Earlier this week in my list of iTunes App Store deals, I mentioned that Hero of Sparta 2 was ‘free for a limited time’. Turns out I was wrong – the update switched the game to a ‘free to play’ model full-up with ads! Those who had actually paid for the game were angered by the sudden appearance of an egregious amount of intrusive ads (I had to check it out myself … it was awful)!
Fortunately after a couple of days of uproar, GameLoft has retreated. According to GameLoft’s Facebook page:
“Gameloft wishes to apologize to the fans of Hero of Sparta 2 given the poor gaming experience, brought by the free version. We acknowledged the advertisement included into the game deteriorated the gaming experience. We have now completely removed all ads from the game and switched it back to its previous status on the Appstore. Thank you for your patience and sharing your frustration with us, we hope you will be happy with our response. Happy Holidays and enjoy Hero of Sparta 2.”
Also, GameLoft’s newest release, Dungeon Hunter 3 is not the same Diablo-clone as the first two, but more of an arena battle (sort of Diablo meets Infinity Blade) with loads of in-app opportunities to spend money. Those changes are not sitting well with fans of the series either.
You don’t have to be a magical seer equipped with +1 Robes of Seeing, to guess how changing a premium ‘hardcore’ RPG series into a freemium arena-based title would go down with fans of the franchise.
Despite this, Gameloft soldiered on with its commitment to release its latest titles as free downloads, with Dungeon Hunter 3 being the latest series hitting the App Store to receive the in-app purchase treatment
Predictably, fans aren’t impressed.
Pay to lose?
Despite being a featured app in most of the major territories over Christmas, and graphics that put a lot of games to shame, Dungeon Hunter 3 has so far attracted a rather dismal two star rating from iOS gamers.
The rating doesn’t appear to be a reflection of the quality of the game, however, and more to do with the new business model.
App Store reviewer and series fan Bobacce cuts to the chase, describing the new title as “no longer about enjoyment…now about about how much money the can get out of you”, while another long-time follower of the series, LittleOwl11, talks of how the developer has “ripped out what made [Dungeon Hunter 1 and 2] so great…and replaced it with IAPs”.
I hated when they switched Brothers in Arms from a normal game to ‘freemium’, definitely consider Let’s Golf 3 THE WORST of the franchise, and was appalled at the changes in Hero of Sparta. So I never touched Dungeon Hunter 3 … nor am I in any rush to do so based on this feedback!
What do you think about the move to ‘freemium’ games?