Will we ever only have to pay for an app once, even if we switch systems?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Universal. It's a word that has both negative and positive connotations. The idea of having an all-encompassing feature or plan, or anything else for that matter, is either an idea that makes you happy or pushes you away. Having a "universal application" is something that many developers aren't a fan of, and because of that we don't see the ability to buy an app on one platform and then download it again on another platform later. The reasons are obvious, but will it ever change?
I'm positive that all of you have been in the situation at least once, on two platforms at one point in time or another. Let's say, for example, you buy your favorite mobile game on Android, and then for whatever reason you switch over to Windows Phone. Instead of having that mobile game ready to download again on the new platform, the only way you can play it again is by buying the title again. And if you're someone who suffers from platform fatigue, then you could possibly be buying that same game multiple times.
For a developer, making a game (or any application) is a lot of work, and obviously they want to make money from their hard work. The most obvious way to do that is by charging for your app right up-front. Another is through charging nothing for the application itself, but by charging micro transactions within the app later. And if you develop for more than one platform, charging the same way from one to another just makes sense. But what if the end-user was paying for the game, no matter the platform they are on? The first time you buy it, the game is yours. No matter of you're on iOS or Symbian. If your game is supported, you can download it and enjoy it.
Will it happen? If the gaming publishers start snatching up more developers and development studios, maybe. If the publishers like GameLoft and EA could figure out a way to keep paying the developers, then gaining access to universal apps doesn't seem like an impossibility.
But having those huge publishers involved may mean the circumvention of the mobile application stores from Microsoft, Apple, Google and others, and that doesn't look to be happening any time soon.
If you are someone who has had to buy your applications and games on multiple platforms over and over again, would you want universal applications to become the new way to buy? Or are you perfectly happy paying again and again? Let me know in the comments below what you think.