If you’ve noticed a trend with most of Gameloft’s new releases having Universal support over the past few months, it isn’t just a coincidence. Talking with Pocket Gamer during the Gamescon ’11 conference in Germany, Gameloft PR Manager Gregory Wintgens stated that from here on out the iOS mega-developer plans to “release everything as Universal” rather than the long standing practice of having separate versions for iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad.

Starting with Order & Chaos Online [$6.99] back in April, Gameloft has been releasing almost all of their games as Universal builds. Now, due to your keen sense of detail, you might be saying “Hey! Not ALL of their recent releases have been Universal, I’m calling shenanigans!”, and you would be correct. This is because certain licensing agreements don’t allow for Universal builds, thus some new releases will still come with two separate versions. Also, I think there were a couple of releases that had already been planned as separate HD versions, but didn’t finally hit until just recently.

Which brings me to another good point about all this: typically, the separate HD iPad version of a Gameloft game has taken weeks or sometimes MONTHS to finally release. This has left iPad gamers out in the cold on more than once occasion while their smaller screen-toting peers gamed their days away with the latest Gameloft releases. With Universal builds, all iOS device owners can partake in the fun day and date with each other (unless you own a 1st or 2nd generation device that isn’t supported. Sorry guys).

From a consumer standpoint, I absolutely love Universal games. Not only are you saving money by only having to purchase a game once to have it run on your various devices, but it also cuts way down on app clutter in iTunes. It’s no picnic trying to juggle the hundreds of apps on my computer, and it’s made even worse by having two separate versions of the same game. I know making a game Universal doesn’t fit with every developer’s strategy, but I sure do appreciate it when it does happen, and for that I give Gameloft a thumbs up.

[Via Pocket Gamer]

  • spidey

    The HD universal, and SD stand-alone for smaller device is a great strategy for everyone!

  • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

    On the other hand, GL's newest games have been a little worse.

  • HisDivineOrder

    Every game on iOS should be released with a Universal option.  Sure, you can offer an iPhone-only option, too, but if you're putting something out for iPad AND it has/will have an iPhone version, too, then you should as a developer be releasing that more expensive iPad version as Universal for the sake of your consumer.

    You certainly shouldn't be trying to make people double dip on virtually the same platform.  And you shouldn't release a version of the same game on the same platform with updated graphics and then say, "New $10 pls!" when you had loyal customers who already invested in what they were assured would be an updated version of said game.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, Galaxy on Fire 2.

    Developers don't realize that customers have long memories and when they do stupid things, they may not suffer right away, but later releases will.

  • Fredrik Jackson

    But when will EA follow?

  • Dave

    >From a consumer standpoint, I absolutely love Universal games.

    I agree only if Gameloft doesn't adopt the freemium model or heavy IAP model for those apps. But considering recent pricing trend, I think the main purpose of the universal support is to gather more users. Because huge user base is the key to make the freemium model more profitable.

    • Anonymous

      You've nailed it. They're only making the switch because they're transition to a IAP/Freemium model for the majority of their games. Don't fool yourselves into thinking that Gameloft is doing this for the "customer".

    • Paulm12

      Freemium games with IAPs make more than Paid games W/O.  However considering Gamelofts IAPs, I don't think this will be too much of a problem (with the exception of Let's Golf! 3, as Backstab and 9mm's IAPs were mainly shortcuts in the game; not necessary to play)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Donovan/660749692 Kevin Donovan

    I love universal games, but owning quite a few and running them on my iPad/iPhone reveals the one huge weakness still to be sorted, that is syncing of game saves across devices. Sort this out then they can truly be called universal.

    • Anonymous

      iOS 5 and Cloud Saves will help with this issue. Also, you'll be able to sync wirelessly and "automatically" so you won't have to chase down the App again on the respective device.

  • Fuluc

    Does this mean the PopCap's 'new' app Peggle, which is due on iPad in a few weeks for 10$ is not going to well received?  :P    

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Buckingham/518019273 Will Buckingham

      Between PC and iOS, I've already bought Peggle four separate times (regular and Nights).  I'm afraid I'll be waiting for the inevitable $.99 sale on the iPad version.

  • Ariectus

    Thats good, too bad they already had universal support in most of the games, just had it disabled to make more money. Im not a conspiracy theorist either lol, I got fullforce on my ipad, a jailbreak tweak that enhances iPhone games, and lo and behold, when I used it on a gameloft game, it suddenly says N.O.V.A 2 HD at the top instead of just nova, same with black pegasus and a couple others I tried. The code has been in the games the whole time, try it for yourself if you don't believe though, fullforce is a nice tweak to have in any case.

    • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

      You right! I cant believe it! But only on the post-iPad games, on pre-ipad games it wont work!
      It also works with most EA games and it works perfect with anrgy birds!
      U made my day bro!

  • http://twitter.com/minimaxir Max Woolf

    There is a reason companies do iPhone versions and "HD" iPad versions; so they can charge more for the iPad version by claiming it is "better." As a result, they make more money. It's known as product versioning.

    Of course Universal games are pro-consumer, but companies care about making money.

    I'm not sure why Gameloft is backpedaling though...I'm guessing it's because iPhones are a much bigger audience than iPads...might as well save cost by limiting it to one SKU.

    • Paulm12

      If you've noticed, all of Gameloft's games that are universal have had IAPs.  I'm guessing this has something to do with it; according to sales, devs make more money from free games' IAPs than with full priced games (there was an article about that somewhere on here).  Its a win-win; they make more money, and we get more games.  IAPs are terrible with separate versions, as you not only buy the game twice, but the IAPs as well.  Just my 2 cents.

  • Paulm12

    Thanks Gameloft!  I'm now able to buy more than twice the amount of games becuase I don't have to buy certain ones for iPhone and iPad separatly (I say 'more than' because iPad releases usually cost more, like $10).