09
May
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Carmageddon was a smash-hit in the late 90's (mostly because of its extensive banning and censoring around the world), though my introduction to the game, sadly, was the god-awful Nintendo 64 port released in 2000. But now, a day earlier than promised, Carmageddon has debuted on Android as a result of the Kickstarter campaign. Update: The game actually went live on time - Australian time.

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And, as promised by that campaign, the game is absolutely 100% free for the next 24 hours. You may ask "how?" if you're at all familiar with how the Play Store works, as Google does not allow apps to go from being free to paid. Well, the answer's not exactly perfect - the free version will simply vanish once the promotional period expires. That means no updates (and more importantly - bug fixes). Developer Stainless Steel Games had this to say on the issue of updates / removing the free version:

After the first 24 hours of its release, the PROMO version of the game will be removed from Google Play and will no longer be available. Subsequently, the PROMO version will be unsupported because we have no way to update the title once it's taken down.

This isn't how we would have wanted to do this but it's the only choice. It's not possible to change an app from free to paid on Google Play. So, in the unlikely event that players experience problems with the PROMO version, the solution will be to either download the FREE (demo version) version, or "upgrade" to the FULL paid version. This will only cost you £1.49 and for that, you'll be getting the full benefit of support and updates for the lifetime of the game. So c'mon now everybody, that's GOT to be more than a fair deal!

It is a bit lame, yes, but they're absolutely correct - it'd be difficult to do this any other way. A 3rd party store solution would be inconvenient and messy, and without developing a way for the app to push its own updates, there aren't too many alternatives. The primary concern I'd have is compatibility issues, what if the game simply doesn't work on a particular device? Then again, you are getting the game for free, so it's hard to get too picky about this whole situation. Head to the Play Store to get in on the car-crushing, pedestrian-flinging action now.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/andr3wjacks0n andrew jackson

    i've been waiting on a reboot of this game for years!

  • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

    thanks, i didn't expect it until tomorrow.

    it is a crappy solution, but it's more a problem of the play store's limitations. i'm not sure what the big deal is about changing a free app to paid, at least as long as those who already "bought" it (for $0) can re-download it.

  • guy

    Because offering the base of the game for free and the premium portion as an In App Purchase would just be stupid.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Exactly. This is how they should have done it. A 24-hour promo code that's essentially an IAP that would stop working, and then a paid upgrade to the free game.

      Versions of the app needed for this: one instead of three.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        And how exactly would they do that? That sounds far from simple, and isn't at all what the original commenter is suggesting. Does Google allow IAP's to be free? I don't think it's quite that easy.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          You may be right about no free IAPs, in which case they would have needed to implement basically promo/coupon code support, like many developers have. That is likely additional work and isn't supported by Google's libraries, which involves having to set up a server. More difficult, but not by much and not impossible.

          $2 isn't that much at all though, so in the end it's not as big of a deal for them, but it does make the promo version for those who supported them on Kickstarter feel gimped, especially if you run into crash bugs.

          • Steve Green

            That's a feature not a bug. They want you to know the promo version is gimped, they know that there will be bugs, if you supported them on kickstarter surely you will just buy the game for $2. That was for a totally different game after all.

        • JG

          I think free IAPs are allowed (though I've never worked with them, so I could be mistaken). A while ago I got a recipe app from the BBC (I believe). The app had additional recipes available via IAP, but they had them all marked as free for 24hrs or whatever...

      • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

        that definitely sounds better. i'm not terribly familiar with app development on android though, but would that require a lot of extra coding or infrastructure to handle IAPs like that, as opposed to just setting a price for the full game upfront?

      • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

        /sigh. I know you asked them about that, but it was probably too late in the development process for them to change their release plans anyway.

        Releasing different "proper" versions of apps and getting them to the target market segment is a tricky business; many Android developers have found that out the hard way.

        Maybe there might a demand for an Android ecosystem / Play Store Consultant. Hmm...

    • rbridges

      eh, I read all comments from top to bottom.
      no one talk how the game plays ? is it bad or good remake ?

      why is everyone making fuss about free vs paid ?
      isn't gameplay is more important here ?
      -_-

      • ChainsawCharlie

        I played few rounds and first thing, well except for lacking Iron Maiden was how 90s the game feels like. Dont remember the car being so slippery though.

        • Elemetrix

          The first game didn't have the Iron Maiden tracks unfortunately. Hopefully this is successful enough that they port Carpocalypse Now.
          Yup they were just as slippy!

  • CaibreGreyblade

    Oh gods, thank you for different timezones. It's still 9. here.

  • Sqube

    It's an inelegant solution, but they're giving you free access to the game the best way they could figure. Maybe there's some kind of limitation on IAPs that would make it impossible to have the full game lock itself after a certain period of time?

    To try to look at it from the bright side, we've all wished that Google would offer us a longer period to try a game out and decide whether it's worth the money or not. Well, here's one way to go about it.

  • BlackenedUK

    Google should allow developers to issue codes/vouchers which users can redeem on Google Play, which would be one way around this problem.

  • BrianLipp

    Cant apps go on sale for free? In which case couldnt they put up the paid version and then put it on "sale" for free for 24 hours? I swear ive seen apps go from paid to free for a limited time. It accidentally happened to those Disney apps a few weeks ago

    • atlouiedog

      It accidentally happened to Disney. You can change a paid app to free. Some developers do that when they are no longer going to support it. Right now you cannot charge for an app after it's been made free.

  • Alan Shearer

    They could have offered it for a penny or 10 cents rather than free, then go full price, would have been better.

    • Simon Fullbrook

      The minimum price on Google Play is $1 unless Google has a special promotion that allows lower prices.

  • Dufus

    It's not possible to change an app from free to paid on Google Play. The same for iap, there is a minimum price that google sets of i believe 50 cents..... So it would never be free and there are no coupons or codes to give away. This was the only way to do it as the article says.... But! If u dont like it u can buy it! Hows that?

    • Simon Belmont

      I've seen apps as low as 25 cents. That was a Google promotion though.

      Who knows. They could have sold this at 99 cents on the first day and I'd have bought it.

  • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

    It really isn't hard to do a limited-release free app for 24 hours, in addition to a paid app.

    Step 1: Publish the paid app. Rename it, publish it again as a free app. They've done this.
    Step 2: After X minutes, hours, days, whatever, unpublish the free app. Do not delete it.
    Step 3: When an update needs to be made, publish an update to the paid app, rename it, and publish it to the free app as well. Immediately unpublish the free app again. Those with it installed will still pull the upgrade.

    I do this for one of my apps, and it's been working since 2010. It just isn't documented anywhere...

    • Dufus

      So which app is that? I would love to see that!

      • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

        Do it yourself - I've told you how to achieve it. The app I do it for is, as I mentioned, unpublished, and thus, you can't install it.

        • Dufus

          I call BOLLOCKS!
          If it is unpublished its not true. ( or as they say 'pictures or it did not happen'... TROLLLLLLLLL)

  • http://twitter.com/xoonx Xoonx

    No gamepad support :(

  • Freak4Dell

    Is there a reason Google doesn't allow you to change from free to paid? I'm trying to figure out a good reason. All the apps are tied to your account, so it shouldn't really cause issues for people who got it for free and are trying to reinstall after it went paid.

    • Schmuck

      They dont want u to influence the market with mAking an app free.... Its like chartcheating in their opinion

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Basically they don't want you to climb to the top of the popular list with a free app and then start charging for it with unfairly increased visibility.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeathEvil Dawid Hudziak

    bull, disney has done it a few times, when the paid app is free for a few hours and then the same app is back for .99 (I know cuz I have them)

    • Dufus

      Search and you will find.
      QUOTE:
      Update: Disney got in touch with us and clarified that the sale was actually caused by a technical glitch in the Google Play Store and not an actual promotion. The issue has since been rectified and the games are back at their $0.99 price tags. The official statement follows:

      There was a technical glitch on Google Play this morning that triggered the apps to be marked as free. The issue was corrected immediately and the prices are now back to normal for all of these titles (0.99$).

      It’s unclear if this promotion is temporary, but according to the Google Play rules once an app goes free there is no turning back unless the developer deletes it and submits it again.

      Meanwhile, Google has kicked out of the Play Store about 60,000 applications because of low-quality. Most of the apps seems to be MP3/ringtone related and were removed not because of malware, but spam.

      As it seems Google is starting to pay closer attention to the apps that make it to the Play Store and doesn’t trust completely its automated system anymore.

      Google has also confirmed the official app count for the Play Store is 700 000, that’s 100k less than the Apple’s App Store. Apple has been reviewing the submitted apps manually thus reducing the low quality software entering the App Store.

      • http://www.facebook.com/DeathEvil Dawid Hudziak

        Tnx for the explanation, I was sure it was promotion lol lucky me I guess:)

  • Yeahdude

    Question. Will the promo version be downloadable again if I get it now?

    Like it should show up in my apps list on the Google Play Store even my other devices. Even after they remove it.

  • Preveen Rodrigo

    Promo version works on the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7, in case anyone is interested :)

  • primalxconvoy

    My God, the controls are awful for this thing. I even tried accelerometer controls, usually no problem for a racing game; and the experience was akin to controlling a radio controlled car on a ship at sea.

    In a storm.

    On pcp.

    • Elemetrix

      Use digital controls and tap lots.

      • primalxconvoy

        I did. Still awful.