Monument Valley

In August 2013 I wrote a piece over on iMore about how EA had destroyed a once fine mobile franchise, Madden, by introducing a freemium hell. Paying for apps versus not paying for apps and getting fleeced by in-app purchases is an argument that will never, ever go away, but I've started thinking about it again this past week.

It started when the long awaited expansion to Monument Valley, Forgotten Shores, launched in the iOS App Store. It then continued, as expected, when it made its arrival in the Google Play Store. So many critics ripping apart the developers, ustwo, for charging again for more content. Content they were right to charge for. Because if good developers don't get paid for working hard, we're going to be left in the freemium, Candy Crush filled future so many of us don't want.

Monument Valley isn't just a good game by mobile standards. It's a good game by any standards. Sure, it's not the longest game ever made, but it's well worth the pretty small asking price. Quality, not quantity, isn't that how the saying goes? 10 levels of Monument Valley is infinitely higher quality than several hundred levels of Candy Crush (which I keep picking on purely because it's the most well known example right now.)

In-app purchases

So why shouldn't ustwo charge again for what's essentially a new game? Would the complaints be so prevalent had they simply packaged it as "Monument Valley 2?" Why do so many feel they're owed new content for free, content that takes time, money and effort to produce?

Consider it from another angle. A good number of people buy top console games such as Destiny, then pony up for additional DLC packs. If you don't want it, you don't have to buy it, just as with Monument Valley. You want more, you pay for more. I fired up the Xbox Store this morning and the amount of extra content available is phenomenal. And none of those cost as little as Forgotten Shores.

Without supporting truly great developers, those $600+ phones that we're constantly nerding out on won't be nearly as enjoyable to own. Android is an incredible platform, but not without the support of the developer community. Do we want total crap that's "free to download" but empties your wallet at every opportunity? I know I don't. Don't put developers off making apps and games as good as Monument Valley. You'll regret it in the end.

More: Freemium Rising