Sure, $0.99 is the standard, but players seem to have no problem spending more.
Apple iOS fans receive a bad rap for being cheap, as in they expect every iPhone and iPad game to be sold for $0.99 or nothing at all. There's probably some truth to that, maybe a lot. After all, spending a buck to download a quality game sure beats paying 10. At the same time, it's clear from the top paid iPad games list that certain publishers and developers can succeed despite the discount/freemium craze.
For proof, look no further than Subatomic Studios, the company behind arguably the best tower defense series on iOS, Fieldrunners. The developer just released Fieldrunners 2 HD on the iPad, and in less than 24 hours, the app grabbed the number two position, just behind Angry Birds Space HD. Pretty impressive, considering Fieldrunners 2 HD sells for $7.99, making it one of the more expensive games for Apple's tablet.
Thing is, you don't have to look far for the next premium game, that being Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Despite costing $6.99 to download, Mojang's world builder sits comfortably at the four spot, probably due to a steady stream of updates, each one adding a huge list of content to enhance an already engrossing experience.
Jump to number seven, and there's Avengers Initiative, Marvel's Infinity Blade-inspired beat-em-up starring the Incredible Hulk. Granted, it benefits from the Avengers license, but iOS players are among gaming's harshest critics when it comes to getting the most bang for their buck, and they seem unfazed by this game's $6.99 price tag.
Following that, there's a bunch of cheaper games, but Plants vs. Zombies currently holds at number 18, with PopCap still selling it for $6.99, despite launching the app alongside the original iPad in 2010. In the end, this is perhaps the most stunning discovery, that Plants vs. Zombies possesses such enormous staying power.
Dig a little deeper, and even more games crop up within the top 50, titles like Bastion ($4.99), Wild Blood ($6.99), Real Racing 2 HD ($6.99), Grand Theft Auto 3 ($6.99) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($6.99). Also, don't forget about Square Enix. The DS port of The World Ends with You is $17.99, but with more than 600 five-star reviews, there's clearly a market for this type of game.
Is there a common thread? Not necessarily. Some of these games belong to a big-time license, others represent a new IP entirely. At the end of the day, this proves that iOS users are willing shell out additional cash so long as there's a premium product attached to that MSRP. That doesn't mean, of course, we don't appreciate a good deal.