EA removes another game from iOS App Store

Electronic Arts is not having the best of luck recently with its new iOS games. A few days ago, we reported that EA had decided to permanently remove Battlefield 3: Aftershock from the iOS App Store after players found it to have tons of performance and gameplay issues.

Now EA is dealing with problems with another iOS game, The Simpsons: Tapped Out. The free game (with microtransaction support) was made available to download on the App Store on March 1.  The game itself, based on the long running TV show, has the player trying to recreate Springfield any way they wish after Homer destroys the town via a nuclear meltdown.

Not surprisingly, The Simpsons: Tapped Out quickly made its way to the top of the free iOS game charts. In fact, it became so popular that its players starting having connectivity issues. The problems were bad enough that EA decided to take the game off the iOS App Store. D'oh!

In a post on the game's Facebook page announcing this decision, EA says:

Yes, as a current player you can keep playing -- and things should only get better as we make improvements to connectivity. Once we have a solution, we’ll return the game to the App Store so new players can join in the fun. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience and support.

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17 Comments

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probably because ea TURNS ON USER DATA SHARING ON ALL THEIR IPHONE GAMES ON BY DEFAULT for all the connectivity issues.

It wouldn't surprise me if EA eventually pulled all of their games from retailers, Android Market, and other sources and only made them available via Origin.

Jonessie said,
It wouldn't surprise me if EA eventually pulled all of their games from retailers, Android Market, and other sources and only made them available via Origin.

That'd pretty much kill them in the mobile market, or at least lock them out of 95% of it, even on Android.

Its not due to connectivity issues, its down to another completely bugged/crapped out version of the game. Basically it doesnt store progress between games and thus every time you start the game again it thinks its a new game and cannot continue as the objectives are already completed.

Another duck up by EA

I also strongly suspect EA was manipulating the reviews and sales charts. The game shot up to the number one spot on the day it was released, with several thousand 5 star reviews. The next day it was further down in the rankings and a 2 star average ranking.

THolman said,
I also strongly suspect EA was manipulating the reviews and sales charts. The game shot up to the number one spot on the day it was released, with several thousand 5 star reviews. The next day it was further down in the rankings and a 2 star average ranking.
I noticed this too, the day i DLed there were 0 reviews available... later that same day... tons of reviews already posted and i was having nothing but connection issues.

I checked it out... got stuck in some sort of loop where I couldnt progress until I visited another Springfield... did it.. came back.. same message. DELETE - add 1 Star rating to reviews.

The crap EA's been putting out for iOS has been flying under the radar until now, glad its getting attention. Aftershock was definitely not the first unplayable game they've put out. Red Alertt was too crashy to play, and I paid for that one.

THolman said,
The crap EA's been putting out for YEARS has been flying under the radar until now, glad its getting attention.

Fixed it for you, blasted shovelware company

I saw it, but wasn't interested in spending $5 every time I want 900 doughnut points... hate this trend of "free" games. Rather just pay for the game once and have access to everything.

Shadrack said,
I saw it, but wasn't interested in spending $5 every time I want 900 doughnut points... hate this trend of "free" games. Rather just pay for the game once and have access to everything.

That's just the micro-payment system as a whole, however normally they include x-amount of free points per 24 hour period, and you only have to pay if you want more than the limit you're given each day. Having not played this specific game, I cannot say if they have a daily free "doughnut point" system or not.

The system is a good one if you design it right, as you could have casual players enjoying the game for free, and only enthusiastic players spending money, thus allowing the game to pay for it's development and support.

Shadrack said,
I saw it, but wasn't interested in spending $5 every time I want 900 doughnut points... hate this trend of "free" games. Rather just pay for the game once and have access to everything.

Not sure how the app store works, but does making people buy "points" in a game get around Apple getting a share of the sales? Or do all these transactions still go through iTunes?

Enron said,

Not sure how the app store works, but does making people buy "points" in a game get around Apple getting a share of the sales? Or do all these transactions still go through iTunes?


I cannot imagine Apple not getting some % of the microtransactions - that would be just stupid.

Enron said,

Not sure how the app store works, but does making people buy "points" in a game get around Apple getting a share of the sales? Or do all these transactions still go through iTunes?

It is an in-app purchase, so Apple would get their cut of that.

I suppose hypothetically, an app creator could offer a limited free version of an app to the app store and then provide an unlock mechanism available through their web site (like PayPal or Google Wallet or something) that gave you a code that you could use to unlock the full game. That would bypass Apple's cut.

The only problem would be that there could be no advertisement or instructions or links within the app itself that would suggest this is the process to unlock this app. Apple's guidelines prohibit this now and the app would get kicked out of the app store.

Some things it is pretty obvious. Newspapers like The New York Times, for instance, can be subscribed to from the website to unlock all of the articles and by-pass Apple's in-app purchases. It's a no brainer. But for games I don't think most people would have a clue unless there are pointers in the app to the developers web site.

If the game were online based and the users had to setup an account on the developers web site in order to take advantage of the online features, once on the web site the developer could reveal how to unlock the game w/o any in-app purchasing. So long as they get the users to their web site from the app for some reason other than spending money then it wouldn't violate the guidelines.

Edited by Shadrack, Mar 5 2012, 5:28pm :

Shadrack said,
That would bypass Apple's cut.

My understanding was, and I may be mistaken, but under Apple's terms you can offer subscriptions/purchases outside of the app, bypassing Apple's cut, but the same items have to be available to buy within the app as well for the same or lower price.