While perusing Facebook last night, we couldn’t help but notice a trailer forDeath Rally‘s newest update, 1.3. While impressive, it was a bit shocking, because it seemed like only yesterday that we downloaded the last update for the game.
Free downloads for iPhone and iPad games are commonplace, to the point where every day feels like Christmas morning.
That said, companies usually scatter the updates over the course of a month or two. Rovio, for example, releases new content for Angry Birds Seasons in accordance with new holidays.
Remedy Entertainment, Death Rally’s creator, took this concept to a whole other level. First, it released the game for $2.99 with the promise of free updates. Originally, we assumed (wrongly, of course) this meant content every 30 days, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Remedy has been surprisingly aggressive, releasing updates every couple of weeks.
What’s more, these are massive downloads, not necessarily in size, but content. You’ll receive new tracks, cars, weapons, control schemes and various tweaks to the game that make it much more satisfying and complete. Suffice to say, this is money well spent.
Oskari Hakkinen, Remedy’s head of franchise development, elaborated. “Our strategy from the start has been to update regularly to keep the gameplay evolving and the players coming back. With new features and content constantly in development, we hope the new and existing Death Rally fans are enjoying the game. Multiplayer is something we are working hard on. That’ll really knock their socks off.”
This is a perfect example of a company that gets iPhone and iPad development, and most importantly, the audience. It’s fully aware that in order to stay relevant, there needs to be a steady stream of updates to keep players interested, and the developers go above and beyond what’s normally expected.
In a way, this practice is a bit destructive on the console side, since publishers have trouble grasping the concept of the word “free”. On Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, almost everything costs money. On the App Store, you exchange a small amount of coin for a game that (in the hands of a great company) constantly evolves over time.
That said, we applaud Remedy for grabbing the App Store by the horns and continuing to make Death Rally a sublime experience. Other companies, take note. This should be the rule, not the exception.