iOS game developer to offer IAP permanent unlock option

Last week I shared my thoughts on the problems with In App Purchases - that some game developers are far too greedy and end up ruining their games as they grab for money. Take a look at Richard Devine's scathing analysis of EA's Madden 25 as an example. Today there's some more positive news out of England - long-time iOS developer Strange Flavour has come up with an alternative it's tentatively calling "Play Nice."

Strange Flavour is putting the finishing touches on a new iOS game called "Any Landing," which will be the first game in their library to sport the "Play Nice" model. The idea is that Any Landing will feature an "all you can eat" option that permanently unlocks all optional content. You can see a rough version of the feature above - Strange Flavour cautions iMore that it may not look exactly the same in the final version.

Additionally, if you buy any of the optional content, the cost comes off the price of the All You Can Eat item - so players aren't penalized if they don't want to or can't unlock all content right away.

If you're wondering why Strange Flavour is doing this instead of, say, just charging up front, it's because despite the vocal protestations of people like Richard, myself and others who see IAP as a customer abuse, App Store buyers have shown over and over again that they'll download a "freemium" game much more often than they will a game that charges up front. So In App Purchases remain a necessary evil for developers - but Strange Flavour is trying its best to level the playing field here so you aren't taken advantage of.

Strange Flavour is an indie development studio in the UK. They were Mac developers and frequent collaborators with indie darling Freeverse back in the day, with games like "ToySight," which brought Kinect-style gaming to Macs equipped with iSight cameras. More recently Strange Flavour has developed iOS titles like Freeverse's Flick Fishing and the slot car racing game SlotZ Racing. Now they're striking out on their own as a developer and publisher.

"Play Nice" is a direct response to player complaints about IAP, according to Strange Flavour:

Recently more and more games have moved towards IAP (In-App Purchase based payment) as it has proven popular with a large segment of gamers. Unfortunately, it has also shown to be very unpopular with other gamers - a lot of the IAP systems allow players to deliberately or accidentally run up huge bills.

Strange Flavour CEO Aaron Fothergill said in a statement that IAP has been abused in games. "Strange Flavour wants to play nice and help rebuild the players' trust."

Is Strange Flavour on the right track with Play Nice? Or would you rather just get charged one fee up front? Sound off in the comments.

Peter Cohen