Gameloft's incredibly over-the-top, incredibly fun arcade racer Asphalt 8: Airborne [Free] has just received its first content update since launching back in August, and it's also now gone permanently free-to-play. The fact that Asphalt 8 is now free-to-play shouldn't be surprising; its meager 99¢ original asking price was a hell of a deal for how much game it offered, and it contained the typical free-to-play infrastructure in terms of upgrades and an in-game currency system. Not necessarily in a bad way either, the game was quite generous in what it offered and never required that you pay anything in order to play the entire game. The fact that it's now free just means the barrier to entry is completely removed.

As for the actual meat of the content update, there is a brand new vehicle, the Renault Clio R.S., and it sounds like more new cars will pop-up in the shop at any time and rotate out. So if you're into buying new vehicles you should probably keep a close eye on what's available at any given time. There's also new limited time Cup events which will let you earn credits, upgrades and exclusive cars, and a new multiplayer World Series with 7 reversed tracks and improved matchmaking. There are also new per-event consumable boosters you can buy to help you get a leg up in certain races if you desire.

Finally, Asphalt 8 now includes the ability to customize the controls and place them however you like on the screen. Strangely, the update originally included text in the description that the game now supports Apple's gamepads, but the description was quickly updated to remove any mention of it (the original update text can still be seen on AppShopper). We've seen similar things happen before where a game mentions iOS 7 controller support in its description but later removes it, likely at Apple's request. So what gives? Does this mean controller support is still a ways out? Why is Apple being so weird about even the mere mention of official controller support when it's something that was announced way back in June?

Whatever the case, we're anxious as all get out for the curtain to officially be unveiled on the whole controller thing, but in the meantime be sure to check out Asphalt 8's new update and see what others are saying about it in our forums. And if you had hesitated on pulling the trigger for the game before with its 99¢ price tag, now you have no excuse not to at least download and check it out as it'll be free forever from now on.

  • HeroComa

    Wow

  • defunct32

    It's a good game but I feel like I gave $1.28 to Gameloft for free... Naughty Gameloft.........

    • Jake7905

      The only way you gave Gameloft $1.28 for free, is if you paid for the game but couldn't play it. Otherwise, you paid not to wait for the price drop (that we all knew was coming), going free is always an accepted risk when buying a game for $1 on the App Store.

      • defunct32

        I actually don't mind paying for my games and Asphalt 8 was well worth it, I just feel like ... I dunno what is the right word?... Hmmm... Unethical? To charge a game for some $ then make it suddenly permanently free, thank God it was only 1.28 though, what if it was 5 bucks and above?

        But anyways not trying to argue or debate it just rubs me the wrong way is all. ;P

      • Jake7905

        I don't completely disagree, I just wanted to point out that when I bought a game by Gameloft that costed $1 and included IAP, I knew that it would go free sooner or later.

        But I completely agree that a permanent change to free, if it rebalances the game, is a screw-you to the consumer. And I did spend $7 on IAP, but I'm reserving judgement on any possible rebalancing until I see a noticeable change. So far, I don't feel screwed by Gameloft.

  • Jzracin

    I'm so glad we have game pad support for all these games but no fucking controllers to play with

    • xzeldax3

      Wow, you need to calm down. I think it's better that Apple pushed out the dev tools for controller support before releasing actual controllers so stupid buyers won't spam the reviews with "gaem broken...can't play w/controller, plz give refund! 0/5 stars, won't ever buy from u guys again."

      By the time we get our hands on a controller, most popular games should immediately work with it.

      • defunct32

        Perfection, bro! ROAR! I agree.

  • lifeat78

    Now if only they would add some more tracks or race modes. Even with the reversed tracks, by the time you get to season five or six, they start to get a little stale.

  • TheGrimCreeper

    Permanently FREE? Now they have an excuse to riddle the game with IAP!

    • Jake7905

      That is a grim outlook. But Gameloft reaps what it has sown in the past.

      • ZarieoZ

        But what is the guarantee that they didn't lower money earned from each race or increased prices of some cars to make the game harder with this update.

        I already have the game, but I'm skeptical about updating it.

      • Jake7905

        I agree, a permanent change to free, attached to a new update, merits caution.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        I can tell you for a fact we didn't alter prices or rewards with the price drop. I'm the Community Manager in our San Francisco office and am quite active on the forums for GL games here at TA.

      • ZarieoZ

        Oh... Someone from gameloft. Thank you for taking the time to reply I really appreciate it. It's just I used to love gameloft so much when I entered the ios world & now I don't really trust it, it took me several months to decide to get Asphalt & I forget about their other games all together, except modern combat though ;-)

        It's a shame though, for a company to go from this to that in people's opinion.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        No problem, I'm usually around TA for a good portion of my day!

    • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

      We aren't changing the game structure at all with this price update. The game is staying the same, except it'll continue to get more content like in this update and it's now free (:

      • Jake7905

        That's good to hear. I was so impressed with the initial balance of Asphalt 8, I was happy to buy 2 car packs.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        Glad to hear it! Hopefully you'll find the new content just as enticing (:

      • Deaconclgi

        Hello Ryan,
        I bought Asphalt 8 for my iPad 4 at launch and it was totally worth the money.
        Do you know when Asphalt 8 will be released for Windows Phone? I am prepared to buy it again and I'll even buy it for Windows 8 as well. Paid or free, it is a great racing game.
        Thank you for your time.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        Glad you enjoy it! I don't have an ETA on the Windows release currently. Keep an eye on our social media sites and TwitchTV channel for more information on that in the near future though (:

      • Deaconclgi

        Thank you for your swift reply.

  • Kane

    I also saw the text in the description mentioning iOS 7 gamepad support... Then see the text disappear suddenly. Makes you wonder... Why is Apple being strange about it... To just remove text.

  • VirtualBoyFreak

    Another freebie alert (or freemium transformation): Alien VS Predator has gone free. It seems today's update brings changes to gameplay mechanics. That's why I'm not sure if it's an offer or a permanent change to freemium.

  • cobbyco

    Odd. My update description still has the 'Apple gamepad support' mention at the bottom. Is it because they forgot to change the UK update description when Apple told them to?

  • http://tarasis.net/ Robert McGovern

    This is why I didn't bother paying for this when it came out. Was inevitable they'd release it for free not long after based on the previous games.

  • Debonair Jayce

    For as long as I've owned this game, I've never been able to play it. It's just never been able to launch. Has anyone with similar problems found a fix?

    • defunct32

      What's your iDevice and iOS? Try shutting down or reset (power button + home button ).

      • Debonair Jayce

        iPhone 5, iOS 7. There are a few games like this (Cartoon Wars: Blade, Zombiewood, and another one or two) that just never launch - and haven't on my iPhone 4, either. I've shut down, reset, freed up space, etc. Strange stuff. I'd take it to a genius bar if I had the time to.

      • defunct32

        Yours an iPhone 5? Mine's an iPod 5 but Asphalt 8 runs perfect except for crashing which rarely happens; just got to ensure no other apps running in the background... Or is Asphalt 8 not optimized for iOS 7? Impossible, though.

    • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

      If you're having issues with the game definitely let our support team know. Or message me on the forums so I can get more info (Gameloft_Ryan). Also, you're the best Jayce skin.

      • defunct32

        Do you work for Gameloft? Can you send words to your company that Eternal Legacy crashes at start-up sometimes, it's frustrating I paid $6 fir it.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        I do work for Gameloft, I'm the Community Manager in our San Francisco office. Message me on the forums with some more information and I can see what I can find out for you.

      • defunct32

        Thanks Ryan, which forums? TA or Gameloft? It's actually just the game locking up upon starting the app, when the Gameloft logo came on it'd get stuck 3 out of 5 times, on a bad day I have to restart my iPod because it crashes all the time, gameplay is fine no issues only when starting up.

        I have the latest iPod touch 5th Gen running iOS 6.1.3, I know Eternal Legacy is an old game but damn that game is SOOO good, just a stability fix would make all of us happy.

        Thanks again!

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        Hit me up on the TA ones. I'll ask around and see if I can find anything out for you.

      • defunct32

        Will do, thanks.

      • defunct32

        Oh! Send words make more RPGs like Eternal Legacy, I'd pay premium price, no lie!

      • Debonair Jayce

        Thanks a ton! I'll send you a message later.

        And I agree! 975 RP well spent.

      • http://www.gameloft.com/ Ryan

        Cool cool!

  • iosgaminggamer

    This game is horrible, takes forever to get money, and is way too hard

    • Jason

      Have you ever played a driving game before? I'm up to 750 stars with no IAP and very little grinding.

      • Taclys

        I can verify this. Same story with Asphalt 7.

    • bilboad

      I don't find this at all. I will say though that unlike some driving games, this game doesn't have any difficulty settings that you can change if you're not experienced with driving games, so I can imagine it seeming hard to some people.

  • PureRumble

    Aaaaaah yeah so regarding the asphalt 8 multiplayer experience, one word... cheaters. Two words... cheaters everywhere.

    And the latest update does NOT fix this. Played it just to check. Why do you think gameloft would put time and effort on such low prioritized tasks when they are busy monetizing the shit out of the game?

  • Arman James

    Remove wifi only restriction for multiplayer ffs!

  • Assassin

    Why isn't it free for Windows Phone 8?

  • http://hawlal3alm.com Abdelrahman Helmi

    Hope they didn't do that because of cracking game, They may have lost a lot of money, because if it that was the reason, They may make the next Asphalt 9 complicated to hack (which is good) and expensive (which is bad).