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Freemium vs Premium: The Rise of Pay-to-Play Games

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Image source, Distimo Report March 2013, "How The Most Successful Apps Monetize Their User Base"

Let me start by saying, not all freemium games are bad. There are some notable titles that don't intentionally extort dollars from gamers. Freemium games rely on what has been referred to as the "friction point," the point in which a game has limited your progress and you either have to wait for your energy to recharge, pay more money to continue, or proceed to grind away at a lower, less challenging level while scraping credits together to gain a more competitive edge. The challenge for many freemium game developers is walking that line between frustrating the gamer enough that they are willing to throw down real-world money to advance and not frustrating the gamer so much that they put the game down and don't come back. Distimo released an interesting report in March 2013 showing just how profitable it is for developers to walk this line.



Game Centered: Popular New Titles and a New App to Track MFi Games

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition.


The Stratus Game Controller Debuts in Apple Store, 20% Off

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It was just last week that I wrote a review of the Stratus MFi Bluetooth game controller. This game controller is one of three on the market at this time, and in my opinion it's the best of them. Now I've got some great news for anyone who either just purchased one, or was about to.



Nommons Is a Math Game Your Kids Can Sink Their Teeth Into

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I had the opportunity to preview Nommons: Math Universe before it was released, at a press event in Los Angeles, during the App Developers Conference where I was speaking. I'm glad I got the chance, because as it turned out, my daughter was struggling with math at that very time. I knew an app ought to help her somehow, as it can be much more interactive than flash cards.



Game Centered 2014: A New Year, a New Crop of Exciting iOS Gaming News.

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Welcome to the first installment of Game Centered 2014, it's good to be back in the swing of things after the holidays and CES! Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition, as well as any news stories that are particularly relevant to the iOS gaming community.

This week we’ve certainly got a lot games to cover; it's been almost a month since the last Game Centered installment and a lot of great new apps have hit the App Store since then! We've also got a new rumor stirring up interest in the gaming sector; if you’re a fan of Zelda or Mario, you won't want to miss it!



First Impressions: Introducing the New Stratus MFi-Certified Game Controller

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The new SteelSeries Stratus game controller ($99.99) is available to pre-order now and the website promises the controller will ship within 30 days. I've been working with the SteelSeries game controller a lot lately, and I have to say, besides the fact that it's the only wireless (Bluetooth) game controller on the market, it's ergonomic and it handles well. The sensitivity is finely tweaked making the controller quick and responsive, without much glitchiness or lag.



CES of THINGS: Low-Tech & No-Tech Surprises

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It's easy to find high tech wonders at CES, but I have a particular affinity for items that are low tech or no tech... In other words, items that have no battery, no wires, and no chips but still manage to make our high tech lives better.

People always ask me what to get the person who has everything. My response? Something to hold it in! If you have tons of gadgets, as I do, you're always looking for the right bag, case, or container. Fortunately, CES was full of such gear.



Infinity-Gate: Update Erases Thousands of Infinity Blade III Saved Games!

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Over the years I've had a strong love/hate relationship with the Infinity Blade series. It has been by turns, a highly rewarding, premium game experience and also a very disappointing one. My issues with the IB series go back to my experience with the very first Infinity Blade, which at one point refused to even open (using an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 at the time) for over six months (in fact, I was never able to resolve that issue before I moved on to IB II), to the present day’s scandal. The game series, for all of its amazing gameplay, strong storyline, and stellar graphics, seems to have been plagued with consistently recurring development problems, bugs, and glitches. But this latest fiasco takes the cake...



CES 2014: Game On! Introducing the Stratus iOS Game Controller

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If you follow iPhone Life magazine and iPhoneLife.com you might already know this about me, but if not, I'm an avid iOS game playerSo when I found out about Apple’s MFi support for third-party developers to build dedicated and certified iOS game controllers you could say I was stoked, and that would be an understatement. However, the first entries into the field of iOS MFi game controllers actually left me a little underwhelmed. The potential was there, but until now no controller has really embodied the complete package of what a good iOS game controller should be like. Until now...


CES 2014: Free FlipSquare App Provides Puzzle-Solving Downtime at CES!

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I can call this a CES mini game review, because I was able to enjoy a bit of a gaming break here at the show while at the Venetian at CES (which I desperately needed). The FlipSquare concept at first look seems way too simple and easy, but after I blasted through a few levels, it became apparent I needed to put on the old thinking cap. Starting position is key, but basically this block connection style game requires clever thinking and pattern visualization skills to master. Once you select a block direction to fill, you have to fill the entire row before going in another direction. The developers are offering the first 75 levels for free (unlock 100 with a $0.99 IAP, and 4 extra hints also cost $0.99). It looks boring, but I stayed through at least 14 levels and still wanted to keep going (later levels add new block types and conditions)... Ah, back to the show, darnnit! Grab the already popular FlipSquare at the link above.



Best iPhone Games | iPhone Life Magazine

When searching for the best iPhone games, you can get lost in companies propaganda.  Articles like Top Ten FavoriteiPhone Games, can help to alleviate the stress.  The following snippets from articles can help you to decide what kind of game is better suited for you.

"Stinger Games' newly launched Stinger FoosballLeague takes a game that's already a step removed from reality into a truly virtual environment - topping as one of the best iPhone games.  Foosball, of course, is the table version of football or soccer.  With Stinger Foosball League, the field that was crammed into a table in a pub is now in your iOS device.  The premise sounds okay, but the execution is way cooler than it sounds.  That's because Stinger Foosball League is actually, well, cooler than actual foosball.  First of all, the 3D graphics and game physics are right on, putting this game at the forefront of console-style graphics on iOS.  Second of all, the view when playing real life foosball is… usually not that awesome. I'm sure there are people with foosball tables that are tricked out, but for most of us, they're usually a dingy affair.  But Stinger Foosball League hasn't been sitting in your uncle's basement for the past forty years.  Kick-ass flying cameras show off how much action there really is in a game known for being low-tech. And just to make it even more trippy, the ball leaves behind a golden light tail, kind of a comet-effect."

"The Universe of SPIRIT FORCE was inspired from the Japanese Samurai-era.  Discover an epic story giving you a social experience where players fight with monsters and collect Spirit Cards in order to save the world.  It places a core emphasis on player vs. player combat.  The player begins his journey as a member of the SPIRIT FORCE.  Battle with other players or clear the mission to get great treasure and rare card. Use crafting skills with the collected treasures in order to summon new Spirits.  Players can team up with friends and cooperate each other to fight against boss, unlock new rewards and new stages.  The most immersive and massively multiplayer online card game ever!"

Both of the previous two articles are on specific games, but perhaps you want a more comprehensive look on several games... The Free iPhone Games To Kick Off Your Summer articleis what you are looking for.