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Have you noticed there’s been a strange, if not subtle way that we as consumers view our smartphones? More specifically, the way that we view the things we have on our smartphones, or the operating system on it? It’s this belief that after we pay the money to buy our phone, or an application, that anything added to that phone or application should come to us free. It should already be ours since we paid money to get what’s being updated originally.

I find myself thinking the same thing more often than not, but I think that’s because the majority of developers have spoiled us. Even the manufacturers could be considered to have done the same thing. Updates almost seem mandatory now, something that we expect to be given to us without question.

Should there be a change to this? After all, we love our apps, right?

Applications and hardware, especially software, are liable to get some kind of bugs or hiccups over time. Even right out of the box, or right after an application’s first launch. It happens. While these developers and creators try their hardest to create the best product possible, things happen. An update is usually offered to fix the issue, and I believe that these are the updates that should be mandatory. These are the updates that should be free.

Because we paid for an experience, and if that experience is ruined in some fashion or another, then it needs to be fixed. More to the point, we shouldn’t have to pay for them to fix the experience we already paid for.

But an update to an application that boasts new features, new levels for a game, or a revamp to the next level of an operating system? I think the area is a bit gray here. I’ve already asked why we believe our phones appreciate in value over time, something that is completely focused on smartphones and their mobile operating systems, so I’m going to shy away from the operating system part of it, and focus on the applications.

I can use a pretty distinct example right out of the gate, too. Developer CHAIR has created a series of games for iOS that has become ridiculously popular since the original title launched. Apple even uses the titles in the series to promote their iPad and iPhone, that’s how good these games look and play. Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade 2 are the benchmarks of top-tier mobile gaming.

And the updates are free.

Since the first game, CHAIR has made it a point to say that their updates, which include a wide range of advancements to the game itself, including new levels, items, and almost everything in between, are free. And they have been. I don’t see this as a trend that is going to stop. Like I said above, we’re spoiled as consumers now.

Just look at the video game industry. For all intents and purposes, these developers are doing exactly the same thing, just in a different medium. They create something, we buy it, and then there are all sorts of additions released over time (usually). The difference is, these video game developers issue updates that fix the game for free, but make consumers pay for extra levels, more maps for multiplayer gaming, and more weapons. They’ve found the gray area, and they’ve made a business out of capitalizing on it.

Perhaps the question is, does that make the mobile industry that much better? Honestly, are we spoiled? If we look at the way that the majority of developers handle their applications, and the fact that they offer us so much after our purchase for free, I think the answer is pretty clear.

Yes, yes we are.

And here’s another question I pose to you: would you be willing to pay for updates to your apps, if they weren’t specifically created for maintenance? Would you be willing to pay for more levels, more items or whatever else? More features? Let me know in the comments below.


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40 Reactions to this post

"Would you pay for that Angry Birds update?"


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Felix Tran That game is fun but not enough to get my money.
Donna Jeary Greed, Greed, Greed. My phone bil has more than doubled in the last two years sure to Sprint eliminating discounts. Then after they sell you a data plan, they charge you another $10 a month to use the smartphone you bought to use the data plan. You don't see that on their tv commercials. So it's a big NO to paying extra for anything else
Gerald Knapp Nope!!!!
T Louis Michael Gene ahold of Gene Watson's new CD.
Edward Gonse Not a chance. I still have yet to get a paid app on Android.
William Young Not over my dead body
Steve Moore Bunch a damned greedy bastiches will nickel and dime you till you live in a fun hovel these days. It's not enough to pay and receive what you bought any more.. I had trouble with the data connection with a smartphone I recently purchased. I called "tech support" and the rep tried to tell me that the reason why my phone wouldn't connect properly was because I needed a more expensive plan! She tried for five mins until I demanded to speak to her superior and then she totally back tracked. Its just plain greed anymore, no one stands behind anything they try to dupe us into buying. Nice fn world we live in.
JD Punzkie No its a very very very big NO!
Peter Combs no not just angry bird update nope i wouldnt
Ben Rivas If I wanted to do that would have got an iphone 4S
John Zanatta I would pay for Android software updates if it was guaranteed and timely. App, updates??? Maybe.
Rigel Tong No thanks
Birftard Johnson I'm tired of that game already.
Ayoub Hage Angry birds has been out of my phone fOR ages....so over it
Jose Pablo Islas No...I'll buy the app, but I'm only paying once, if I buy something and then have to buy an update, I'll just uninstall it
Jose Cervantes What no waaaay :@
James Vincent There is a big difference between paying for an update and additional content... I would consider paying for added content for a game if the price is right for what you get... but I would NEVER pay for an app update unless the update was so significant its almost a whole new app
Tanmay Naik what?! app? buy?! what??!
Steve Bachman I already paid you. WHY would I pay you again? Didn't I wash that Stupid banner off of my forehead yet?
Kraksx Hacks Some iOS games have you pay more for new levels, normally it's a free app, u get a few levels, then an in app purchase buys more levels, when the app gets updated for free via app store, sometimes there will be a new option to buy more new levels. This works for some games well, and others, if they tried it would fail horribly. That's why, like angry birds, they just release new apps. The recent space addition also try's to sell you an extra world, This could be a huge sign that things are changing.
David DiPilla No that would be stupid to pay for an update
Danielle Elaine Tripp Uhh..... No?!
Mark Linden Nope, never!
Sol Foster NEVER!
Randy Reynolds No, I have to really need it to pay at all.
Matic Poznic One does not simply buy an app.
Dee Ross No. I've found that apps that update every few days just annoy me to the point of removing them when an update finally breaks the app.




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