I've been watching Xamarin for the past 2 years develop from something cool into something awesome. It has been something I've always wanted to use, but never could due to the crazy amount of money a license is and now that I have the money I find I can't join due to the Xamarin Pay Pit.
Allow me to explain, Apps are not singular entities like books, music or any other form of art. They need to be maintained constantly or your app falls into disarray as OS updates and online API changes cause problems with your otherwise solid code. The problem with Xamarin is that in order to continue maintaining your app you have to pay a recurring fee simply to offer simple updates that keep your app from just crashing at launch. For this reason, even if I only want to release a single App via Xamarin I need to license Xamarin, but also need to pay for every year I plan to support it. Even if I am just keeping the doors of the app open. Considering how fast the mobile world changes it is not unfeasible for one of the platforms to experience a significant change in a year. For example, the release of iOS broke many apps and required UI redesigns of others. These are not changes that I, as a single indie developer can pay to implement.
I had thought that with the recent announcement of your partnership with Visual Studio/Microsoft that the prices would drop or at the very least the cost of using Visual Studio would drop. Since neither of those have occurred it makes using Xamarin a none-option for me and others like me who are producing apps either as hobbyists, for free, for school work or simply as a solo developer. The risk vs. reward is far too high in these cases. While Microsoft, Apple and Google claim that the average amount of money made from an app is upwards of $1000 that simply isn't the case for the majority of apps which are lucky to make a few hundred dollars or, in even more cases ten or twenty dollars.
I imagine this has been pointed out before, however, nothing came back from my searches. I hope Xamarin considers the Indie/Hobbyist market in the future and look forward to when they do (perhaps as a royalty based license such as CryEngine uses?), but until then I'm afraid I must stick to Visual Studio and Intellij IDEA for my apps.