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 Rolando 3  Canceled as Ngmoco Shifts to Free-to-Play Model
Rolando 3 Canceled as Ngmoco Shifts to Free-to-Play Model
February 19, 2010 | By Danny Cowan

February 19, 2010 | By Danny Cowan

In an interview with IGN, ngmoco co-founder Neil Young confirmed that development for the company's iPhone puzzle-platformer Rolando 3 has ceased. Young notes that the sequel was canceled in the wake of the company's shift to a free-to-play release strategy for all of its upcoming titles for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Ngmoco recently found success with free-to-play titles like Touch Pets Dogs and Eliminate Pro. Both games are available as free downloads in the iTunes App Store, and are supported by optional microtransactions offering users extended playtime beyond an established daily limit.

"When we made the decision to go free-to-play, we said to ourselves, Look. If we can't make the game free-to-play, we're not going to release it,'" Young recalls. "And Rolando 3 as it was envisioned at that time was not a free-to-play product. So we've just taken the time to try to figure out how to do that franchise really effectively in free-to-play space."

Though last year's sequel Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid met with widespread critical praise, Young notes disappointment with its sales performance. A free version with paid level packs was released in October, and apparently saw limited success.

"It sells every day and we don't really play around with the price on it," Young said. "We just kind of keep it there and it does good, but not stellar."

Young assures that the Rolando franchise is not dead, however, and a sequel will likely emerge once ngmoco can effectively implement a free-to-play release model.

"We're thinking about it and at the appropriate moment we'll deliver a new Rolando experience that takes full advantage of everything we've learned from the free-to-play world," Young said.

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Martin Danger
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It's amazing the amount that people are willing to spend on in app purchases. Give someone a demo, then sell them the game for $5 isn't as successful as give someone a demo, then sell the game to them in 5 $2 chunks. People suck at math.

Duong Nguyen
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I think it's more a strategy to compensate for the glut of low quality 1-2 dollar games on the AppStore. People have become risk adversed to buying apps even at that price point, they now will just play free apps. With a free to play strategy they know what they are getting for their 1-2 dollars.