One of the main conventions established for iPhone games over the past six months is that they never, ever cost more than $9.99. We’ve asked numerous developers large and small whether they would consider breaking this informal (yet seemingly ironclad) rule, even for really big games like Need For Speed Undercover, and they’ve all demurred. Funny thing is, social games maker Zynga has actually been flouting the rule for some time–and now they’ve quintupled their defiance.
Zynga’s excellent Live Poker App comes in five flavors: Free, Deluxe, 40K, 100K, and now 300K, priced at zero, $1.99, $9.99, $19.99, and a whopping $49.99, respectively. All of the paid Deluxe versions grant a stipend of 2,000 chips a day, instead of 1,000, and the more expensive versions start you out with a major bankroll, too.
We realize that these Apps may not fall in quite the same category as typical games, since you are basically trading money for a service that provides increased social value, rather than an expanded product. Still, it’s interesting to note that Zynga has offered larger and larger denominations of Live Poker on a monthly basis. That tells us that their market segmentation strategy is working.