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Firemint: When It Comes To iPad And iPhone, Separate Game Versions Are A Must

Firemint's Angela Peters (Flight Control) tells Gamasutra that Apple's iPad and iPhone demand different apps, suggesting "we don't think that releasing ide
As part of Gamasutra's latest feature, Game Strategies: iPad Vs. iPhone, Angela Peters, community manager at Firemint (Flight Control) says that the company's development and pricing tactics preclude 'universal builds', which allow gamers to buy one app and get access to both iPad and iPhone versions of the title. The 11-year-old Australian mobile-game studio is adamant about not creating universal games "because the considerations, capabilities, and markets for iPhone and iPad are quite different," says community manager Alexandra Peters. "Given our approach of tailoring adaptations of our games to suit the specific hardware, it makes more sense to launch separate apps for separate platforms and to set pricing separately," she adds. "We don't think that releasing identical games on both platforms is an effective strategy." Firemint's current policy is to develop new games first for the iPhone -- which the studio considers its lead platform -- and then, if they do well, consider launching enhanced adaptations that are optimized for other platforms -- with enhanced price tags. Peters cites as an example Firemint's latest release -- Real Racing HD for iPad -- which started with Real Racing for the iPhone. The studio overhauled the graphics throughout, adding more detail and higher-resolution textures, and also included the ability to add any photo from the player's library as a custom skin to the cars. The company released newer, more expensive and feature-rich versions of its popular Real Racing and Flight Control games for the iPad -- Real Racing HD costs $9.99, compared to the iPhone version's $4.99, but features updated graphics, control, and other upgrades. "We think the HD version is worth it," says Peters. A lot of thought went into re-imagining the game, says Peters, which is exactly the process Firemint intends to pursue if creating an HD version is justified. "If a title does well -- and if it makes sense to adapt that IP to other platforms that are a good fit," she adds, "that is certainly something we are keen to do." However, there are differing opinions on this strategy. Notably, Semi Secret Games' Adam Saltsman (Canabalt) and IUGO's Sarah Thomson (Implode! XL) talk about their attitudes to developing universal versions of iPhone/iPad titles in the full feature, Game Strategies: iPad Vs. iPhone, live today on Gamasutra.

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