The Average Gamer

The Devil is in the Detail

EA are the devil blah blah blah ripping us off blah underhand business practices blah blah won”t someone think of the children blah de bloody blah. Shut up, stop moaning and listen to yourselves for for a minute.

In the past week the astonishing act of trying to make money once again shocked gamers to their cores as EA once again set out to innovate and proliferate their idea of “monetization”. In the first instance they did this by a) pulling the Tetris app from the iOS App Store and b) releasing a new Tetris app onto it without any change in the title. While this doesn”t seem particularly dreadful, it wasn”t until the collective investigative journalistic powers of the web united to tell us the truth that the shocking horrors lying beneath were revealed:

  • This was a brand new app, not a free update as we iOS gamers have come to expect, meaning people would have to shell out twice for the same game!
  • The old version was no longer available, even to those who had purchased it before!
  • It was full of some of the most ridiculous subscription based services we have yet seen in an iOS title!

I was literally quivering in my boots with moderate levels of frustration but felt it my duty to at least try to understand one thing I read on Twitter this week before reverting to type and frothing at the mouth. I actually bought the game, thus lining the pockets of our corporate overlords even further and perhaps revealing a bias in this thought piece (review coming soon!). Because I”m not a particularly good writer, I”m going to deal with each of those points but in reverse order. Take that, Hunter S. Thompson!

Stupid rubbish subscription services!

The game does, indeed, feature some of the most ridiculous subscription based services I”ve seen in any game, never mind an iOS title. I am rightfully angry that EA would assume I”m stupid enough to buy a 69p game and then subscribe to a service which costs me a further £21 a year for updates and other crap. What I didn”t do, however, was subscribe, thus saving me said fee and ensuring the game still only cost me 69p. Problem solved!

Wait, but what about the stupid people? The people who see some strange value in such a service? Let them buy it, I say.
House prices haven”t dropped enough yet and a few more bankruptcies might kick things along a bit. More seriously, if there are actually stupid people willing to pay £21 for an annual subscription (or even £1.99 just to try it for a month) on a device that is literally flooded with some of the best value games money can buy and often doesn”t have to, that”s their problem. Outside of the mentally handicapped and children – neither of which should be let loose on an iPhone with a credit card linked iTunes account – they”re perfectly capable of making their own decisions, and I look forward to openly mocking them as they cry “I paid for an annual T-Club membership and all I got was 15% extra T-Lines”!

I bought the old version and now I can”t get it again!

Actually just misinformed, knee-jerk, badly researched clap trap.

If you”ve been buying apps and then deleting them before you synced with your computer, your iOS device has also been telling you “YOU HAVE NOT SYNCED THIS AND MAY GET CHARGED AGAIN” for at least the past 2 years. You deserve to lose access through virtue of being casino online one of the stupid people who will probably pay that bloody subscription fee.

If you”ve been buying apps and then syncing with your computer regularly, you”ll have noticed that it transfers purchases automatically. This means you have a local backup which you move across to your iOS device any time you want to, including apps that have been deleted from the store.

Even better, since iOS5 was released – well ahead of Tetris getting deleted, by the way – you”ve also had a copy in the App Store cloud. Just boot up your iOS device, go to the App Store and whizz over to “Updates”. At the top of this screen is something called “Purchased”. Head into there and you have two little lists “All” and “Not on this device”. Everything you”ve ever purchased is there, including every app that”s ever been deleted from the App Store, including including Tetris. Even betterer, if you also downloaded the iTunes update and have bought the old Tetris app in the few days before it was deleted, your computer has likely automatically downloaded it without you even needing to sync with it.

Truly these are future times. They are not, however, times where rants against EA get delivered with any degree of research or level headed investigation.

I should have got this as a free update!


Seriously, why? I genuinely don”t understand this line of thinking. The very same people ranting about all the shitty new features and the subscription model attached to this update and lying about the lack of availability of the old app would apparently have been partially placated if the old version people had bought had simply been overwritten with this stuff. Really?

The original Tetris app has been available since 2008 – that”s 3 years for the slow of thinking – and I have to sit here and wonder exactly how much ongoing support and how many updates should be expected. I mean, there are around 73 different variations of Angry Birds now, 2 editions of my beloved Sword & Poker, a newly released version of Infinity Blade, 3 epic adventures in Zenonia and Gameloft pumping out a new version of Modern Combat with alarming regularity. Yet no-one is bitching about these.

I guess, as suggested to me on Twitter yesterday, that this new version could have been released with a number next to the title and the old one left on the App store. It doesn”t ring true though, some of the knee jerk reactions here would have still come to fruition, the same old whinging about business wanting to make money off us applied.

Ultimately there are two criticisms that do resonate with me. First, the ever onward march towards freemium and subscription based gaming aligned to a micro-payments system. It”s been a long time coming, but it appears to be doing well. While it does leave a nasty taste in my mouth, I”m also of a generation that paid £65 for Street Fighter II on the SNES, so what the hell do I know about value and reward? Second, there”s the issue of digital distribution, ownership and support. Of all the systems out there I believe that Apple seem to have built one of the best. There are multiple ways for me to retain ownership and utilise my purchases however I see fit and it”s a system EA have to fit in. It ain”t perfect, but we”ve yet to see any of these (PSN, XBLA, Steam, Origin) truly tested by bankruptcies, server shutdowns and natural disasters.

When that time does come, though, do me a favour please. Get the facts right.

If you really want to after all this, you can buy Tetris iOS now through the iTunes store.