Gameloft's Sacred Odyssey hits App Store as free release, but game unlocked via in-app purchase
Users given 15 mins free play time
Gameloft is no stranger to taking its own line when it comes to selling its wares on mobile platforms, but the launch of RPG Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden on iOS genuinely breaks new ground.
The game, which is available to download now, can be picked up without charge. Consumers even get to play the title for free for around 15 minutes.
After that point, however, users are asked to pay to continue, the rest of the game unlocked via an in app purchase costing £3.99/$6.99.New pastures
"This new mechanism allows Gameloft to adopt a new form of freemium model that is becoming increasingly popular amongst game developers and consumers alike," the publisher said in a statement.
However, such a model isn't one that has been practiced by freemium releases to date.
Indeed, the release of Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden will be an interesting point of reference for the industry, if only because, in general, in app purchases have so far only been used to deliver optional extras such as additional items, virtual currency or upgrades.
Pitching the title as a free release on the marketplace itself, and then asking for payment at a later date is certainly a risk, but one the publisher clearly believes will pay off.
Commentators have also suggested the new model might be a useful tool in the battle against piracy – an element that Gameloft UK PR and marketing manager Callum Rowley told Pocket Gamer hadn't been a factor in the publisher's decision to launch the game in such a manner.
"If it's a deterrent to piracy then all the better," Rowley concluded.