'This design fits with the play patterns of people on the move', says Avent

CSR Racing dev defends divisive in-app purchases

The creator of CSR Racing has defended the game’s controversial in-app purchases.

The freemium app is currently one of the highest grossing apps on 70 of the world’s app stores. However its come under fire from player for its in-app purchases, which has been described as by some players as too aggressive.

The game encourages players to spend real money on in-game items, rather than earn them by playing alone – in what some have called a “painfully slow process”.

“The ‘Gas’ mechanic provides a reprieve for a natural break,” Jason Avent of Boss Alien, told Hookshot Inc in an interview.

Just last week, an iOS hack that enables users to fool in-app purchases, created by Russian hacker Alexey V. Borodin, was published online. The hacker said it was a “challenge to CSR Racing”.

“The game has a tight 30-second play loop,” said Avent.

“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 interface is slick and so it’s easy to enter into a state of Flow playing the game. It feels satisfying to have goals and meet them regularly. That’s the core design.

“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.”

Hookshot then questioned whether CSR’s monetisation harms its game design. Avent responded: “As long as you consider monetisation up-front then I don’t think it harms the game design.

“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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