By John Walker on December 17th, 2013 at 11:00 am.
Oh Rovio, you are such scamps! Now richer than China, the Angry Birds developers can’t seem to get enough money. Despite the income stream from Angry Birds lunch boxes, Angry Birds towels and Angry Birds flip-flops, their need to tower bundles of banknotes to reach the moon is unsated. So it is that 69p mobile game Tiny Thief has just been released on Steam for £11.99.
And what do we get for this 1,738% mark-up?
A 69p mobile game.
A good one, certainly. Tiny Thief is a fun little game, and a nice surprise from Rovio insomuch as it isn’t Angry Birds. It’s more involved, little bits of point-n-click adventure ideas put into a very cute cartoon puzzle game, but playing out in distinct levels. But, now on a bigger screen! For only 17 times more money!
This presents an interesting dilemma. Tiny Thief is over-priced at £12 – it’s a short game, with limited replayability (unlike Angry Birds) – but it’s obviously a game that released first on PC would be acceptable well over 69p. But it wasn’t released first on PC, and this creates a rather big problem. They’ve given their game a value, and it’s been available at that price for a good long while. I paid it. It undeniably affixes a sense of what one should pay for it. I think people would have accepted an increase for a PC version, but not something this ridiculous.
So what on earth were they thinking? Oh, we know. Someone from developers 5 Ants has addressed some of the frustration about this on the Steam forums with:
“In this version we have made an additional effort to make the game look as good as possible, with high-quality graphics and other improvements to make the experience as smooth as possible. Additionally, the game is 3$ on mobile platforms: prices are set differently on each platform and these two markets are very different.
We’ve been developing Tiny Thief for over 2 years, the game has around 3.000 animations and 700 sound effects plus music; crafted by a small team of passionate game developers. We truly believe Tiny Thief to be a unique and great game with a correct price for this platform and we hope you feel the same way once you get to play the adventure.”
It’s true that it’s £2/$3 on iTunes for iOS handhelds. But there’s no question that they’ve priced it on the Google Play store at 69p/89c/$0.99. But anyway, er, pointing out it costs a quarter of the price on another platform doesn’t enormously usefully address the issue.
And those high quality graphics? They’ve upped the game to run at a whopping 1024×768. That’s it. It seems that it can only run at 1024×768 in a window, and there’s no way to adjust that yet. Fullscreen it will scale up to your native desktop resolution. Clearly some more options are needed here, but at least it does get higher when fullscreen.
If you’ve got a mobile device, tablet or phone, I do recommend checking out Tiny Thief. It’s pretty good. But otherwise, perhaps wait until they come to their senses and drop this to the £5 or so it clearly should have been for PC.