那些试图赶在圣诞节前推出新作的小型开发商可能要遭殃了，因为他们面临的是《实况赛车》（Real Racing）、《NOVA 2》、《Mortal Kombat 3》和《Tomb Raider》等大量AAA级竞争对手的挑战，现在美国游戏发行巨头EA公司又宣布将54款iPhone游戏、14款iPad游戏价格降至99美分，此举无疑更令这些势单力薄的开发商雪上加霜。
游戏邦认为，EA这次的大手笔降价活动，多少有点拯救市场的意味。要知道EA本周除了一款已延期发行的《Battlefield: Bad Company 2》（售价99美分）之外，没有任何拿得出手的作品问世。
反观竞争对手Gameloft公司，在最近两周却是稳产优产，它发行的《实况赛车2》也对EA旗下的《极品飞车》（Need for Speed）系列构成了威胁。
Opinion: EA rains on rivals’ App Store parade with 54 iPhones and 14 iPad games dropped to 99c
Pity those poor developers who have spent months working on an iPhone game.
Long nights crunched to get it complete for the last weekend before Christmas, they’ve already had to deal with a huge number of triple-A titles such as Real Racing, NOVA 2, Mortal Kombat 3, and Tomb Raider being released in the same week.
And now EA has dumped the majority of its iOS catalog down to 99c for good measure.
I have the power
A clear demonstration of publisher power, it also feels somewhat vindictive.
Notably EA didn’t have any big releases this week. Its only game was the delayed Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which was priced at 99c.
Rival Gameloft has released key titles over the past two weeks however, while Real Racing 2 is a clear competitor for EA’s Need for Speed franchise.
The wider context is the company has been underperforming financially. Its Q2 figures were down 4 percent year on year, while sales at Gameloft were up 15 percent over the same period
Where do we go from here?
Of course, there’s no sympathy in business, and to that extent EA’s move is exactly what companies should be doing in terms of promoting their business while disrupting the competition.
Indeed, other big publishers have pulled off similar moves. For example, Namco dropped the prices of 53 iOS, Android and BlackBerry games in November, although not all to 99c.
Yet, it’s the sheer number of games, particularly as many were previously priced at $4.99 or $6.99, that’s the surprise, as well as suggesting it’s not been done for pure financial reasons.
Presumably EA hopes to swamp the App Store charts, which Apple will freeze on December 23.
As well as blocking off the rise of rival games in the download charts, EA could also change its price beforehand, leaving its game placed high but at their pre-sale prices, right in time for the Boxing day unwrap.
Still, it’s not a strategy for longterm growth. That will require innovation where it really matter – the games themselves.