Why it’s okay to buy the MacHeist bundle

by Milind Alvares

Why it’s okay to buy the MacHeist bundle

by Milind Alvares on March 26, 2009

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There’s a lot of controversy about the latest MacHeist bundle. It’s about undervaluing software products, cheated developers, and the evil hand of Phil Ryu and his money grabbing tactics.

First, let’s talk about the undervaluing of software. Have you visited the App Store lately? If you haven’t, take a look at this game Frenzic. It sells for $4.99, and sometimes even as low as $1.99. It’s a lot of fun, and provides some great entertainment on the go. Now visit the Frenzic for Mac webpage. The price there is $15, it’s not as much fun to play with, but it still sells at a higher price. So what exactly is ‘value’ over here? The developer obviously chooses a price point, trying to make as much money as possible from a single product. The developer can afford to keep a low price, because the App Store can sell tons of copies, while the desktop market on the other hand is slow, and needs a substantial amount per copy to make it worthwhile. That’s software value right there, and MacHeist’s rapid sales provides exactly that for developers.

Next, we have this notion that you’re cheating developers if you buy into the MacHeist bundle. Two years ago, John Gruber did some calculations on how each developer got just 1.5% of the total income generated by MacHeist. That was because they were paid a fixed price for an unlimited number of licenses. This time round however, Ryu has cleared the air and said that devs get a percentage on each sale as well. Granted this won’t be a high percentage (no one knows the specifics), but going by the numbers, the amount should add up to a lot. If a developer ends up with a boot load of cash, how is it that you’re cheating him/her?

Let’s not forget, that a bundle, by the nature of itself, always comes with some things you have no use for. From the top of my head, I could think of so many not using the $300 Kinemac 3D application, playing with those board games for two minutes, and not even attempting to cook with that recipe manager. My point is, you’re really paying for just 4-5 apps on a discount, which amounts to somewhere around 25% of the app’s usual value.

A lot of people have a problem with Phil Ryu making a lot of money. Well why shouldn’t he! If the iShoot guy can make $600k in a month on a single game, why can’t someone who has obviously put a whole lot of effort in making this possible, get a good kick back from it? By him, I mean the entire team that supports him. Organising a bundle takes time and effort, and that effort must be paid off. As long as he doesn’t swindle someone out of their cash, leaving all the specifics on the table upfront, no one has the right to complain.

So before someone tries to put you on a guilt trip about buying the Bundle, know that not only is the developer happy, but that you’re paying what you’re supposed to for the application. If you do find more value in an application than you actually paid for, you could always go out and buy yourself not ‘proper license’, not even a ‘real license’, but a full priced license. Because the MacHeist license is as real as it gets.

Sci-Fi Weblog: What we can learn from MacHeist
Christina Warren: MacHeist Kvetching 2009
Damien Molokai: MacHeist and Me: An Exercise in Excessive Navel-gazing

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