Free-to-play games are widely scorned, and there’s reason for that. Many F2P games, especially in mobile, are poorly designed and turn into games where you have to pay to win. It’s gotten so bad that Apple is now taking shots at free-to-play games in its own app store.
The Mary Sue found a very real “Pay Once and Play” section on the App Store. It’s in the featured section, and, well, we’ll let you discover the rest for yourself. Suffice to say it’s a wonderful little taste of corporate passive-aggressiveness, although we wish Apple had been a bit more blunt. Come on, guys. Tell us how you really feel.
There’s a bit more to this than even Apple hating poor gameplay mechanics. Free-to-play games have repeatedly gotten Apple in trouble, whether it’s being sued by the FTC and European authorities or the bad press that comes whenever some clown of a parent hands the kid an iPhone hooked up to a credit card and then discovers kids have no self-control. Apple has likely decided that in-app purchases are more trouble than they’re worth, and this would seem to be the first step in de-emphasizing those kinds of apps.
Of course, Apple could just ban in-app purchases for all but the most trusted of developers. But they like money a little too much to let that happen just yet. Give it time, though, or maybe just a few rounds of Tetris Blitz. A few games of being hit up for two bucks for a power-up, and even Tim Cook might decide the financial hit is worth it.