The news Apple is allowing developers to charge for in-game items and downloadable content in free apps – the so-called free-plus-paid model – has shaken up the way many studios are thinking about the future.
Yet there’s also some confusion about how this will change the way the App Store operates in terms of the interaction between Free and Paid apps.
What people are looking for now are examples of how the new system will play out.
Significantly US publisher ngmoco – which is based in San Francisco and known to be close to Apple – was very quick off the mark when it came to reacting to the changes.
Indeed, it already has Rolando 2 Chapter 1 – its free-plus-paid version of the original Rolando 2 game – live on the App Store.
We wonder how it managed to compress the normal two week approval process into 12 hours. Actually, we don’t. The only way it could have happened is Apple pre-warned the studio, enabling it to get this build into the system in time to go live for the announcement.
ngmoco CEO Neil Young has since informed us that the company repriced its already approved 99c version of Rolando 2, which had in-app transactions to unlock new chapters, as a free app, and set it live.
As a poster child release, people will be looking to see how Rolando 2 performs on the Free chart over the next couple of days to see if consumers go for this new approach.
More interesting however will be the release of the much anticipated shooter Eliminate.
Yesterday it was also announced as a free game, with micro-transactional support for players who want to buy extra energy cells to progress faster through the game.
If this approach works, expect plenty more developers to jump on the bandwagon.
Indeed, in an interview with PocketGamer.biz, Tag Games’ Paul Farley has said he’ll be specifically watching Eliminate to see whether it’s a model he’ll choose for Tag’s game Astro Ranch.
French developer Boostr is reworking its Urban Rivals online card combat game as a free app. Apparently it wasn’t as well informed as ngmoco and was hours away from submitting the game as a paid app but heard the news just in time.
And, no doubt, hundreds of other studios are also rethinking their plans. It’s going to get very interesting and maybe very messy on the App Store over the coming weeks.