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Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Would you pay $30 a year to play Tetris? No, seriously, would you? WHY would you?

In what should be an Onion article, and a tiny part of me hopes it still is, Gamasutra is reporting that EA Mobile and The Tetris Company have launched a new Tetris game for iOS devices like iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads with a paid subscription option.

The game itself only costs .99 cents, which is typical for an app, and features a "Marathon One Touch Mode" control scheme for iOS devices. There's also a Tetris Log, which offers various challenges, tracking line-clearing progress and assigning ranks to players.

But if you're really passionate, and I mean really passionate about Tetris, you can become a member of the T-Club. Oh yeah, that sounds awesome. Members will get exclusive downloads and content, premium Tetris Log challenges, and a booster for ranking up faster. But this will cost you $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year. And no it's not a joke.

I can't say I'm too surprised by this. This is what's been happening to the video game industry for some time now. More content getting taken out of games and being offered as paid DLC when it used to be free. Long-time gamers like us sit in our rocking chairs, reminiscing about the good ol' days of being able to unlock extra content using actual skills instead of credit cards. Well, now that gaming is mainstream, that is no more. And we're stuck with money-grabbing ideas like this one.

But can I blame these companies? No, they're in it for money. And people are willing to pay for it. These subscription options for games are becoming more popular. Pay money upfront to get future DLC content at a minor discount. We saw it with Gears of War 3. Activision reported that after six days from launch, there were 1 million Call of Duty Elite premium subscribers. It took a year for services like Netflix and Hulu Plus to reach that.

In the end, it's people's money, so they can spend it however they want. I'll never subscribe to any of these services because I don't play one game so much for it to be worth it. That's why I never got into World of Warcraft. Plus, paying money up front and relying on the game developer to deliver their promises later? No thanks, sounds too risky to me.

Back to Tetris, why would anyone want to pay $30 a year for it? It's Tetris. There's not a lot gameplay variety going on here. Is an extra $30 a year worth it to rank up faster? Premium content you don't even know about? Instead of paying that, why not just pick up Tetris Axis for the 3DS for around the same price and get so much more with it? And no subscription fee?

Who would take Tetris serious enough to do this? Well, maybe this guy.

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