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The In-App Purchases Debate

dungeon keeper EA

Last week, EA released Dungeon Keeper for iOS and Android. The game is a remake of the classic dungeon defense but it is designed as a freemium game. Some players (and video game critics) didn’t like the  free2play approach EA implemented in the game. In fact, some people think that the in-app purchases are killing the video game industry.

It is true that a few developers force the user to pay in order to have a good game experience. However, that doen’s mean that all the freemium games are that way. Most developers design the game with the player in mind. They know that the most important think in game design is to make a good game, one that players love.

The game philosophy is to build a game that can be beat without making any payments. That’s how most game designers work. The in-app store is there to whom decide to speed up the game progress or want to support de developers. iOS developer Drew Crawford talks about how the first arcade games were designed to make people pay.

“IAP is not a new model. It is a very old model, the model that started the industry, that everybody forgot about” wrote Crawford in his blog.

The developer defends the in-app purchase as something that is actually good for the industry: “The magic of IAP is it allows a software developer to segment its market; to take in the $.10 in ad spend that the elementary school kid can pay, the $5 that the college student with a side job can pay, and the $100 that the suburban housewife can pay.”

Meanwhile, Dungeon Keeper continues attracting players. The game is in the top-100 in iTunes Store and players keep downloading it, despite the reviews.

Jeff Skalski, the game’s senior producer, defends Dugeon Keeper. “It’s important to emphasize that we designed a game that is built around the typical mobile play patterns. This means Dungeon Keeper is meant to be played on the go multiple times a day with a few minutes here or there. This way of playing allows fans to naturally progress as a free player”, he said in an interview with Tabtimes.

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