EA chases freemium craze with iOS Theme Park

EA chases freemium craze with iOS Theme Park

By Rob Crossley

August 24th 2011 at 10:07AM

Bullfrog classic reborn on mobile devices

EA Mobile is moving fast to take advantage of the free-to-play boom on mobile devices by resurrecting the old Bullfrog classic Theme Park.

The amusement park management sim will be released on iOS devices by the end of the year, according to a Digital Spy report, and will be released for free.

The original Theme Park title, released in 1994, has players build and modify their theme parks while at the mercy of public opinion.

EA believes this model of gameplay is an ideal suit for applying an in-game currency; likely meaning that the player can progress faster if real money is spent. That model could mimic the success of freemium iOS game Tiny Tower, which lets players construct a vertically-stacked retail complex.

Theme Park is now one of many EA brands that the publisher has launched into emerging game economies such as mobile and social. The Sims and FIFA are just two of EA’s properties that are making waves across new digital platforms.
It is suspected that EA will tie Theme Park iOS with many of its other console brands – such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Dead Space – via cloud data transfers.

EA has undergone a punishing transition towards digital in the past 24 months. Its global triple-A studio capacity has thinned while new social companies have joined the group. Playfish was acquired in 2009 for upwards of $300 million, while casual giant PopCap was this year bought for $750 million.