if you are only using one Live account for all of your devices.

however I cant See this option being implemented this year.. some dev may try but I doubt! 2015 may be the best year for testing!

Does this mean... for example...

You can buy Halo: Spartain Assult for Windows Phone and it be ready, waiting and paid for on Windows 8 & Xbox??

I couldn't connect to android central or windows phone central or Google earlier even after a full network reboot

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To all bitching about having to pay for WP app, while free on Android. Lead, ( become a dev) follow, (buy the app) or get out(don't bitch, try to post constructive comments)

They finally have there end and tools ready.
They put it in devs hand now

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We talk about pricing and ads on apps. I am looking at developing games for smartphones as a hobby. But find a small way to generate revenue from it. I know some apps can handle ads while others can't. When I was an Android user I got to download angry birds on there free, but it was ad supported which slowed down the game or crashed it altogether. That is why I will charge a small amount of money for the games I make. Because ads slow a game down. Even Microsoft's own shuffle party gets laggy with the ads.