Tag Archives: DLC

Freemium: A Costly Mistake for Gameloft

Now I’m sure Gameloft has made some money off using the freemium model.  They’re most recent game, Starfront: Collision, is ranked #46 in the top grossing chart.

Wait… #46?  Even after Apple featured Starfront: Collision as the iPhone Game of the Week?  Gameloft releases have been known to storm the top grossing charts at #2, #10, so on and so forth; never so low in the charts.  Look at the Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, which is nearly off the top 200 grossing chart altogether after only a week of sales.  And even after a good couple of months of being released, Modern Combat 2 is ahead of both of Gameloft’s recent freemium games.

The best part is is that Modern Combat 2 isn’t even on sale; it’s at its full price of $6.99.

Along with the fact that Gameloft hasn’t made as much as they have with other games, their fans seem to have felt like they have been deceived.  For Starfront: Collision, the first four reviews have all claimed that in-app purchases are stupid, Gameloft should get rid of it, there are uncertainties regarding in-app purchases, etc.

For Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, people are clamoring on how it’s just a demo after they thought it was going to be the full version for free (I know, ridiculous).  And of course, along with that, people are complaining about the in-app purchase in general.

And for me personally, I don’t want to download Starfront: Collision and Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden.  I haven’t yet and I don’t think I ever will.  What good is it to download all 403 MB only to find out the game is horrible or to find out that I just flat out don’t want to purchase the game?

I rarely download lite versions, and I look at both of those games as lite versions and not full.  It’s just a waste of time to download, buy an in-app purchase, etc.  Waste of space, waste of time.

Now again, like stated in the beginning, I’m sure they’ve made some money.  But have they made enough?  And is it worth making the consumer displeased?

My Take on ngmoco’s ‘We Rule’

A disclaimer that you should read before reading this: I refuse to be sucked into the world of Farmville; therefore, I have never played the game, I hear, has strapped down almost the entire population of Facebook.  So with that said, let’s move on to We Rule.

Ngmoco recently released We Rule for the iPhone and iPod Touch, a game similar to Tap Farm and other farm tycoon games made popular by Zynga’s Farmville on Facebook.  While it didn’t receive as much hype as Eliminate, an online first-person shooter, it was said to be the first freemium game from ngmoco to use the DLC model correctly (along with God Finger, not available in the US yet).

So I thought to myself, “Ehh, I’ll give this a shot.”  So I opened the App Store on my iPhone, installed the application, and launched a Farmville-esque game for the first time in my entire life.  And with that said, I was disappointed with the game and had fun with the game at the same time.

Here’s what had me frustrated: the online connection problems.  This thing is unable to connect to the server 1 out of every 2 times I fire up the game (50% for you percentage-oriented people), and of course like anyone, I got frustrated.  WiFi or 3G, doesn’t matter, it doesn’t connect to the server very well.  I was a bit enlightened though when they gave me 10 free mojo (things that make your plants grow instantly), saying sorry for all the server problems.  But still, the problem persists.

So moving on from server issues, I noticed that placing houses and objects was quite difficult for me, and the imaginary castle guards inside my kingdom castle seemed to scream, “WE NEED A GRID!!!”  And when I mean scream, I mean turned up the volume to 11.  Placing objects is so tricky, especially when you’re trying to place your petunias so precisely right next to each other, and it does start to get frustrating once the objects start refusing to go to the places you want it to go.

But still I was merciful with these problems and persevered and played through this horrendous mess, ultimately finding a bit of gold among the muck.  The freemium model works here, and the mojo isn’t necessary for your survival.  Here’s why:

  1. You receive 5 mojo for every time you level up.
  2. Free mojo from downloading apps and such.
  3. Plants will grow on their own, it just takes some time.

If you still don’t get it, here’s a simpler explanation: mojo is extra.  Buying mojo is totally extra, and even if you buy it, it doesn’t exactly help so much that you become the most powerful person in the We Rule world.  I thought ngmoco did a good job of finally stabilizing a once shaky DLC model, and freemium may actually be a good thing for the App Store and the iPhone gaming market.

So with all that said and done, what are my final thoughts on We Rule?  It’s a game that has potential.  I liked it, I’m still playing it to this day, and I’m used to being patient with the server.  I haven’t paid one penny for any mojo within the game, and I’m still prospering (somewhat) within my little group of friends.

I think that once ngmoco fixes ALL of the server issues and slight bugs within We Rule, it could become for the iPhone as Farmville was for Facebook.  It’s definitely got potential; execution just needs a bit of work.  I think ngmoco is starting to redeem itself in my eyes, and We Rule is just ngmoco’s first step to proving itself as a good, iPhone game developing company.

We Rule is totally free, and there’s also a version available for the iPad (that’s free too).

ngmoco:) Acquires Freeverse

The latest news (and a big one) is that ngmoco:) has acquired Freeverse.  After raising yet another $25 million dollars from investors, ngmoco:) went ahead and bought Freeverse to continue on its domination of the App Store.  Last year, ngmoco:) switched to the freemium model (free + DLC), and all of their upcoming games will contain this model.

Meanwhile, Freeverse’s games have succeeded and succeeded well.  Skee-Ball has hit the number one spot on the Top 100 Paid Apps chart along with Flick Fishing amassing over one million downloads.  Their other popular paid apps include Flick Bowling and Moto Chaser, both of which saw early success when the App Store was first introduced.

In total, ngmoco:) has raised over $40 million dollars from investors.  Their freemium games include Eliminate and Touch Pet Dogs, and both were downloaded 9 million times, with 2% of people willing to pay.  They also have two upcoming games, GodFinger and WeRule, that will adopt this free + DLC model.

ngmoco:) plans to release 20 iPhone titles by the end of this year, and Freeverse should be releasing around the same amount.  We’ll have more news as the story develops.

[via TechCrunch]

‘Astro Ranch’ Gameplay Trailer, Screenshots, and Details

Paul Farley of Tag Games has sent us the scoop on their upcoming game Astro Ranch, a game that is best described as a mix of Farmville, Animal Crossing on the Nintendo DS, and other social games that deal with farming and collaborating with others.

Here are some of the more notable features:

  • A unique game experience – exclusive to iPhone
  • Farming game-play mashed up with RPG and mini-games
  • Awesome 3D world to explore, with beautiful animation
  • Lots of strange alien characters to befriend
  • Go fishing, pan for gold, steal fruit from trees and visit aliens!
  • Large range of crops, livestock and upgrades to buy
  • Message friends, send them gifts and credits and many more social features powered by Scoreloop
  • Lots of downloadable content available from the online shop

According to Tag Games, Astro Ranch will be available for sale during the week of February 21st, which is actually only a week away.  Personally, I’m more than excited to see this game hit the App Store, and we’ll bring you more details once they are available.

Astro Ranch will be priced at $2.99 along with DLC.

‘Call of Duty: World At War Zombies’ DLC Releasing January 29th?

According to the rumor mill, the new map for COD: WAW will be released on Friday, January 29th.  The cost of the map (yes, one map) will be $5.99, a cost I’m sure most iPhone gamers aren’t willing to pay.  Of course, Activision is milking the money for all its worth because they can, and there’s no question that people will buy the map for that price.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of the DLC model Activision has taken.  It’s definitely expensive for many people including me, and there should have been more maps released with the initial version anyway.  Either way, Activision is set on the February 29th release.

They have also released the first screenshot for the map, Verruckt.  It looks to include the same quality as the initial release map, and quality shouldn’t be a question in one’s mind.  If you haven’t tried COD: WAW for the iPhone yet, I suggest downloading the lite version.

Screenshot reproduced for convenience