Regardless of which end of the deal they’re on, ngmoco has frequently been at the center of iPhone gaming’s hottest acquisitions. Their first big purchase came back in late 2009 when they acquired Epic Pet Wars developer Miraphonic. Now ngmoco will be eliminating all traces of that once promising social developer, as they’ll be removing all four Miraphonic-developed games from the App Store later this month.
In an announcement posted in the ngmoco Knowledge Base, the company has confirmed that Epic Pet Wars, Epic Crime Wars, Epic Chef Wars and Titan Wars will all be shut down on January 16th, 2011. No specific reason was cited, but as an avid App Store watcher I can assure you that none of these titles were burning up the charts.
It does, however, raise the question of fairness in freemium gaming. Each of these titles was no doubt a daily addiction for at least a handful of faithful followers. If these gamers have spent real world money to beef up their characters through in-app purchases, are they to merely sit on their laurels and accept the fact that they’ve just flushed that money down the toilet?
The cold hard answer is more than likely yes, but ngmoco hasn’t commented one way or another about it yet, so anything we have to say about it is little more than speculation and should be treated as such.
Still, there are options out there for publishers who want to handle such matter delicately. When shutting down the Facebook game Street Racing, for example, Zynga offered players a credit for any purchases made in the last 90 days that could be spent in any other Zynga game. Epic Pet Wars fans may not want a credit that can be used in We Rule, but it’s certainly better than the alternative.
Do freemium publishers have a commitment to gamers who are willing to spend real world bucks? Let us know what you think in the comments!