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1:00 PM on 07.18.2014

Google will stop calling games with in-app purchases 'free' in Europe

As part of its investigation into unwanted in-app purchases, often by children, the European Commission has laid out guidelines for developers and the app stores themselves to follow. By the end of September, Google will...

Steven Hansen


3:00 AM on 07.03.2014

EA's Dungeon Keeper ads are indeed misleading, ASA rules

A complaint against Electronic Arts has been upheld by the UK's Advertising Standard Authority concerning marketing for its latest mobile free-to-play version of Dungeon Keeper. The complaint was made in regards to an email c...

Brittany Vincent

9:30 PM on 05.19.2014

SoulCalibur producer discusses 'pay-to-win' model in Lost Swords

The term "pay-to-win" is oft thrown around by critics of free-to-play games, but you rarely if ever hear developers turn the phrase when discussing their own games.  Apparently Namco producer Masaaki Hoshino has no such ...

Kyle MacGregor

7:00 AM on 04.16.2014

Someone made a LEGO robot to play their freemium game

Smart man Uli Kilian went ahead and made a robot out of LEGO that plays the free-to-play Jurassic Park Builder while he sleeps or is otherwise away from his iPad. Tapping dinosaurs every few minutes earns in-game currency (or...

Steven Hansen

11:00 AM on 12.15.2013

LOTR Online selling level 50 character boosts

So yeah, you can now legitimately buy a level 50 boost for your Lord of the Rings Online characters directly from the developers via the MMO's online store until December 19. They've named it the 'Gift of the Valar' and ...

Harry Monogenis

3:15 PM on 07.29.2013

Jimquisition: Fee to Pay

It's time to talk about why "optional" microtransactions in games aren't really optional, and why they're especially gruesome in games we already paid for at retail. The rise of "free to play" elements in games that are not ...

Jim Sterling

4:00 PM on 06.14.2013

Ultima Forever reduces freemium prices due to fan outcry

As we all know, freemium models tend to do more harm than good if they're not well designed. There's a very fine line between "wanting to monetize your game" and driving players away, and in the Canadian beta for Ultima Forev...

Chris Carter

1:00 PM on 05.09.2013

Epic: Microsoft, Sony to fully embrace F2P for next-gen

At the Game Horizon conference, Epic Games VP Mark Rein warned of the looming free-to-play console storm, reports Joystiq. "The next-gen consoles are going to be fully embracing the free-to-play and these IAP-type business m...

Jordan Devore

10:00 AM on 04.03.2013

EA: customers want freemium games, so shut up

Electronic Arts has justified its blind charge into the free-to-play market by suggesting that, though the ever-classic "vocal minority" dislikes such games, everybody else loves them. Upset about the restructuring of games l...

Jim Sterling

6:45 PM on 02.28.2013

Aliens invading Battlefield Heroes

Extraterrestrials are landing in Electronic Arts' free-to-play game Battlefield Heroes, and there's a trailer for it here which I have to admit to having found a bit charming.  But what's kind of funny about it is the m...

Conrad Zimmerman



Trends of this Generation: Digital distribution photo
Trends of this Generation: Digital distribution
by Daniel Starkey

Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that I think will continue on for at least a decade to come.

So far, we've already taken looks at motion controls and consoles becoming more like all-in-one media centers, eSports, Gamification, and today I'll be finishing this series by looking at what might be the most important development since the console -- digital distribution.

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Trends of this Generation: Gamification photo
Trends of this Generation: Gamification
by Daniel Starkey

Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that I think will continue on for at least a decade to come.

So far, we've taken looks at motion controls, consoles becoming more like all-in-one media centers, and eSports. Today I want to briefly talk about achievements and gamification.

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Dead Space 3 has microtransactions because mobile gamers photo
Dead Space 3 has microtransactions because mobile gamers
by Jim Sterling

Visceral Games has justified the controversial microtransaction system in Dead Space 3 by claiming mobile gamers expect them now. Well, that's a totally reasonable ... wait, what?

"There’s a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions," Visceral's John Calhoun told CVG. "They’re like 'I need this now, I want this now.' They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they’re 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it."

So ... mobile gamers, who play games on mobile devices, expect microtransactions, which means a home console game, played on a home console, should have them. Is that really all it takes to sell a game to a mobile player these days? The promise of in-app purchases? Is Visceral not trying to run before it can walk, offering a mobile gaming structure before it even knows it has an audience?

This doesn't even go into the fact that Visceral conveniently forgot something else mobile gamers expect -- games that don't demand $60 up-front before they start offering their little extra purchases. If Dead Space 3 is being designed for mobile gamers now, why does it costs exactly $59.99 more than Temple Run?

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