How an old video game inspired a Bengaluru developer to accurately price his app
A Bengaluru-based developer creates a colour-picking app and prices it perfectly based on an old video game, Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Deciding an object or service’s financial value can be difficult for many reasons. According to Behavioral Economics our perception of value is entirely subject to our surroundings and standards.
When deciding whether or not to make a purchase we consider objective factors such as how much we have paid for it in the past or how much the standard cost is, along with more subjective factors such as how much enjoyment will this give me.
Identifying and considering all of these factors to produce an exact cost for a product or service can be very tough. You may charge too little and set a low standard for what your service/ product is worth, or worse, you may set it too high and receive no customers at all.
One Bengaluru based developer, Kushagra Agarwal, recently launched Cone, a Colour picking app for the real world, and instead of fretting over the price, he took guidance from an unusual source to accurately price the new product.
In a recent blog post, Agarwal detailed exactly how he came up with the price of his app using experience from a video game, Roller Coaster Tycoon. As Agarwal explains, in the game you run a theme park and you can decide to set the price per ride or per entry into the park. The game also has an additional feature which shows customer’s opinions and reviews, such as “really good value” allowing you to raise or lower the prices accordingly. Agarwal noticed a comparison between this game’s feature and the comments that were left about Cone on the app store. As a result he was able to more accurately set the price for his app which customers were happy to pay while accurately reflected the value of its service.
I caught up with Agarwal to see how Cone is doing and what advice he would have for others who are trying to decide on a price for their product.
Is there anything you would have done differently when releasing cone?
I wish I had asked my potential customers about how much they are willing to pay for it. It would’ve helped me put a better price tag in the beginning instead of randomly putting a $0.99 tag.
What advice would you have for others who are looking to design or release an app?
Focus on solving the real problems. Talk to your (potential) users as much as possible before releasing the app. This helps in figuring out if your app is providing the right value to your users and how much they are willing to pay for it. Once you’re satisfied, release the app.
Have there been any further developments with Cone since releasing your blog?
No. But I have received a lot of feedback and suggestions on how I can improve the app further so I am working on that. For example, enhancing the colorblind mode by increasing the font size and contrast will help people with Achromatopsia as well (total color blindness).
What other games do you think could help app designers or startups?
I haven’t played a lot of games but I’ve heard that “RuneScape” teaches a lot about macroeconomics, and supply and demand. There’s also this game called “Factorio” which I found on Hacker News. It’s a game where you start with nothing and have to mine resources in order to build mills, robots, drones, etc., and eventually you end up automating everything. One can learn a great deal about optimisation and automation from this game.
At times video games can distract us from our work. I’m sure we all know someone who has gone through some kind of Candy Crush or Clash of Clans addiction at some point. However, their ability to let us explore fictional worlds can sometimes be very applicable to the real world.
We have the opportunity to take risks and make choices which we may be risky in real life, while allowing us to learn from the results. So the next time your parent or partner tells you to stop playing video games and do something in the real world, just tell them you’re conducting research.