Musing: iOS Gaming…

iOS games…

I have my issues with mainstream PC gamers. While they like to protest and take issues with companies screwing us over, when push comes to shove, most will accept it as the reality and buy the game anyway. This doesn’t always happen, but if ME3 and other games are anything to go by, well…there you go. But I can’t blame them, the games generally have something good about them and your usually not getting severely ripped off. So at the very least PC gamers have good tastes as a whole and I can at least understand why games like Mass Effect 3 or Call of Duty sell well.

iOS mainstream gamers on the other hand? Well, are far worse. They will buy anything that remotely looks pretty and hail it as the new revolution in mobile gaming technology. Ignoring the fact that most of these games blatantly rip you off. Shallow game mechanics, greedy rip-off free-premium systems and meh experiences, I cannot even understand why iOS gamers will support the games that they do right now. And they, iOS gamers, will go out of their way to highlight these games as if they are the next revolution in mobile gaming, when in all reality its just killing both your iPhone battery and your wallet, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that companies don’t make games out of the goodness of their heart and that there is, ultimately, a business at the core of it all. That doesn’t excuse everything they do though…

So why do I mention iOS gaming today? Well, I decided it was time to look at my iPhone/iPad games and really see if I wanted them or not. So, I played each one for 10 minutes and threw them out if they just weren’t fun in any particular way. Once I was done with my purging, the only apps that survived are pictured below, which is a screenshot of my gaming page on my iPhone and iPad, respectively.

I had around twenty five games before I made the purge and apologies, I forgot to take a screenshot before the purge. It didn’t occur to me I was going to write about this at the time. x_x. These are all that remain after the purge. Below are the games I have left to “complete”.

Only five games remain left to complete. Its sad and depressing in its own way when I think about it, although the upside is I have plenty of space for new games…if there were any I wanted. Bejeweled is the most recent game I purchased and I got it for free during an iTunes Facebook promotion, last year. It is a lot of fun though and works well on my iPhone. Since the devs are still supporting the game, it looks like I’ll be playing it for a while longer. Bejeweled Blitz is just another mode of Bejeweled, though with FB hooks. Words with Friends and Chess With Friends I bought two years ago and still play because I have about twenty games going with friends and family on Words and a couple games on Chess. I’ll quit those games when everyone else does. 🙂 Shadow Era (Trading Card Game) is one I’ll play from time to time and is free as well. Its cross platform so I can play it on my PC/Browser as well if I feel the need and its a bit of fun anyway. I’ve always wanted to play a TCG-genre game, but real cards cost way too much so a digital, free game is a lot easier to justify on my budget :). Ghost Trick is a game that came highly recommended and I’ve finished the first two free chapters the game comes with. In order to finish the game, I need to pay for the rest of the chapters and that’s not in the budget right now =. But, from what I played of it, it has an interesting story mixed with mystery and puzzle elements so I’d like to finish it one day. The rest of the games from above I’ve already “finished”, but may play at a later date. I reviewed Train Conductor 1 & 2 here & here a long while back.

I’m a regular looker on the App store, even if I can’t buy much right now. But what I’ve seen lately, is supremely disappointing. After being an iOS user for over two years, I would have hoped that the apps and games would have evolved rapidly in that amount of time. iOS Apps in general have come a long ways and the support for mobile is growing by the day. Games on the other hand, have been going backwards in progress. Among other things, I have noticed the trend of providing demo versions of apps/games has been rapidly shrinking. Which means more and more dependence on Apple to test these games to make sure they at least work, which I’d like to say we could, but we had several scam apps that were completely broken and unusable slip through the garden walls of iOS several months ago, ripping thousands off customers off and likely without any sort of refund, if the iOS terms of service is anything to go by. So we’re not even guaranteed that the apps we buy actually work and have no way of testing it out before hand. And it gets worse.

Top 40 Paid Games for iPad

As of this post, these are the top 10 games’ and their business models. I use these as an example as they seem to be indicative of the general app store and the trend as of late.
For iPhone:
1. Angry Birds Space: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents and $2.99), has a freemium model + premium DLC + Advertisements.
2. Flick Home Run: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents and $2.99), both are pay for and have a freemium model and possible DLC.
3. Pandemic 2.5: $.99 and is universal.
4. Batman Arkham City Lockdown: Universal Pay-For App (99 cents, but is on sale right now), contains freemium model and DLC
5. Cut the Rope: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents and $1.99), has an “unlock all levels” In App Purchase.
6. Draw Something: Universal Pay-For App for $1.99 that contains a freemium model.
7. Fruit Ninja: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents & $2.99).
8. Wingsuit Stickman: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents & 99 cents), contains “unlock all levels” In-App-Purchases.
9. Where’s My Water: Universal Pay-For App for 99 cents, additional DLC.
10. Angry Birds: Separate iPhone/iPad versions (99 cents & $2.99), contains DLC and Advertisements.

All those apps above are generally reviewed favorably. Bejeweled sits at #11 for those curious. The free versions generally contain ads and freemium models or are demos, depending on the game. The iPad top 10 list contains many of the same apps, at a higher price and on different spots of the list though a few apps are different. #6 is N.O.V.A. 3, a Universal Paid-For App at $6.99 with a freemium model, is the third sequel in its franchise. #7 is Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, a Universal Paid-For App on sale at 99 cents. #9 is Minecraft – Pocket Edition, a Universal Paid-For App at $6.99.

I mean…wow. This is so horribly, horribly abusive I don’t know where to start. Most of those top 10 games have separate versions you have to pay for, for the iPhone and iPad. Which is a bit WTF because there is no technical reason to keep them separate. Most of the app store is usually universal apps now. Even the “expensive” games still have a freemium model that I’m sure is required for an optimal experience, which I believe was started by Infinity Blade I & II which has the same model of $6.99 & freemium. So many gaming apps now feature a free-premium business model, I just can’t fathom why iOS gamers are tolerating it so much. Even the latest Angry Birds Space game now has a freemium model built into the game. And yes, advertisments too so even when you pay for the game, you still get ads thrown in your face. That’s just disgusting for a business that doesn’t need to advertise anything, it prints money as it is >=(. There is no free version of the space game either, which is in stark contrast to the first two Angry Birds games which have free with ads versions on the store still. I get why businesses are all gun-ho for freemium, because its considered the new gold mine, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere and I think devs have gone way too far with their current business models.

I have my issues with the freemium model, but this latest “free-premium” model is ridiculous and needs to stop. It seems like we have to pay for a game three times or more to just get the full enjoyment that we can out of it and even then that’s not enough, as we’re starting to add adverts to games that we’ve already paid for. I remember last year games getting blasted for having the nerve to be priced at $4.99. Now we simply accept $6.99+ and are just fine and dandy with it. “It has revolutionary graphics! Its a solid remake! This changes gaming on mobile forever!” are just some of the quotes of the reviewers among thousands of reviews. How time has changed things, for the worse…

I really do hope things turn around soon. Its not so bad in the rest of the iOS store, every other category has fair pricing models for their apps and they make sense. Its just that for whatever reason, mobile gaming has gotten horrendously expensive and they lack any real fun factor to them for those that I have played, with the exception of what I have now. As it is, my enthusiasm and hope towards the games on the iOS App Store has fallen. In place of fun and unique games comes a torrent of greed-based games that lack fun and are bogged down by greedy money schemes that are ripping the consumer off. I have to wonder how the Droid Play market is faring, as anything that happens on the iOS store will eventually effect them and vice versa. I haven’t even mentioned actual “Free-To-Play” games of the Farmville genre, and there are a lot of them too. Its just such a stark landscape of gaming for mobile right now. I just want to have fun with these games, not feel like my wallet is stolen every time I open an app. =

If you have any games you’ve gotten for your iPhone/iPad that you feel are worth a look, please leave a comment, I’d sure like to feel better about iOS gaming than I currently do and that its not just one giant ripoff section of the store. I really want to like mobile gaming, don’t get me wrong. Its just what I’ve seen is so…so disappointing.

I hope you enjoyed this musing of my mind. I appreciate any comments you have and until next time…


One Comment:

  1. Pingback: Musing: About Apple, iOS 6, Appigo and Myself… « A Paladin Without A Crusade…

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