Own goal? New Star Soccer's free-to-play update angers Android gamers

Paid users claim they're being asked to pay again

Own goal? New Star Soccer's free-to-play update angers Android gamers

An update that brings the Android version of New Star Soccer in line with the iOS release by taking the game free-to-play has angered gamers, with scores venting their anger via user reviews on Google Play.

Previously a paid release, many users claim they're now being asked to fork out more cash to unlock content hidden behind in-app purchases, despite having paid out for New Star Soccer in its original form.

"Shame on the developer"

A brief glance at said user reviews reveals a notable portion of users are staunchly against the switch to the freemium model, with many claiming they've been swindled.

"I already paid for this thing, so why on earth is it now following a freemium strategy requiring me to buy even more in-game to be able to do well? Shame on the developer - uninstalling," wrote one disgruntled user.

"I have already paid for the app, why should I now have to pay to continue paying for it? I will no longer update and stick with the pre-freemium version," wrote another.

"Think you just sold out."

Of course, the game's switch from paid to free always likely to generate passion on both sides of the debate – free-to-play as a mere concept still has the power to anger gamers aplenty, despite millions happily parting with cash in F2P games on a daily basis.

Solution on the way?

Of more concern, however, is the suggestion that users who have previously paid for the premium version of the game are now being asked to pay out again to unlock much of the same content.

In a statement sent to in response to the negative user reviews, the game's creator Simon Read acknowledged that there is a technical issue with people who deleted the old version of the game before installing the free-to-play version.

"Our main concern was for existing players who had already paid for the game," adds Read.

"This has been resolved by having the game look for a save file from the old version and if it finds one it unlocks the pro licence and the weather and pitch pack and allows the player to continue their career. This works very well in the majority of cases.

"The real issue is that those people who have deleted the game or who don't have the game on a new device and won't have a save game. We are currently looking into how we can help those who are affected with this problem."

Testing times

Read adds that the studio's testing revolved around the idea that players should be able to "do well without having to spend a penny beyond the pro license."

"As a previously paying customer on Android, you get the pro licence and pitch pack for free and you don't need to buy any more in app purchases to enjoy the game," he adds.

"Of course, we are looking at balancing issues and taking feedback from players and maybe it turns out that we were too harsh but please don't mistake making the game more challenging with money grabbing as that really is not our intention."

The furore around the update, however, does raise the wider question as to whether existing paid games can be re-tooled to work with the free-to-play model effectively.

New Star Games, however, claims the move was one motivated by a desire to "tie development of both the Android and iOS versions together and make things much easier to handle in future."

"It's important for us to re-iterate that players that have already paid for the game do not need to spend more money," concludes Read.

"Our intention as already mentioned was to bring all versions of New Star Soccer together so it is essentially the same across all devices to help with future development, and don't forget that New Star Games is essentially a one man coding team."

New Star Soccer's
relaunch on Android comes two weeks after developer New Star Games signed a deal with Thumbstar to publish the game on Google's platforn.

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