Sunday, February 15, 2015
Apple against free
Gamers know that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Games cost money to make, so any game being advertised as free probably has some sort of hidden cost or other source of revenue for the developer. And as such advertising can be attacked as being misleading, distributors end up being in the crossfire. Especially distributors of mobile games, because so many of them are "free".
Apple had to settle a suit accusing them of misleading children. Afterwards they changed their app store so that the button to acquire a new "free" game now says "Get" instead of "Free". And recently they featured a new category on the front page of their app store: Pay one and play games, giving rise to some satire for that being so unusual.
Now all payment models have their advantages and their disadvantages. But I think Apple is onto something in their approach: It focuses not on eliminating "free" games, but on disclosure. I think that is a very good idea. I would very much like to know in each and every case what the secondary costs of a game are. Not only for "free" games (where that is already not so hard to find out), but also for games where only after paying $60 you find out that you'll need to shell out another pile of money for DLCs or other stuff from the item store.