The next instalment in the EA-owned Firemonkey’s Real Racing series is going to be free to play.
A release date of February 28th has also been confirmed for Real Racing 3 on iOS devices. It should also hit Google Play and Amazon Appstore on the same day.
It’s a stark change of tact for the series that until now has been one of the few IP to comfortably inhabit the premium price bracket of Apple’s price-competitive App Store.
“Today we announced Real Racing 3 will be free,” a studio rep to TouchArcade. “And yes, Real Racing 3 was designed from the ground up to be a free to play experience.
“We are so excited about this game and wanted it to be accessible to everyone so we didn’t want there to be any barriers to entry. This accessibility is also what drives the awesome new Time Shifted Multiplayer feature, in that you can play competitive multiplayer with anyone any time, and they don't need to be online with you at the same time.”
In what is likely to prove an unpopular design choice, however, the game will force players to wait when repairing, upgrading or unlocking cars – unless they spend the game’s virtual currency to speed up proceedings, of course.
Indeed, The Guardian has reported on the “online anger” the announcement elicited from fans.
Some of the comments it plucked from the digital anger machine include: "This is how you kill an AAA game… EA are more evil than the retiring Pope… No way in hell I'm buying any freaking virtual coins… This just reeks of a company who's sold out… F**k EA f**k firemonkey and f**k freemium… I will never make peace with freemium."