Brandon Boyer

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[UPDATE: ngmoco have reversed course on the decision, which, as suspected, was simply intended as a short term experiment:

We did not intend to deprive you of the ability to re-download or update our games. Rather, we had wanted to learn how well Rolando 2 would do at launch without the competition generated by its predecessor. The App Store is an entirely new animal, and we’re always learning what it takes to deliver what you want.


The most interesting development of the past weekend: in a post on the Touch Arcade forums, ngmoco very quietly announced that with the July 1st release of Rolando 2 (that’s this Wednesday), the original Rolando will be wiped from the App Store, as ngmoco recently did, even more quietly, with the original Topple (something I didn’t realize until putting together the top 15 game list).

This has, of course, raised a bit of ire with a few sites who justifiably note that part of the App Store’s appeal (as with any digital distribution outlet) is its never-ending/long-tail shelf life. The flip-side of that coin too, though, is one of the Great Gaming Fears of an All Digital Distribution Future: that with no physical copy to packrat away, once the bit-stream is turned off, so goes all your purchases — that, in whatever long, distant future where Valve’s Steam dies, along with it goes all our copies of Portal.


I suspect the chain of events here is considerably less dire, and I presume ngmoco are using this 3.0/Plus+ launch shift to test a theoretical model for the future: when a sequel is released, the publisher can create artificial scarcity and thus artificial demand to wring one last bump from the App Store’s traditional steadily decreasing downramp of sales.

At that point they launch the new game, which sits undistracted by other search query results, and — just as sales of the sequel start to similarly taper — they relaunch the original in a quasi-Greatest Hits line, now with new Plus+’s social features/achievements, and hope to gain a new bump from fans of the sequel who weren’t around for the first.

It’ll be an interesting development to watch, but, in the meantime, consider this your warning that, yes, you’ve only got a day and a half or two to get on the boat for Rolando, and, as always, it’s recommended that you do.

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