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Again, EA Finds A Way to Infuriate Gamers
Oh, Electronic Arts. Why is it that you always find some way to infuriate me? And to think, for a while you were starting to get back on my good side. After all, your television commercials finally started to realize that there is a console out there called the Xbox 360, and you aren't claiming your games are "Only on PlayStation 3" anymore. I was starting to have a slight sense of hope for you.
But then you go back to your old money grubbing ways, but this time it's on the mobile side of the market.
As if trying to kill off used game sales with online passes is not an exercise in greed already, Electronic Arts is now taking full advantage of the new 'freemium' game model. What is freemium you ask? Simple, the game is distributed for free, but customers can spend real life money in order to purchase better equipment.
I have played a few of these freemium titles, such as Glu's Blood and Glory and Gun Bros. Both games offer two forms of currency: standard money that is obtained in-game, and special currency that is obtained (much more slowly) via leveling up or by paying cold hard cash. With both of these games, all the higher currency offered was quicker upgrades, and I was able to play them without spending my hard earned money. I had no problem with them.
But then came Real Racing 3.
The first two Real Racing games were normal apps where you paid to purchase the game and had everything ready to play. But for Real Racing 3, Electronic Arts thought they could take advantage of the freemium bandwagon. You think it would make sense to use real money purchases to get new cars or upgrades, right? Well, sort of, at least in terms of upgrading your car.
Sure, there are upgrades that can be purchased by special gold coins, and they can be earned either by leveling up or paying up front. But that's not what is making me mad about the game. It's the other ways that EA is trying to squander my coins or real cash. Especially grating is that you have to pay for standard vehicle maintenance!
That's right, like a real vehicle, over time your car needs to be serviced to keep it in top operating condition. The services themselves cost in-game currency. Fair enough. I would expect that in a racing game, but that's not all. You have to wait for the repairs to be done on your car! Sure a simple oil change will only take five minutes, but if you want to overhaul your engine, that will take 20 minutes! And the worst part is, all these times are cumulative, and can only be done one at a time. In other words, expect to wait upwards of an hour for your car to be ready! You can speed the process up, but once again, it's going to cost you! And it can cost up to 10 gold coins for that!
And it doesn't stop there! Buying upgrades to your car suffers the same procedure. You buy the upgrade, and again you will have to wait up to 30 minutes for the part to install to your vehicle, unless you pay up gold coins!
And these gold coins don't come cheap either. It costs $2 for just 10, all the way up to $100 for 1,000 coins! Does EA really think that people will look at this and yell out "Shut up and take my money?"
This latest business tactic by EA is insulting to gamers, and it's a shame, because deep down, I see a great mobile based racing game just wanting to release its true potential. It has amazing controls, even for a touchscreen, and looks gorgeous on my Asus TF201. But again, it's a sign of EA putting their attempts to make money in the way of gamers enjoying one of their games.
I'll still play Real Racing 3, but I won't be giving EA any of my money at all. I will wait the hour long repairs!
Again I can picture Billy Mitchell saying what I'm thinking. "Someone tells me they are racing with a fully upgraded Bugatti Veyron, I'd say 'yeah, how much did it cost you?"
Currently Playing: MLB 2K13 (360,) Real Racing 3 (Android, when I am not being forced to wait.)
Waiting For: Tomb Raider (360, whenever Gamefly decides to send it to me!)
Tell Todd what you think - he can handle it! Email him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.