Sep 27, 2011
Smurfs’ Village, the mammoth free-to-play hit on iOS, is making its way to Android at last. The game, currently only available in Australia, France, and Canada (likely as a stress test for the servers; this kind of tactic is used regularly on iOS in order to stress test games), will be making its way to the global Android Market this September 28th. The game will be available from this link. This is a so-called social game, where players try to build up a Smurfs’ village of their very own, with buildings that take varying amounts of time to build. The building process can be sped up through the purchase of the game’s in-app credits, appropriately enough entitled Smurfberries.
What will be interesting to see is if any kind of controversy over in-app purchases flares up with this game as it did on iOS. In-app purchases could be restricted on iOS, but due to the game’s kid-friendly nature, many kids were spending large amounts of real-world money on the Smurfberries. On Android, passwords aren’t required for app downloads or in-app purchases at all; an optional PIN for purchases can be set from within the Android Market’s options, but the likelihood that unintended purchases from children not aware that they are spending real-world money will occur seems high. It’s a concern Capcom has hopefully addressed beyond just a notice on the Market page that Smurfberries cost real-world money.
Still, for a game that has been a perennial member of the “Top Grossing” chart on iOS, this is a major title for the platform, and a potentially new huge source of revenue for Capcom and developer Beeline Interactive. Whether or not it can duplicate its chart success over on Android will be interesting to track; and to see if any kind of in-app purchase controversy will bubble up will be interesting to see as well, with more and more apps using in-app purchases.