Fans fight free price on Real Racing 3

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CNET Editor

Seamus Byrne is the Editor of CNET Australia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Usually at the same time.

Firemonkeys has announced a 28 February launch date for Real Racing 3, but the free price tag has fans upset at the in-app purchase pressures that such an app launch would suggest.

(Credit: Firemonkeys/EA)

Australian app game developer Firemonkeys managed to surprise on a few fronts with its launch reveal yesterday for the highly anticipated Real Racing 3. Alongside the 28 February launch date, Firemonkeys revealed that the game will be released free to play, and will arrive not only on iOS but also on Android on the same day.

Fans have reacted with anger to the free pricing reveal. The first two Real Racing games were launched at premium app game prices, with the game always aiming to set itself apart as a "true" racing sim worthy of a premium price. With Real Racing 3 being developed at Firemonkeys since the team's acquisition by EA, fans are blaming EA for interference in the company's past approach to its app racing series.

Across the Real Racing Facebook page and the Firemonkeys forum, fans have reacted angrily at the free price announcement.

Firemonkeys forum user tiptoptone said:

I have never previously enjoyed free games that slow down your in-game development, usually based on making you do the same task over and over till you earn enough in-game money, or alternatively pay using [in-app purchasing]. The problem I have with [in-app purchasing] is that you don't know how long you'll have to keep paying to get past the hurdles of having enough in-game money, so as to get to the end of the game.

On the Real Racing Facebook page, Jordan Guerrero said:

So we get garbage in-app purchases and that nasty EA logo on the icon, which is the constant mark of a crumby freemium game. Looks like RR3 is going to be just like all the others. Pity.

Firemonkeys stated that the game was designed "from the ground up" to be free to play, and that the free game at launch will feature "46 licensed vehicles, three classes, a 22 car grid, real world tracks, eight varied event types and 900+ events".

"This means hundreds of hours of gameplay for free, making this one of the most expansive games ever on mobile."

Some fans have been vocal in their support of Firemonkeys on the question of a change in payment schemes.

Firemonkeys forum user "The Farmer" said:

Let's face it ... most of us spent from US$4.99 to US$14.99 for RR2, and have played it for a year or two ... sometimes thousands of hours. FM has to maintain the servers and software updates for us with no additional income. That is not a sustainable model, because the new players (the ones we complain about) are supporting the old players.

At a price of "free", only the most stubborn will not try the new game out to see what the final product has to offer. So there's no question Firemonkeys will have the opportunity to prove it is striking the right freemium balance when the game goes live on the 28th.

We're going hands on with Real Racing 3 this week in Melbourne, so we will report back soon on just how much of an influence freemium has had on the core gaming experience.

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AndrewD8 posted a comment   

The real issue is that to get the same gameplay experience as the previous games, you will end up paying much more than the initial $9.99 pricetag that the previous games charged upfront rather than as "bonus" DLC.

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