An App Store Scam

by Peter Bloch

Many of you may have heard of Madden Mobile, the current 9th best grossing app on the Apple App Store and #1 simulation game. The goal of the game is to build a fantasy NFL team that is usable to play friends and compete online. This game has taken the App Store by storm since its update in late August, and has been continually growing in popularity.

However, this game is a SCAM!

There are two in-game currencies used to build and create a team, and they both cheat players out of either valuable time or money. As a player, I spend on average an hour every day, and I have a 90 overall team. At my level, players must spend upwards of $50 dollars per purchase to increase their team’s statistics and level.

Even more enraging is the purchasing system. Every purchase is for a “random” set of items and players, so for the most part, people who spend money receive a value that is one hundredth of what they spent. This game is not the only one that employs this technique, but there are a few reasons that I am truly disappointed with their product (no pun intended).

The publisher, Electronic Arts (also known as EA), has released hundreds of games across several platforms including Android and Apple phones, and gaming consoles such as Xbox and Playstation from the publishers Microsoft and Sony. All of the games released have been held to such a high standard of perfection that the mechanics are flawless, and the graphics are of high quality.

However, in their newest app (as of August), they are blatantly and explicitly asking for money every day, and refuse to allow progress in gameplay until indulged. The app, while fun, is simply not affordable to the audience that they market towards, and it must be made cheaper.

Riding upon their recent success, they branched out from their NBA series to create NBA Live Mobile. This game is very similar to its predecessor, but involves the theme of basketball instead of American football. For no logical reason however, the app was not released to the American app store.

The app was instead released to the Singapore, Romanian and Canadian app stores. On the Canadian app store, it is the #1 top grossing app, so I cannot pretend to understand why an app that focuses on the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is only played in America is released in other countries before the US. EA can’t fool me, however, because I created a free Canadian app store account and downloaded the app anyway, but that’s beside the point.

EA is making poor decisions and turning away good fans for the sole purpose of making money. This business model is not sustainable, and will ruin EA’s reputation for good if they don’t reconcile with fans and provide better entertainment applications.

For more statistics, visit appannie.com to see ratings and rankings.

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