EA fights back against criticism of F2P game, Dungeon Keeper

10 Feb 2014

Electronic Arts (EA) has been criticised for what people are calling an opportunistic ploy, where players of the game can’t progress without paying significant amounts of money.

Amid growing criticism of the free-to-play (F2P) model, the remake of the popular 1997 strategy game where players create and expand their own dungeon to fight off hordes of ‘heroes’, has frustrated players who feel that progression in the game is almost unachievable unless you pay.

This latest version of the game has just been released but already gamers are left frustrated when faced with each step in progression taking anywhere between four hours to an entire day to knock down one segment of rocks needed for building.

EA defends the game

Jeff Skalski, the game’s senior developer at EA, in an interview with TabTimes, did little to alleviate the grievances held by many fans and critics of the game, saying the game’s intentions was for sporadic daily gaming: “It’s important to emphasise that we designed a game that is built around the typical mobile play patterns. This means Dungeon Keeper is meant to be played on the go multiple times a day with a few minutes here or there. This way of playing allows fans to naturally progress as a free player.”

He went on to say the developers had played it themselves and saw no problems with it.

“To that end, yes, we’ve designed the game to offer players the option to spend money if they’d like to speed up their gameplay.

“As for whether we think the micro transactions are fair? Well, most of the team, including myself, played as free players all throughout our 15-week soft launch. It was important for us to know that even a non-spender could enjoy our game and make progress.”

Another point of contention for the app is the rating system that EA has pointed out on a number of occasions show the app reaching a five-star review by users.

Dungeon Keeper prices

Being charged stg£70 for in-app purchases is one of the major criticisms of the game.

According to game reviewers like Nerd Cubed on YouTube (video), the rating system is set in such a way that not giving it a five-star review is a much more lengthy process and will simply rate it five stars to save time.

Despite criticisms of the F2P model, it is expected to be the dominant method of revenue for apps, according to financial experts as they believe people are less likely to want to pay for apps in the coming years.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic