You know how it is, sometimes companies that you buy products from make astoundingly fantastic decisions where you’re like, “Here, here!” and want to see if you can perhaps get them a sneaky Nobel prize. Other times, companies do things that make you go, “WTF?” and ponder whether you need to head into a marketing meeting with a psychologist in tow to get everyone checked out. What EA have decided to do with their new version of Tetris on the Apple App Store is one of those latter times.
Writing over on BeefJack, I was pretty sure Lewis was trying not to give a sense of disbelief, as the game is real, when he was talking about the new Tetris (that’s available in the US) and how you can sign up to the “T-Club” when you buy it (currently the introductory price for the basic game is $0.99). For $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year, the T-Club gives you access to other “goodies” that aren’t in the standard paid-for version of Tetris.
Okay, maybe Lewis couldn’t quite keep the sarcasm out at this point:
Created by a Russian guy named Electronic Arts, along with the aptly named Tetris Company, it’s described by the press release we received today as “revolutionary”. Which is true: you do literally revolve the blocks as they fall down the screen.
It is beyond ludicrous that someone at EA thought that evolving a much loved puzzle game in this way could ever amount to any good. In fact, let us not forget that EA bought PopCap earlier this year, so imagine them applying this model to something like Peggle or Bejeweled.
While some people complain about day one DLC for hardcore games, what we have here with what EA have done to a game about moving blocks around the place… this, ladies and gentlemen, is a marketing ploy that was previously beyond the realms of my imagination and the fact that it is now reality alarms me to the core.
So far, reception to the news of what EA is up to hasn’t been well met if the comments on the likes of Joystiq are anything to go by. I think the general feeling is that people are willing to pay once for game apps, but don’t expect to have to subscribe to get some more content.
And if comments from the official Tetris FB page are anything to go by, then people who had previous versions of the app aren’t happy about the fact that they’ll have to buy it again in order to have the new version. As one user commented:
I’M NEVER BUYING ANYTHING FROM EA EVER AGAIN. Why are you not updating people who have already paid? What a rip off. You awful, awful company.
So, yeah… what the hell are EA thinking?