The Controversial CSR Racing App

18 July 2012

Eurogamer:

“The ‘Gas’ mechanic provides a reprieve for a natural break. At that point you can either pay for Gas or leave the game to recharge. The short-sharp play sessions mean that you’re happy to come back and have another go. This design fits with the play patterns of people on the move. That’s really what drove the design.”

I think that is dishonest. The Gas mechanism is clearly imposed for monetization. It isn’t because it “fits with the play patterns of people on the move”. If that was the case, there would be no reason for players to buy Gas and the app would make no money. However, the developer knows people play more than 30 seconds of a game at a time, so they found a way to exploit impatience for revenue.

Like I said, I think the quote above is untruthful. However, many people have criticised the developer simply for using In-App Purchases in this way and I don’t think thats fair either. Nobody is forced to play the game; nobody is forced to buy the Gas. They just choose to do so. CSR Racing isn’t the number one top-grossing app because it is unscrupulously tricking users to buy stuff. Pure and simple, it turns out people are willing to pay to circumvent time restrictions.

You can’t criticise a developer for building something people want to use1 and pay for, even if you yourself think it is a waste of money.

1 In the UK Store, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive — 75% of ratings are 5-star.