Fieldrunners 2 is one of my favorite iOS games, hands down. Developer Subatomic Studios has taken the tower defense genere to a new level with this sequel to their popular and multi-platform game, Fieldrunners. This second game was released in July of this year, almost 4 years after the first iteration came out on iOS, then Mac.
Today, the studio announced that they’ve added in-app purchasing to the game, something many games come with from the start. Those games, however, typically come at no up-front cost. Fieldrunners 2 was released as a premium, paid game, at $2.99 for the iPhone and $7.99 for the iPad version. Why did they add this freemium-style in-app purchasing system to a game that’s already doing well as a paid app?
The fans of the game wanted it.
Marketing and PR manager, Alec Shobin, gave an interview to The Verge when Fieldrunners 2 came out, defending the studio’s choice to create a fully paid game with no in-app purchases available. Today, however, a blog post on the Subatomic Studios website announced that it would, in face, be adding a micro-transaction feature.
Feedback on our lack of IAP (in app purchases) has been very interesting right from the start, with one camp of fans applauding our lack of IAP, while another continually requested the feature. To make both groups of players happy, we’ve decided to give gamers the ability to purchase coins while leaving all the design intact. This means that the game will continue to play and feel exactly as it always has (no added need to purchase coins), except that gamers inclined to purchase coins can now do this. We feel like this solution let’s us and our fans have the best of both worlds!
Luckily for the development team, Fieldrunners 2 already has a virtual currency system in place; the funds from which can be used to purchase new and upgraded towers and special items from the store. All they needed to do, gameplay-wise, was to add the ability to purchase these coins, previously only earned through gameplay, with real money. This will ensure the “intact gameplay” that the author of the blog post speaks of, above.
What do you think? Should in-app purchasing be added in like this? Will it cause future potential customers to pause, thinking that Subatomic Studios is simply in it for the money? How will the developers explain to these customers that in-app purchases are only an afterthought, and not a money-grubbing cash-grab? It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the weeks and months to come, as the short-attention span iOS gaming audience forgets all about the original blog post from Subatomic, and starts to wonder why there’s a price for the game as well as micro-transactions.