Of all of the games that one could imagine shoehorning a paid subscription service into, the classic Tetris has to be on the bottom of the list. It sounds like a bad Internet joke, doesn't it? Who would possibly charge a monthly fee to play Tetris? Electronic Arts, of course. In its latest bid to reclaim the title of Most Evil Publisher from Activision, EA has crammed a recurring fee into its iOS version of Tetris for the Apple iPhone and iPad. Gaze upon Gamasutra and despair!
The $0.99 game (introductory rate), which replaces EA Mobile's previous Tetris game on Apple's App Store, debuts a "Marathon One Touch Mode" control scheme designed for touchscreen gameplay on iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads.
It also adds Tetris Log, a feature that offers players fresh challenges, tracks their progress clearing lines across multiple devices, and assigns them a Tetris Rank -- all powered by Electronic Arts' digital distribution and DRM platform Origin.
Another notable addition is T-Club, an "elite Tetris fan club" requiring a $2.99 monthly or $29.99 annual fee. Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and content, premium Tetris Log challenges, and a booster for progressing their Tetris Rank faster.
Well, someone is taking pages from the Call of Duty: Elite playbook. This is such a terrible low for Tetris, but I shouldn't be surprised. More and more publishers are trying to eke out every last bit of potential profit from games that have long since run out of new ideas and innovation, so the only place left to go is to start charging money for features that used to be part of the basic package. I sincerely hope that this T-Club initiative fails in a spectacular manner. This kind of thing needs to be put down as soon as possible lest we start seeing the likes of the Angry Birds Nest premium add-on services and other such programs that go beyond too far.