Whether it’s new titles, like “Smurfs’ Village” on iPhone or old standards like “EverQuest,” publishers are in a race to offer free-to-play games — sometimes known as “freemium” games — and in many cases, it’s making them a fortune.
When a franchise has aired 500 different episodes on television (and that’s not counting the three years it ran as a series of shorts) and 24 separate video games, figuring out the next move can be tricky.
A big console game is a risk for a licensed property these days. A $2 or $5 iOS game might make an initial splash, but its sustainability is questionable given the constant flood of new titles. But freemium? That’s something The Simpsons hasn’t tried before.
The new take on the old management simulation will be a free download for owners of iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. But if you want to build some of the better attractions in your park, it could cost you more than the original version did at retail back in 1994.
Battered by a string of earnings disappointments and underperfoming titles, the video game publisher has seen its archrival Activision-Blizzard take away king-of-the hill status among industry peers, and watched its stock price fall. But Frank Gibeau, the president of the EA Games label, says the company has made the necessary changes to get back on top.