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The rise of free-to-play games littered with in-app purchases is a contentious one to say the least. More traditional gamers tend to prefer the old model, with a paid and complete game and perhaps a free demo, but the freemium model has proven too lucrative for most game publishers to ignore. Android user "Mattayx" left the following review on the international version of FIFA 14:


Well done, Matt. EA has been particularly heavy-handed with its freemium games lately, with big titles like Real Racing 3, Madden 25, and FIFA 14 laying it on thick. That's not to say that in-app purchases can't be done well - check out EA's own Plants vs Zombies 2 and pretty much all of Rovio's games for good examples of free-to-play titles done right.

That being said, it's impossible not to feel a little cheated every time a game is unnecessarily difficult or restricted, and then offers you the "real" experience with a dollar sign on it. But the status quo isn't likely to change - FIFA 14 is still averaging an enviable 4.5-star rating across all users after more than five million downloads.

Source: Clayton Condon Google+ via Koushik Dutta

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Nuclear Moose

    PvZ 2 can be done without in-app purchases but it takes forever. They dropped the value of coins and the rate of key drops is glacial. It's a well-done game for sure, but if you don't have lots of time to kill, you'll be playing it for a long time.

    • moehre

      Which, i think, is pretty good :)
      Long-term value and stuff.

      • A Black UI is the best UI

        So extending a game's life by making it freemium is a good thing?

        This is exactly like on disc DLC, the content is there its just companies are too greedy to give you what you pay for.

        • moehre

          "what you pay for"
          In this kind of freemium model, you do not have to pay for anything. It works, but takes its time. The game can become a little annoying, but you won't stop proceeding.

    • danishdhanshe

      Completed pvz2 in just 12 hours (continuous )
      I don't really find it that difficult!
      With 52 flags on survival in pvz 1, guess the best player is me here!
      Love pvz!

      • http://mobilerpg.net/ MobileRPG

        You are good

  • http://claytoncondon.com/ Clayton Condon

    Hey look, it's my post. xD

    • ReyMaxwin

      They should have mentioned Reaper, my favorite implementation of in app purchases. You pay for expansions, which get cheaper if you have pages for others. They have almost no incentive to alter the difficulty for profit, unlike angry bird's Millennium Falcon.

      Or how about the worst, Call Of Duty Strike Team, pay $7 dollars to get the game, $50+ dollars to play it comfortably, 3 hours of gameplay.

    • King_Anonymous

      Bullshit. Proof or GTFO.

      • http://claytoncondon.com/ Clayton Condon

        How about you read the bottom of the damn post.

        • King_Anonymous


  • PhineasJW

    CandyCrush earned millions off this model. Free. No ads. Cleverly disguised in-app purchases to continue the game -- $0.99 a pop and pretty soon, you've spend $10.

    • Stacey Liu

      You don't have to pay a dime for Candy Crush if you connect it to Facebook. Send your friends requests to unlock levels and you can theoretically get through the whole game.

      If you're complaining about the 5 lives thing, you can just force stop the app, clear data, and let it resync on startup. It will give you 5 fresh lives. I think the bigger problem there though is that you're playing too much Candy Crush. (Or...my problem...I suppose).

      • jonathan3579

        You can also adjust your phone (or tablet) time. :)

      • http://seapip.com/ Thomas Gladdines

        *Facebook*->free advertising->more people play the game

        Hmm sounds pretty clever to me, in both ways they earn millions :P

      • Cory_S

        People like you are why I cant be on facebook.

      • h4rr4r

        So all you have to do is pester your friends and turn yourself into an advertiser for them. This is why I don't use facebook.

        • b

          It only connects to people who are also using Candy Crush app in Facebook.

    • Primalxconvoy

      Except I not my gf nor any of my friends have spent anything on it.

      • Joshua

        Yes, you guys haven't spent anything. However, that doesn't change the fact that most other people have not only spent money on it, but spent significantly more than is justifiable for what amounts to yet another "Move the blocks, clear the field" title.

        You aren't the rule, you're the exception. I'm sorry if I sound curt here, but I'm tired of the droves of people who respond with "I don't do blah!" whenever someone mentions "This is how the overall blah model works." There are exceptions to almost every rule. The exceptions don't prove the model wrong.

  • andy_o

    Meh, the sort options are useless for the reviews in the Play store now. I want to be able to see the critical reviews first, dammit.

    • vgergo

      Another feature quietly taken away and we can't do a thing about it. At least we can go back to the non-cripled maps and picasa, but for how long? :-(

  • Kevin Mirsky

    I think that's from the iOS app store. On the Play Store, the stars are just gray.

  • You mean the most useless? "Baaw EA wants money". The comment wans't even clever, how is it the best :)?

  • Cory Wilson

    freemium is getting old fast

    • Régis Knechtel

      I wish that was true. People are starting to accept this abusive model. Just look at the top profiting apps on Play Store or even how AP do not mention IAP in some reviews :/

      • Keg Man

        it can be done totally right though. Simpson's tapped out can be played for months without spending a dime and without feeling like your missing out. So can candy crush. both these games will suck you dry if you can't control yourself from beating the board now, or having a different pixelated house. These people deserve to be in a mental hospital, but alas, these people make up most of society with a smart phone.

    • StriderWhite

      Yeah...go and see which are the top grossing apps (and most of them are games) are the freemium ones!!!!

  • http://ashutoshmishra.org/ Ashutosh Mishra

    Helvetica Neue. It's probably on iOS.

  • Jacob Groß

    This guy is a genius lol

  • raj

    this guy is a real genius

  • BNDT

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the free version of Fifa 14 not basically a demo? Ingame you can unlock the full game for €4.49.

    That doesn't really sound like the IAP-system most people hate.

    • nickmorgs

      I paid the asking price. For the fee, I expected to unlock the additional content and lose the adverts in what, from the free to play parts, I new was a great game.

      I was shocked and more than a little annoyed to find that the adverts were still present after I'd paid. I was so surprised that I contacted EA support to explain the 'bug' and ask what I needed to do to sort it out. The response was 'the game is written that way'.

      Last EA game i'll buy....

    • Primalxconvoy

      Some games, though, have a 99 penny price, shed loads of iap's but no demo. How can people check the games before playing?

      I agree; the freemium model will die when casual gamers move on and when better hardware controller support comes out for serious gamers.

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    And people wonder why cheating and hacking to get the freemium without paying is becoming the norm.

  • MeCampbell30


  • TheSparks

    Well the other day my little cousins were playing Asphalt on their iPad mini and everytime they go shouting "Mum I bought a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, etc."
    A couple of days later it seems that they did some in app purchases worth £240!!

    Ouch. I could have both some Nexus devices with that.

    • FrillArtist

      This is why I always lock my Play Store purchases with a pin and password.

    • StriderWhite

      LOL! Well, still cheaper than real Ferraris or Lamborghinis!! :D

  • Ivan Shogi

    That's an awesome 1-star review :D

    But not a big deal for me, I still prefer PES over FIFA. Playing field of FIFA is always too small, and player movement is unrealistically fast. Suited for arcade player but not for those prefer realistic soccer.

    • someone755

      Afaik, the last time PES was updated was 2012, and it was the same as 2011, except for voice commentary. FIFA has better graphics, physics, and the camera is adjustable, which is probably the reason you think the field is smaller.

  • Luan Cristian da Silva

    Boom, headshot. - Sniper, TF2

  • John Smith

    Jeremiah - a brief explanation of "freemium" and how it applies to this game would have been nice to include in this article. we are all not gamers. i had to use Google to figure out WTF you were talking about. article incomplete.

    • flosserelli

      What was so hard about Googling "freemium"?

    • Trina S

      So, you're saying this is an incomplete article because you had to look up a word? Do you also get mad at books when they have a word you don't know and have to look up?

      • someone755

        Well then, out of the gazillion books my school library houses, only 5 are complete. Those five being some random picture books that nobody knows why they're there.

    • Oscar Jimenez

      I had to google "WTF" to figure out WTF you were talking about. Rant incomplete.

  • abobobilly

    By far one of the best review for recent EA games, that i can read all year and smile :D

  • Josh Meyer

    Am I the only one that thinks the free gameplay is just fine? I don't feel like I'm missing anything without buying anything. Is that really the point of games now, to buy your way through?

    On the other hand, the prices are absolutely outrageous. The price of one item is the cost of most paid games.

    • flosserelli

      Of course IAPs are high. These publishers plan to hook you with a "free" game, then reel in more money than they would have had they charged a few dollars up front. It is the crack dealer business model.

    • h4rr4r

      You might be.

      The whole point of these games is to get you to spend money in IAP.
      When I was a kid, we wore onions on our belts as was the style at the time, Arcade versions of games were much harder than their NES/Atari counterparts to get more quarters out of players. These games are the same. I rather pay for a good game than deal with these scams.

    • someone755

      That's the problem. You used to pay 6€ for a game and that was it. Free upgrades, updates, you could only cheat with cheats.
      Now, however, you pay 6€ every time you want to play the damn thing.

  • FrillArtist

    Take FIFA 14 on Android for example. Terrible game, mind you. It's free BUT the only mode available is Ultimate Team which, you guessed it, uses microtransactions. If you want to play kick off, tournament, manager mode etc, you have to pay extra to unlock them. You CANNOT unlock them in game, you MUST pay.

    Ultimate Team revolves solely around microtransactions. A regular buy would have spent no less than $100 if he plays regularly.

  • Kevin

    I dont mind the in app purchases, Fifa on a console is around £40, the graphics thesedays are pretty much console level, but would anyone pay £40?? Of course they wouldn't. They simply wouldn't buy the game and therefore not get a chance to try it out.

    I'd rather be able to play it and if i want to pay more for things then fair enough. Don't like ads though!

  • Robb Nunya

    Man! That's a Charlie Sheen level of Winning!

  • BillygotTalent

    I have spent over 30 hours on Real Racing 3 and never payed a single cent. I really don't understand what people expect from high quality games that are totally free.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    I don't see a real problem on IAPs. The problem is if they are too expensive when they should be cheaper so we can buy and still enjoy the game easily cause we're paying just little amount of money, part of which I consider a compensation for the developers work, for me that is reasonable.
    I don't want to call people "cheap", but some do want to play for free.

    In the screenshots (from my Razr I) I show I purchased the two cheapest car packs. I did it cause I saw the events in the career mode makes you buy cars in order to complete a challenge. This meant lots of time only to purchase a car you're likely going to use once... So I decided my time is more valuable than $7 and got both packs to get me straightforward through the basic challenges then, once finishing them to have a good amount of earned credits to purchase an S class car specially to compete in the multiplayer mode... I did it and had lots off fun! :D

    But I'd never ever buy the other car packs nor credits (maybe the cheapest). Once I got my first 150000 credits I saw it's not as difficult to earn those credits as it seemed at first.

    Btw, graphics for the Razr I are not optimized. But I don't care anymore cause that device got stolen a week ago and I now have an Xperia ZL n.n Asphalt 8 has impressive graphics. But off love a NFS MW Wi-Fi multiplayer mode much better...

    - L