Riptide’s Gravity Sling was one of the first free iPhone games to include in-app purchase content, which has allowed them to gauge the many pros and cons that come with the new system well before other iPhone developers, and although they still believe in the system, as they have clearly indicated, they wanted to take the game in a different direction by making it available to the non-in-app purchase consuming masses. Gravity Sling Deluxe is a result of that decision.
Gravity Sling Deluxe plays just like its in-app purchase sibling, with all of the inertia-based astronaut slinging action fully intact, but instead of asking you to purchase additional levels separately, they are all unlocked for a one-time fee. Gravity Sling Deluxe features all 109 levels included in v1.1 of the in-app purchase version of the game, global leader boards and achievements via OpenFeint, moving planets, and star pickups all for $.99 for the first 5,000 players who purchase the game. The next 5,000 players will be able to pick it up for $1.99, and all other players will have to pay the normal non-sale price of $2.99. The Deluxe version will also receive free updates, so it just keeps on giving.
Gravity Sling has been relatively successful thus far as a free game with in-app purchase content. It has been downloaded over 100,000 times and players have logged almost nine years of playing time during its short period of availability, so there is no doubt there is room for free games that feature paid content. The biggest issue with the in-app purchase system probably hasn’t been a lack of interest, it’s that the system only supports iPhone OS 3.0 or later, leaving out the many 2.2.1 users out there. Also, many review sites refuse to review free games with in-app purchase content.
Riptide will be revisiting the in-app purchase statistics in due time to see just how well it performs in the long run, while hopefully also comparing those statistics to statistics from the Deluxe version.