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Monday, 10 February 2014 10:22

EA stuffs up Dungeon Keeper

Written by Nick Farrell



In-app payment system source of criticism

Electronic Arts is facing strong criticism over the in-app payment system in its Dungeon Keeper game which some players claim is "unplayable" unless they spent significant sums to speed up progress and get upgrades.

EA insisted that it designed the game to fit in with typical patterns of mobile play and people did not have to spend money if they did not want to. Of course they don’t have to buy it either, which might be what is happening. Even Peter Molyneux, maker of the original Dungeon Keeper, said EA had not got the game's balance right.

EA’s Dungeon Keeper has been pasted in tech news sites. Reviewers criticised the game's aggressive use of in-app purchases which involve paying real money for an in-game resource called gems. The problem is that you need hundreds of gems to play so the game simply was not “free to play". Dungeon Keeper gives the player the job of constructing and running an underground lair to which they attract monsters that are then used to defend the place against attackers. Minions called imps dig out rooms and corridors to create the dungeon. But the imps work much too slowly unless players buy gems. Without this resource the game makes players wait four hours to dig out some types of territory and 24 hours to dig out rockier parts.

Peter Molyneux, who designed the original 1997 Dungeon Keeper game, said he too was shocked when he saw the time it would take to dig out some sections of the map. He told the BBC that EAs game was ridiculous. “I just want to make a dungeon. I don't want to schedule it on my alarm clock for six days to come back for a block to be chipped,'" he told the BBC.

An EA spokeswoman said it thought it had got the balance right. It was supposed to be that you check in a few minutes here and there throughout the day rather than sitting watching it. In an interview on Tab Times EA said that the number of five star reviews the game had on the App Store and Google Play showed how popular it was.

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