A little while back, Atari continued its releases of updated classic games for iOS with Breakout Boost, a freemium version of the classic brickbreaking game that offers updated graphics and a few new mechanics to go with them. This week Atari announced another title called Breakout: Boost+, and while the general trend on the App Store recently is to go more towards freemium, Atari has actually made a move away from it. Breakout: Boost+ is a paid title, currently available for 99 cents.
The "plus" version includes 100 levels that aren't available in the free version, and it doesn't appear to have any in-app purchases. Other than that, the gameplay appears to be about the same, adding in power-ups and those improved graphics to the standard Breakout gameplay. It's an interesting choice; during a time when most games are dropping their price down to free to get the largest possible audience, Atari has followed up a free launch with a title that falls back on the old paid model while still leaving the freemium version available.
TUAW asked Atari what the deal is. Atari CEO Jim Wilson tells us that this title is definitely not a relaunch, and the choice to offer a paid app doesn't necessarily reflect disappointment with the free version. "Breakout: Boost was a big success for Atari that generated over 2 million downloads," says Wilson, "and we plan to continue supporting the title, having released an update since launch to enhance the initial free levels." Presumably both versions will be updated going forward, so customers can either download the free version as a trial, or buy the paid version to get access to all of the content right away.
This kind of experimentation definitely shows that Atari, a very traditional gaming company, is looking to grow its mobile offerings, especially on iOS. According to Wilson, "This latest release of Breakout: Boost+ is just one small step among many more to come that expands on our mobile games offering and an effort to keep iterating on our games to address consumer demands -- in this case, a call for an upfront premium download." It sounds like at least some of Atari's customers wanted the more traditional paid model rather than the freemium offering. It'll be interesting to see how these two apps do in the App Store going forward.