Real Racing 3‘s standout feature just might be Time Shifted Multiplayer. This feature takes the performance of actual players, and makes them the racers that you then compete against. There are no fake computer opponents; every event is a race against actual people (though not their exact performance, per se, because it is possible to interact with the cars). Still, the whole game is one entire multiplayer race, and every event presents an opportunity to not just get first place, but to beat the actual times of real people, including friends’ times. It’s extremely satisfying.
However, this feature can be confusing when trying out the game for the first time. When you see that you’re racing some random schmucks and not your friends, you might wonder. To alleviate any potential confusion, then, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Time Shifted Multiplayer.
How do I race my friends?
You just need to add them to your friends list on either Game Center or Facebook. As they download and play the game, they will be added to your friends list and they will start to populate the race grids. There’s nothing you necessarily need to do manually to be racing friends–the game handles it all automatically. And it’s not just ghost performances that you race against: in time trial and top speed events, their ranks are what you need to top.
So what’s that invite button on the left sidebar for?
It’s meant to invite friends who aren’t on Game Center or that you haven’t added yet to join your friends list, or to invite existing Facebook friends to download the game. There’s no need to do anything to add your existing friends who play the game to your in-game player list, the game will add them automatically.
Why am I racing all these people who aren’t my friends?
Well, that’s for two reasons: one, if you don’t have enough friends to fill out a race grid then it will use other people from the internet. Two, the game will try to provide a fair challenge when trying to earn trophies. If friends fit that bill, they will be your competitors in that race. This is meant to provide a sense of balance, as if you just had friends who were really good, then it would be impossible to get the top-3 finishes necessary for trophies. Conversely, if you outclass your friends, then it would be way too easy to succeed.
So how do I actually race my friends?
Get a gold medal on a track, and the game will focus on making you race friends, especially ones with better times than you, in order for you to try and beat their times.
Is there any benefit to adding friends to race against?
Well, there’s certainly pride: seeing the name and avatar of a friend disappear in your rear view mirror is plenty satisfying. Plus, they get a push notification saying that you’ve bested them. It’s more of a push humiliation, really. However, as a more tangible benefit, the game also grants cash bonuses for beating the top times of your friends.
Have any more questions about Time Shifted Multiplayer? Ask us in the comments below!
Posted by Jeff Scott on February 27th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The hotly anticipated free to play game Real Racing 3 is finally available in the US App Store. Grab it now and hit the tracks! Check out our Review of Real Racing 3 while you download this social racer.
EA and Firemonkeys’ new racing game Real Racing 3 not only features real cars, it also features real-world race courses. Some of the world’s most famous race courses are in the game, and so is one interesting fictional course with real-world basis. So without further ado, here are the five hottest tracks of Real Racing 3.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
It’s not the most exciting course layout, no. It’s four left turns. But in a game full of twisty, turny courses, this is one track where cars can go all out, trying ot drive as fast as possible, running the smart racing lines to keep speed highest. That, and consider the history of the track, home of the Indianapolis 500, one of the Triple Crown of Motorsport races. It’s a basic layout, but it’s a famous one.
This track located in Bathurst, Australia, may not be well-known to the casual racing fan, but racing on the track will make its appeal apparent. It’s like a roller coaster, with much of the race being a twisty, uphill climb. But it all comes to a head when the downward slope hits, offering a beautiful panoramic view of its setting, and a chance to set some fast speed times on that downhill slope. This track serves as one of the first speed tests in the game, and it also is a challenging multi-lap track thanks to its 2–3 minute lap times.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
This raceway, built at the bottom of a barren lake, is one of America’s most famous road courses. It’s particularly famous for its corkscrew turn at turn 8, where the a sudden left then right on a banked road causes the ground to look like it’s twisted like a corkscrew. Its dry and barren look gives the course a different visual look than many of the others in the game.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
The Belgian hillsides are a lovely and idyllic place, a lovely place to take a nice leisurely joyride through at over 140 miles per hour, no? This lengthy track boasts a long straightaway to make this one of the fastest courses in the world and in the game, with plenty of great views. Just don’t get distracted, as there’s plenty of dangerous, hilly turns, including the famous Eau Rouge corner and the Blanchimont turn.
This track stretches the definition of what is a real course and what isn’t. It’s based off of a real-world location, but nobody has actually raced here. Instead, Firemonkeys took the actual Melbourne central business district, worked out how to cordon off side streets to make it into an actual race track, and put it into the game. So it’s possible to actually race through the streets of Melbourne, seeing actual sights around this area, at speeds no one has hopefully ever gone at!
Here’s a quick rundown on how earning in-game money in Real Racing 3 relates to real dollars and time and what it would take to finish the game. What we found is rather shocking, doubly so if compared to current day console racing games.
Before we get to the details, we should note that these numbers are current at the time of writing. But like most free to play games the in-app purchase prices, timers, and values can change at any time the developer wishes. In the two weeks I’ve been playing, changes have already happened twice. So, the numbers reported could be different than they are when this is read.
In Real Racing 3, to get to 100% a player needs to win every one of the 961 current events. As there are races restricted to each one of the 46 cars in the game, to enter those races the related car must be owned. So to get to 100% in Real Racing 3 players must buy every car and win every race. What will it take to do that?
Also take note that like many free to play games, Real Racing 3 is tuned to allow players to earn everything without paying. But a player really has to want to put the time in to earn it. The developer doesn’t charge anything for the game with the hope that players will spend some money in the game to speed up their progress.
To earn enough money to buy every car in Real Racing 3, what would it take? Our numbers show that it would take over 472 hours to earn enough money to buy all of the cars in the game. Or to purchase all of the cars with real money via in-app purchase, it would cost $503.22 at the current best rate.
To earn all of the cars in the game rather that buy them with real money, a player would need to finish 6,801 races with an average (per our RR3 stats) of 4:10 per race earning R$3,700 per race. That would equal 472 hours to earn the R$25,163,573 it would cost in the in-game currency to buy all 46 cars. That does not include the cost for repairs, maintenance, or upgrades which can be rather expensive.
If a player wanted to take the shortcut and buy all of the cars in the game with real money, that would cost $503.22 in in-app purchases. That’s assuming the current best rate of R$50,005 per US$1 when buying R$5,000,000 at a time.
Let’s compare the cost for Real Racing 3 to modern day console games, what could be purchased for that $503.22. For one example, a player could get a 4GB XBox 360, Forza Horizon (one of the newest racing sims on the 360), all of it’s DLC including over 127 cars, and a 22″ Vizio flatscreen LED TV. And still have $17.22 left over.
I think I can safely say that the way that the cars and the in-app currency are currently structured in Real Racing 3 right now seems a bit out of whack. It seems extreme to think that players have the choice of playing for well over 400 hours or paying over $500 to unlock everything to complete the game. Or most likely, some combination of the two.
And these numbers are not counting any of the promised expansions that will deliver new events and new cars. Those will increase the time and money required to get to 100% complete.
Nor are these numbers including upgrades that could be required to win races. It is very unlikely that any player can win all races without upgrading at least one car in each series. And those upgrades can get pricey as fully upgrading a car can cost more than the base cost of a car. So while on paper it could take 472 hours to earn enough in game currency to buy all of the cars. In practice that number could be as much as doubled to pay for upgrades that would be required to win each race.
Free to play games are tuned to balance the fun a player has vs. the developers need to get earn money to pay for the game development via in-app purchases, that’s just the way free to play works. I’m not going to say it’s wrong, but it at times like this it just doesn’t feel quite right.
For players that feel the need to get to 100% in games, take caution with Real Racing 3. It will take a lot of time, or money to make it to 100%.
While Real Racing 3‘s international release date is still targeted for February 28th, some lucky players across the world are already getting the chance to play EA and The Firemonkeys’ hotly-anticipated racing game a couple weeks early. New Zealand and Australia already have the ability to download the free-to-play title starting today, and Canadians may get a chance starting tonight to play it as well, according to Touch Arcade.
This in all likelihood is a server test for the game. What developers occasionally do is to release their games to just select countries in order to not only test their servers, but to get feedback from real-world users that can be implemented before a global launch. In this case, EA and Firemonkeys may also use this lead time as a way to fill the game’s Time Shifted Multiplayer with a balance of real player performances.
The game is available immediately in Australia and New Zealand [NZ iTunes Link], and while everyone else has to wait, there are ways to become an honorary Kiwi and download the game right now. Those who do will be glad to know that progress is backed up to the cloud if they decide to delete and reinstall their country’s version in order to buy in-app purchases.
I feel lucky that I got a lot of time to play Real Racing 3. With well over an hour of playtime with Firemonkeys community manager Sam Mayo walking me through the game, I think I got a fairly good feel for Real Racing 3. That time with the game has just made my anticipation for the release greater.
I also got the opportunity to record a ton of video. Of the cars, some of the tracks and race types, the repair system, and more.
Wonder what the 46 cars are in Real Racing and wanted to see them? This video is for you. Here’s a parade of all 46 cars where you can see their specs at the bottom of the screen.
A special note here. Some of the cars don’t look perfect. The reason for that is the damage system in the game. If you damage the car while racing, that damage is persistent, much like it would be in real life. Your car will be represented as damaged anywhere in the game you see it. You can still race it, upgrade it, paint it, etc. But it will remain damaged, with it’s performance reduced, until you spend the in game currency to repair it and wait the time it takes.
Now, back to that video.
Customize and Upgrades in Real Racing 3
Like most racing games, Real Racing 3 has upgrade and customization options. For Real Racing 3 you can make a variety of tiered upgrades to the Engine, Drivetrain, Suspension, Brakes, and the Wheels. Under each section there are from two to four tiered upgrades you can do. Meaning that you need tier 1 to apply tier 2, and so on. Each of these upgrades applied to a single car and has the possibility to increase the top speed, acceleration, braking, or traction of the vehicle. Each one should decrease your lap times by some amount.
Mount Panorama Track – Time Trial in Real Racing 3
Mount Panorama is aptly named. You race up this steep track on a mountain that never seems to end, crest the top to a beautiful panorama, and plunge right back down the other side. Awesomely rendered vistas, but better keep your eye on the road. I did make more than a few mistakes on this time trial / Autocross race while looking around the beautifully rendered track.
Head to Head – Circuit de Spa-Francordchamps in Real Racing 3
We also did a head to head race on the long and very fast Circuit de Spa, or just Spa. It’s a great track and racer “drollted” provided a worthy challenge, until he made a mistake near the end of the first lap. It was bye bye from then on out as he had to take second place and I got the win!
Full 22 Car Race on Southbank, Melbourne in Real Racing 3
Real Racing 2 was amazing with up to 16 cars in a single race. Real Racing 3 has bumped that up to 22 cars. In this Southbank race you’ll see all 22 cars squeeze through a very narrow course. Southbank is the course through the streets of Melbourne. It’s a track that doesn’t exist and was just a fun experiment by the Firemonkeys team to add a brand new course. And a challenging one at that! This race gets a little dirty with lots of bumping and wall grinding in the narrow turns. I couldn’t pull out a win on this one. It was my first drive on the track and I made too many mistakes. Those walls just jump right out at you! The best I could do was to climb from 22nd to a disappointing 6th. Even dirty driving can’t win every time.
That’s all we have right now. You can tell from all of the coverage we’ve been giving Real Racing 3 that we are anxiously awaiting it. Real Racing 3 comes out as a Universal build on iOS on February 28th. It also realeases for Android at the same time.
Note that this is a preview of Real Racing 3, not a review. We can never review an app when it’s presented by people related to the app. The reason is that we have no idea how the game is tuned for that demo. We need to reserve judgement for the final release of the game, downloaded from the App Store, and set up just like it is for everyone else.
We got a chance to grab some quality hands on time with Real Racing 3 today. We got about thirty minutes of video we’ll be posting over the coming days. The game, much as we expected, it’s pretty amazing! It looks great, it plays great, and our concerns about the free to play model were somewhat assuaged.
We’ll have more on the free to play model once we get more time with it. But you can at least rest assured it’s not super intrusive. It exists pretty much as we guessed last week, but with less friction and fewer pay walls than I anticipated.
The free to play energy system in Real Racing 3 works like this. You earn cash when racing. When you race, and damage your car, you have to pay for those repairs. The better you are, the less damage you do to your car. To fix you car, you have to use the cash you earn. You also have to pay for upgrades and new cars. While the damage to your car does affect the power of it, you can chose to not repair it and keep racing.
Also, typical to most free to play games there are two currencies included. Dollars and gold coins. Dollars pay for repairs, upgrades, etc., the gold coins speed things up, reducing your wait time.
Repairs and upgrades take time to complete. How long depends on how much damage or how big of an upgrade it is. You can speed them up by using gold coins. You only earn gold coins by leveling up in the game or by buying them with real money via in-app purchase.
All in all, not that intrusive for free to play games. But I can’t totally give it a pass as the device I was playing on had millions in cash and thousands of gold coins. That doesn’t give me a good feel for how fast you earn money or how fast you are forced to spend it. We’ll have more when we get a chance to try it on our devices.
Here’s a quick demo of Real Racing 3, featuring the first full race seen anywhere. We’ll have more videos coming soon with more on the cars in the game, the repair and upgrade system, and more. But first, here’s 4:26 of Real Racing 3 bliss.
Real Racing 3 launches as a Universal app on February 28th. We hope to have a promo code soon so we can start setting some hot laps. When we get one, we’ll have more in-depth info.
Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.
Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.
In the past few months, monetization of games has made a huge shift. With the exception of Minecraft Pocket, the only games to spend any time high up on the top grossing list have been free to play games. It’s obvious where the money is. Real Racing 3, with a budget likely to eclipse the reported $2 million budget of Real Racing 2, may have to be free to play to have the potential of making a profit. Let’s take a look at the evidence.
For one, Firemint / Firemonkeys have already tested the free to play world with mixed results. The follow-up to their first smash hit Flight Control, called Flight Control Rocket was initially released as $0.99 paid download. The game was tweaked to drive higher in-app monetization and made free to play. There was a bit of a backlash though as many of the in-app purchases were considered “pay to win” items. Something that really ruins the competitive aspect of games. Flight Control Rocket was never a huge hit and it’s thought to have lost money.
A similar thing happened with another Firemint / Firemonkeys game, Spy Mouse. Initially released as a $0.99 puzzle game, it was tweaked with in-app purchase items included and made free. It is rumored that this change was much more successful for Spy Mouse in generating revenue. So we know that Firemint / Firemonkeys have their tests in free to play. They also see how much money is being made in free to play, it’s logical that they would move that way. Nearly the whole industry is heading that way.
Today the Real Racing 3 Game Center achievements are discovered, thanks to the carelessness of an EA employee. To my eye they verify that Real Racing 3 will be free to play. Two achievements in particular, “Extreme Paintover – apply 100 paint jobs” and “Wrenching Experience – conduct 5,000 repairs” point in that direction as they both seem excessive for a standard paid release.
Free to play games usually have what is called an energy system. This is the pay/play wall you hit when you have played a certain amount without paying anything. The energy system can be thought of as your allotted playtime. The energy / playtime decreases as you play and rebuilds as you wait. The “Wrenching Experience” achievement listed above to me indicates that cars will need to be repaired after racing, effectively refilling your energy to race again. The reason I think that is that 5,000 repairs is a huge number unless repairing the car is a necessary condition to racing. And why would that be a necessary condition of racing if it wasn’t a free to play energy system?
Free to play can be done right, even in racing games, so I’m holding out hope for Real Racing 3, should it turn out to be free to play. I have faith in Firemonkeys that they will not ruin my most favorite francise on iOS. When the game play is put first, and the monetization is optional, the game could shine as free to play. But when an overly aggressive energy system interrupts gameplay and forces plays to pay up or wait, it really saps the excitement from the game. I’m hoping for the former, obviously.
I can also hope for a single in-app purchase to just unlock everything and get rid of any play limits, energy systems, or similar. That would be the best of both worlds. But I doubt we’ll see that.
For Real Racing to succeed with both free to play and core racing gamers, it needs to carefully ride that thin line between pay walls and allowing players to just play. It’s a tough line to ride. And if there’s even a hint of pay to win, it will in my opinion, kill the game with all but the most casual gamers. Something like that would lead to a huge backlash from the hundreds of thousands of devoted players that love the Real Racing series, like me.
We’ll find out next week. EA is hosting an event in San Francisco which will be the first event to let journalists get hands on with Real Racing 3. It should be evident there what the plan is for monetization of Real Racing 3. Oh yeah, and I finally get to play Real Racing 3!
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 31st, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The folks (Electronic Arts) behind The Simpsons: Tapped Out must have love on their minds, as they’ve just updated their free, universal app with new stuff for Valentine’s Day. Decorate Springfield with limited-time decorations, collect Hearts from around town, and send Valentines greetings to your friends.
• New Buildings – Pick up some love handles a la mode at Phineas Q. Butterfat’s, capitalize on insecure relationships at Howard’s Flowers, and even lose some golf balls at Sir Putt-A-Lots.
• New Characters – Send Shauna around searching for young love, get Homer and Marge to snuggle in the Golf Castle, and send Valentines with Lisa.
• New Decorations – Sweeten up your Springfield with rose bushes, cherub topiaries, and the “I Choo-Choo-Choose You Train.”
• New Quests – Join Bart on his quest for love. Will Bart and Shauna enjoy a blossoming romance, or will Bart be left sulking in his room?
• New Event – Visit your friends’ towns, send Valentine’s Day cards, and generate limited-time Heart currency.
The soon to be released Real Racing 3 is on a lot of iOS gamers’ minds these days, especially many of us here at 148Apps. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to recap the series. In fact, we might have gone a bit beyond that and created a trilogy. First we’ll be taking a look at the series’ history and the history of Firemint, the Melbourne based studio that created the series. After that we’ll be taking a look at the design factors and what when into creating the first two Real Racing titles as well as a little of the third. And in the third part of this series, we’ll take a look at the new Time Shifted Multiplayer found in Real Racing 3.
One of the best-known examples of how far developers can push Apple’s new iPhone 5 hardware is looming just over the horizon. However, it wasn’t always so. Sure the Real Racing series has steadily become pretty much synonymous with near console-quality visuals on mobile platforms, even going so far as to have a permanent spot on the App Store’s Big-Name Games and Racing Games lists, but there was once a time when no one knew the name Firemint. This was around four years ago, when most mobile games were still easily distinguished from virtually every other platform. You know, when Solitaire and box-pushing puzzles came preloaded on everything and acquiring new games wasn’t anywhere near as convenient as it is now. Oddly enough, the developer’s first major innovation wasn’t even based around graphics.
According to Kynan Woodman, Real Racing 3’s Development Director, the original Real Racing was actually more of an experiment than a real game. Specifically they were trying to figure out how to rig up accelerometer steering for a Nokia handset in a way that wasn’t awkward or unnatural. Keep in mind this was back in 2008, and up to that point attempts at such a control scheme would tilt the view along with everything else which wasn’t exactly conducive to a driving game. “To solve this problem we tilted the horizon dynamically to counter your steering of the device,” he said, “so that regardless of where you moved the horizon in the game would match the real world. It seems obvious now, but no one had done it at the time.” Firemint didn’t just find a work-around for a common problem, the team developed a solution that set a new design standard for accelerometer controls.
Building A Unique Race
Once it had the horizon tilting figured out, Firemint began to construct the game that would eventually become Real Racing around it. “There was a lot more to the Real Racing franchise than great controls,” said Woodman, “but it started with that as a key innovation.” As it turns out, innovation ended up being Firemint’s calling card of sorts.
The developer’s second major task was to construct an interior view that the series has come to be known for, “… so players could actually see the steering wheel move as they steered,” Woodman said. It’s a feature that isn’t uncommon in console racing games these days (Codemasters’ Race Driver: Grid is a prime example), but it’s not prevalent in many – if any – iOS racers. The added level of detail, and by extension immersion, goes a long way to enhancing the “simulation” experience.
The decision to create a racing game built around closed tracks was made fairly early on in the cycle, however, but the rest of the design evolved as the game was developed. No one at Firement (now Firemonkeys) expected their project to become such a juggernaut on the App Store or to be the target of much speculation when early gameplay footage (above) was first revealed on PocketGamer in August of 2008. “We particularly enjoyed all the comments from consumers about how it was ‘clearly fake,’” said Woodman. Encouraged by these reactions, Firemint continued its work on through 2009, listening to fan and potential consumer feedback all the while. “We had a good idea of what people would like from the game,” he said, “because we could read comments and talk to press and consumers about it. Although we couldn’t do everything that players would like, we did use their feedback to help us focus the game design.”
Not Just A Racing Game Studio
Amidst all the hullabaloo surrounding console-quality visuals and innovations up the wazoo it can be easy to forget that Firemint doesn’t only make racing games. In fact, before Real Racing came out, it was already flying high (*rimshot*) thanks to the success of Flight Control. This casual mobile rendition of a day in the life on an air traffic controller began as a simple experiment concocted by Firemint CEO Robert Murray. It was meant to be a simple design exercise created over the winter break when the studio was shut down for the holidays, but garnered so much attention around the studio that fellow Firemint designers, Alexandra Peters and Jesse West, hopped on board to help turn it into a full-blown game–a good call considering that it’s sold over half-a-million copies in its first month and well over three million to date.
The original Real Racing went on to receive plenty of accolades, including 2010’s Apple Design and IMGA’s Excellence in Connectivity Awards, as well as a Best App Ever Award for Best Racing Game, Best Graphics, and Best Simulation Game in 2009. It’s also sold a whole bunch–and that’s just the first game. Not surprisingly, after Real Racing was launched in June of 2009, work on Real Racing 2 began roughly 6 months later.
The sequel to Firemint’s critical darling turned its fair share of heads as well when it was released in December of 2010. In addition to carrying over all the new concepts and special features that made the original Real Racing so noteworthy, Real Racing 2 added plenty of new items to its pedigree. The career mode was greatly expanded upon by allowing players to earn cash to purchase new cars and even upgrade their current ones. More camera options were added along with a special TV broadcast-style instant replay system. Vehicles were given damage models so that particularly rough races would leave telltale signs all over the racer’s cars. Online save options were added to allow players a chance to carry over their racing career when they installed the game to a new device. It was one of the first games to incorporate Apple’s Airplay technology which allowed players to view their games on their TV, using their iOS device as a stand-in for a controller. Actually, it allowed up to four players to view their games on the bigger screen all at once by way of the special Party Mode.
Last but not least, and in keeping with the whole “innovation” thing, Firemint also managed to include 16 player races (against AI in single player or 15 other people online), which was a first for iOS games at the time and no small feat in and of itself. All of these various features reportedly pushed Real Racing 2’s development costs to over $2 million. So it wasn’t just a first for iOS multiplayer, it was also a first for iOS development costs. Real Racing 2 has received a fair share of success with a combined (critic) Metacritic score of 94 to date along with taking the Best App Ever Awards for Racing and Graphics in 2010. With so many hits on Firemint’s hands, it’s no wonder large publishers like EA took notice.
The following year, Firemint was absorbed into the collective that is Electronic Arts. Some were understandably concerned about the acquisition, as it’s not uncommon for smaller studios to lose most of what makes them special (or get dismantled entirely) once they become a part of a much larger whole. However, Firemint CEO Rob Murray, as well as EA Interactive’s Executive VP, Barry Cottle, were quick to put those fears to rest by recalling the developer’s history. Many of Firemint’s pre-Flight Control and pre-iOS releases (Need for Speed Most Wanted, Madden, etc) were created while under contract for EA Mobile. One could even argue that EA helped to shape the folks at Firemint into the dream team they are today. Getting bought by one of the largest video game publishers in the business while being able to maintain their creative freedom made for an exciting opportunity for the already quite successful developer. But it didn’t end there. In July of 2012, Firemint joined forces with IronMonkey Studios (Dead Space, Need for Speed Undercover) to create Firemonkeys. I hope they braced for all the inevitable Infernape jokes beforehand. Since then, EA’s involvement has most likely influenced Firemint’s/Firemonkey’s pricing structures, but overall it seems like they’ve left the developer to do their own thing, which is to make fantastic games.
A more recent and potentially troubling development was the announcement that Rob Murray–former CEO of Firemint, mastermind behind Flight Control, and Executive Producer at Firemonkeys–would be leaving to spend time as a full-time dad. It’s a perfectly good reason to step down and Tony Lay, EA’s Melbourne Studio GM, has more than enough experience to see Real Racing 3 to its release as the new Executive Producer, but it’s difficult not to have a little concern over what this means for Firemonkeys. Development heads come and go from time to time, as is the nature of the industry, but sometimes major shakeups can be difficult to shake off. There have also been rumblings of another kind of shakeup for Real Racing 3. The App Store is still a tough market to predict when it comes to pricing structure, and it’s rumored that Firemonkeys might do away with the premium price tag for their new racer. In fact, if the rumors are to be believed Real Racing 3 just might be free-to-play. It’s not definite by any stretch of the imagination at this point, but it is possible.
It’s impressive to think that Firemint accomplished all of this–several multi-award winning games, millions upon millions in cumulative sales, and a significant acquisition by a major publisher–in about three years’ time. Where they go from here is anybody’s guess, but with Real Racing 3 looming on the horizon, the future definitely looks exciting, and pretty shiny.
Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the design decisions and what it took to make the premier iOS racing game series, so stay tuned.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 29th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
FIFA 13, EA’s latest soccer game, garnered four and a half stars from our reviewer when it released. Now, the company has updated the game to include more “off the pitch” features, including the following:
• Build and manage your own team of the best players on earth.
• Trade and sign new players to enhance team chemistry and boost performance.
• Manage player fitness and morale to reap extra rewards.
• Play free – or purchase packs with over 10,000 real-life superstars.
• Improve players’ stats as their real-life performances heat up on the world stage of football.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 15th, 2013 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
Electronic Arts has put together a Daily Deal, starting with Risk: The Official Game for iPad at a significant 85% off discount. It’s available today only, so grab it for $0.99 while you can, before it jumps back up to $6.99.
BATTLE COMPUTER & REAL-WORLD ENEMIES
With 3 ways to play – all for up to 6 players – RISK for iPad is made to satisfy the competitive demands of true strategy gamers. Test your power against unforgiving computer-driven adversaries. Play all around the board against your greatest real-world rivals in an epic war game. Or collide head-to-head against your most personal opponent via local WiFi or Bluetooth.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on December 6th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Be warned, it is indeed the end of the calendar year, and as such, you’re going to see a metric tonne of “holiday-themed” updates to your favorite games on iOS before the New Year. The latest update is to EA’s The Simpsons: Tapped Out.
You can fill your virtual Springfield with new limited-edition characters, quests, buildings, jobs, holidays decorations, buildings, and trees, along with holiday-themed content like Santa Homer, Santa’s Village, and (natch) Santa’s Little Helper.
· New Characters – Go on a binge with Barney, blast Sideshow Mel from a cannon, and have Santa Homer endure whiny kids’ wishes. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa’s Little Helper!
· New Buildings – Steal a copy of Bonestorm from the Try-N-Save, roll a strike at the Bowl-a-rama, and feed the reindeer at Santa’s Village.
· Put Up Lights & Decorations – Decorate Springfield with a Holiday tree or light adornments for all the homes around town.
· Santa Coins – Players can perform holiday jobs and collect Santa Coins that can be used to unlock unique prizes.
Two games were demoed at the Apple Event Wednesday. Real Racing 3 was the one that really showed off the device. Talking to Rob Murray after the event he noted that the A6 processor in the iPhone 5 allowed them to turn up the effects even more than they already had to make everything in the game look even more realistic.
Real Racing 3 will be out before the end of the year and include interesting new features like time-shifted multiplayer via Game Center, working side mirrors, and visual effects like we’ve never seen on a portable device. These are console-quality graphics we are talking about. Take a look at the following, first screen shot of Real Racing 3 (click for full size 1136×640 screen).
Posted by Jeff Scott on September 6th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Popcap have released an update to Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone and iPad. It comes as the closest we’ve seen to DLC on iOS, via an in-app purchase for the Last Stand Game Pack. Interesting. Here’s the change log:
Make Your Stand
The Last Stand Game Pack (100,000 coins for in-app purchase of $.99) features 5 new levels, plus Last Stand Endless mode that provides an exciting new variant of the game’s classic Endless mode.
Unlock 3 new achievements: Hammer Time, Still Standing and The Stuff of Legends, which bring the game’s total achievements to 48 for iPad and 47 for iPhone.
As Smart as a Bag of Hammers
Pick up a new Mallet Pack to help whack zombies in Survival and Last Stand Endless modes. Check out Crazy Dave’s Shop for more details.
Full Retina Display Support for iPad
Enjoy sharp, crisp graphics that enhance the playing experience for iPad.
This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-12-15 :: Category: Games
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, “Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.
Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: “Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S.”
More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!
Firemonkeys, formed from the recent merger of Firemint and Iron Monkey Studios, has announced its first title: Real Racing 3. This sequel to the popular racing series promises to boast more of what made the series so popular.
While only an alpha version was shown off, the footage is all based on in-game visuals, which displays how detailed the cars are going to be in the game. The details won’t come at the sacrifice of cars on the track, as the racing field has been expanded to 22 cars. There’s no confirmation of 22-player online multiplayer yet, though.
To help put the “Real” in Real Racing 3, real-life tracks are going to be in the game, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Laguna Seca, and Silverstone. New car brands have been added, including Porsche, Audi, and Dodge. No release date was confirmed, other than that it is scheduled to release sometime this year. Check out our video of Rob Murray from Firemonkeys announcing the game below.
It’s Fourth Of July here in the states, and everyone is celebrating with sales on their apps, including EA, Chillingo, Crytek, WB Games and more. Let’s take a look, shall we?
First up is EA – from July 2th until July 9th, all their games will be $0.99 or free. Their pitch basically amounts to an “all our stuff is on sale” sale. That said, here are a few great games you should definitely pick up at these low prices.
Warner Bros. are also doing a “Everything is $0.99″ sale, maybe just to prove they can. It’s nice to see some competition here, but the indies are sure to feel the pinch. Even so, there are some great games to save money on. Here are a few we dig.
There are also some games on sale for Independence Day that don’t hearken from the juggernauts of electronic gaming, but they’re still worth your time and monies. Check ‘em out below, but be sure to check the price before you buy – some of these are on sale starting on the 4th itself.
A lot of people enjoy Scrabble. Like a lot. But while the current official iOS rendition is doing okay, it’s been in need of a little tweaking for a while. Well the time for tweaking is nigh.
The list of changes includes a much-improved user interface that not only looks nice but makes setting up matches and finding friends a lot easier. In fact, it makes the act of setting up a game into about as painless a process as I’ve seen yet. The chat features have also been updated, and even include some pretty wacky emoticons. There’s also a rather handy new feature that will allow players to see what other words they might have made with their letters after (emphasis on after) their turn is submitted, which should help to even out the playing field a little for the less spell-savvy while still keeping things fair during multiplayer matches.
However, the most exciting change by far has got to be the cross-platform integration. The Facebook rendition is already available, but once the iOS and Android updates are ready to roll out players will be able to get their spell on across all three platforms. This means PC/Mac users can play against iOS/Android users, and that one user’s account can span multiple devices. So one could play a few rounds on their mobile device, then come home and continue the game on the computer via Facebook. Effectively, just about anyone will be able to play Scrabble with just about anyone else just about anywhere.
Scrabble is already available and is free, but these changes won’t hit until sometime this summer. Do any of these changes have you current players excited? Then chime in below!
I’m not what anyone would consider a soccer fan, but that doesn’t keep me from appreciating all of the cool stuff players can expect to find in EA’s upcoming FIFA 13. This is, of course, in addition to the expected bullet-points such as improved graphics and such.
FIFA 13 is indeed a great looking game. Player animations are incredibly smooth and their likenesses are captured eerily well considering this is an iOS game. Although they do have that creepy blank look that so many real world based character models tend to have. A bunch of smaller details will no doubt cause salivary glands to work overtime as well, including balls sporting the proper logos and all the tiny graphics typically found on a player’s jersey. And all of these fine details can be enjoyed up close and personal thanks to the game’s instant replay feature.
It doesn’t stop with tie visuals though. For the first time ever EA Sports Football Club will make its way into an iOS title. Even better, preexisting accounts will be carried over, so nobody will have to start from scratch on their iOS device. Of course my personal favorite addition is the way special skill shots and moves can be controlled via a second virtual stick on the right-hand side of the screen. Simply tap and drag in a given pattern or direction and the controlled player will start with the fancy footwork.
No information is available yet on pricing, but football (football, football) enthusiasts can expect to find FIFA 13 in the App Store sometime this fall.
I went to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year for the first time. The event is a sprawling, industry-level spectacle with huge press conferences during the first couple of days and then a ton of booth appointments and special behind-closed-doors meetings for industry insiders and outsiders alike.
Even Microsoft got into the act with SmartGlass, a new initiative that will let users control their Xbox consoles from their iPads, with the potential to interact on a game by game level in the near future. I’m pretty excited about this concept, to be honest.
Similarly, Sony Online Entertainment demoed Planetside 2, a massively multiplayer online first person shooter for the PC, with a killer feature: the iPad app that comes along with it. This app will let users voice chat (!!) in real time (!!!) with other faction members, access maps that are synced with live servers, and see a ton of info about weapons, armor, etc. Pretty darn slick, if you ask me.
And don’t get me started about the brobdingnagian and competing mobile publishing booths placed a small walkway apart from each other on the show floor. Juggernaut Gree had a booth bigger than many small countries, with Korean-based newcomer WeMade Games a tiny Angry Birds slingshot distance away. Ignoring the games for a moment, the two companies vied for attention with bright lights, attractively clad women, and – in Gree’s case – drink coupons for an on-site bar.
All in all, E3 was a blast, and incredibly instructive. Console makers, PC game publishers, and the folks from Japan and Korea have it figured out: iOS gaming is here to stay.
Need for Speed Most Wanted for iOS shows promise of being a great racing game. While EA wouldn’t comment beyond it was developed by EA Australia, I think we can assume that it is running on the Real Racing core. No wonder it’s so fantastic. All the clues were there — including the dangling bumper. The acquisition of Firemint was a damn smart one for EA.
There are no reported features or release date, though I think we can assume it will be around the October timeframe of the console version. The game will have the Autolog feature from the console version, but EA wouldn’t comment on if it would be connect with the console version. It’s assumed that they will both run under Origin – so we can hope there will be some sort of interaction.
Did we mention it’s early in development? We won’t even show you the screen shots they gave us as they were clearly renders and not actual game screens. Touch Arcade did get some video of the game in action – take a look below.
I love race games, and the Need For Speed franchise is one of my favorites. Throw in the best in mobile Real Racing engine and I’ll be tracking this one closely.
So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps that you find in the comments below.
Starting with EA, here are a few of their almost 50 titles discounted for Memorial Day. App Shopper has a nice list of all the EA titles on sale, too.
It was a banner week for hit game updates last week and EA and Firemint were in the thick of it with version 1.1.0 of their cat and mouse puzzler SPY Mouse and SPY Mouse HD.
Intrepid Agent Squeak has uncovered a new volcano world. And this new world isn’t just more of the same with a new background. Along with 11 new levels and three new goals come new evil Jungle Cats who throw poison darts. There are also new obstacles like lava pits and fireballs and new power-ups to help complete the challenges.
Also look for Digger the Dog’s new shop where players can load up on power ups, and while Origins, Electronic Arts cross-platform gaming network is still prominent, there is more Game Center integration as well, with achievements now where most iOS gamers tend to look.
This path tracing brainteaser continues to shine as one of the best on iOS so if one already owns it, be sure to update and if not, now’s the time to pick SPY Mouse up.
Update: We received a response from EA that will at least make it possible to get Tetris for iPad back if you paid for the original version. Check the bottom of the post for more details.
EA Mobile has just released a new version of Tetris for the iPad. It uses the updated control method that the new iPhone/iPod touch version uses. That’s well and good. The new control method is actually one of the better improvements on Tetris I’ve seen. But the problem is, you have to re-buy it. Even if you bought the old Tetris, you have to re-buy this one and you don’t have access to the old app anymore.
Let’s say someone who has purchased Tetris for the iPad moves to a new iPad, or even gets a replacement under warranty. If that user, like many, doesn’t back up to iTunes on the desktop, they will no longer have access to the Tetris app they previously paid for.
Developers that want to put out new versions of apps and charge for them are more than welcome to. We’ll let consumers vote with their downloads on wether that is a good idea. But to make unavailable to download a previously purchased item? That’s a pure anti-customer, and obvious revenue-based decision.
The lack of an ability to download previously paid for digital goods, in the case an app, is the real problem. In the world of digital distribution, one where we are moving to a cloud-based backend and a Post-PC world, the apps and other digital media you buy in the App Store, you expect to be available forever. But the sad truth is, they are not available if the developer chooses to pull them. There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of Tetris for iPad users that will find that out next time they upgrade devices and try to download the app.
And that is not the idea that Apple had when it introduced iTunes in the Cloud and subscribed to the Post-PC idea of the future.
This isn’t the first time EA has done this either. The original Bejeweled 2 has been pulled in favor of an IAP loaded version of the same just called Bejeweled. And of course, the same trick was played with Tetris for the iPhone/iPod touch.
And to make things even worse, the previous Tetris for the iPad was publicized and put on sale as recently as last week, in EA’s Easter app sale.
EA, please stop cheating your loyal and paying customers. There’s no reason they should be required to re-pay for new apps because the decision is made to update them. If they are happy with the old version, they should still have access to it.
Note that we have asked EA for comment on this, but due to multiple timing issues including deadlines, time zone differences, and our contact being out of the office, we have yet to hear back. We will update this post when we do get an official response.
Update: 4/13 We heard back from Alexis McDowel, PR Director for EA. The following is their response to our query on where Tetris for iPad the original version went.
As you know, the “old” version of Tetris was recently removed from the App Store in order to accommodate the new version of the game (which is also titled “Tetris” but has several new/different gameplay modes and features ), but consumers who have previously purchased Tetris should still have access to it via their “Purchased” account in the cloud—even if they’ve bought a new device and are trying to access the game from that newer device, it should be in there.
We just tried it on our end (i.e., trying to pull up the “old” purchased Tetris on a new device), and we were able to do it with by following these steps on our new device:
1) Click on App Store
3) Not on this iPad
4) Scroll through to find your title and download.
We also checked with one of our on-site support members and were told that your previous Tetris purchase should not go away as long as your firmware is updated—no sync to a desktop necessary.
So there you have it. I have verified this on my iPad and see that Tetris for iPad is available to download even though it’s no longer available in the App Store. In light of that, calling this cheating customers is way out of bounds. But confusing and annoying it most certainly is. Since the app can not be searched for in previous purchases for unknown reasons, this will still lead to many users thinking they need to pay for the new version. Confusing and annoying, yes.
Back in October, we reported that immensely entertaining crash em up Burnout Crash was coming to iOS devices this holiday season.
This holiday season clearly wasn’t Christmas it was nowhere to be found. Instead, it’s looking set for a post-Easter release with news of an April release date.
The game promises three different modes, 54 events, six themed locations and plenty of “road shattering” disasters such as tornados, tidal waves and even UFOs. Players will find themselves swiping and tapping to steer vehicles around in order to trigger explosions and rack up some huge combos and high scores. There’ll even be a 1980s soundtrack featuring Vanilla Ice and Gloria Estefan! Oh and did we mention the Autolog support? One of EA’s best features in recent times.
It’s set to be so explosive that even The Hoff seems to be keen on it. Check out the promotional video below for a taste of what’s on offer!
We’ll be sure to keep updated on Burnout Crash‘s development.