/// Don’t Like In-App Purchases in Games? Deal With It, Says PopCap.
PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to the hit tower-defense game from 2009, recently crossed 25 million downloads — more in two weeks than the first game racked up in its lifetime. But, unlike the first game, which initially cost $20 on PC and a few dollars on iOS, PvZ2 was free and supported by in-app purchases. Critics’ and users’ reviews of the game were generally positive , but a subset of users has kvetched on the iOS App Store since launch that the free-to-play business model is “ruining great games like PVZ,” as one review noted. PopCap’s franchise business director for Plants vs. Zombies, Tony Learner, doesn’t seem too worried, though. “When people hear things like ‘free-to-play’ or ‘freemium,’ in their heads they think they know what that is,” Learner said in an interview with AllThingsD . “What we’ve seen with Plants vs. Zombies is, in the vast majority, once you play the game, you understand that this is a very different approach to offering a free experience with optional payments inside.” As many game critics have pointed out, it’s possible for skilled players to beat PvZ2 without spending any money, but it takes a lot longer. Some of the titular plants — which players drag and drop onto the screen to fight off invading zombies — are only available through the store; that store also lets players unlock more advanced plants and speed through the game’s worlds faster, or buy packs of virtual coins that can be spent on short-term in-game power-ups Learner declined to share any specific in-app purchase sales numbers, but said that they’ve met PopCap’s expectations. And, although he gets asked about it a lot, he said that the “small handful of dissenters” pleading for a paid version of the game without IAP shouldn’t hold their breath
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