CSR Racing dev defends ‘energy’ micropayment design

The developer behind iOS hit CSR Racing has defended the implementation of microtransactions within the title.

The game limits the time players can spend racing in a single session by rationing ‘gas’. Once gas has expired players can either leave it and return later when it will have recharged or pay a fee to continue racing.

CSR was singled out for particular criticism by iOS hacker Alexey Borodin, who earlier this week devised a method that allows gamers to obtain IAPs for free in most iOS titles.

I set this up due to hungry and lazy developers,” Borodin claimed. I was very angry to see that CSR Racing developer taking money from me every single breath.”

But speaking to Hookshot, the founder and MD of CSR developer Boss Alien Jason Avent claimed that the ‘gas’ mechanic simply provides a natural reprieve” for players..

The game has a tight 30-second play loop,” he explained. You race, upgrade your car and then race some more. This repeats until you can beat a crew member and ultimately the crew bosses.

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.”

Avent went on to deny that such design is harmful to the game.

As long as you consider monetization up-front then I don’t think it harms the game design,” he insisted.

We have a lot of reminders in the game that help to keep you on the right track and progress. Relatively few of these actually mention money. However payment does fit in neatly where it’s appropriate. It’s never compulsory to pay though and I think that’s key.

You can play CSR Racing forever for free if you want to. If you’re really into it though you can buy all the cool stuff and show off to your friends. These kind of choices occur in real life all the time. I could buy some 1.99 shades from a street-seller or I could spend 100 on some nice Ray Bans. They do pretty much the same job. It’s all about offering people a choice.”

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