The creator of the long term Pinball FX A series of virtual pinball machines indicates that switching to a controversial new way to sell live content will help it adapt to cross-platform shopping later on. But longtime players will have to repurchase tables in the restart Pinball FX which they may have owned and played for years in other versions.
“We hope the lines are split between the early parties, and we can cross-buy, cross-platform,” Mel Kirk, COO of Zen Studios, told Polygon on Thursday. Pinball FX launched in early access on the Epic Games Store the same day.
“So now we’re removing store rights and having them in the Zen camp, where they have a player ID, we can say ‘Hey, player X bought HEY on the Epic Games Store, they also have Pinball FX on Xbox Series X, we can allow them to have [cross-buy]said Kirk. “It’s always been a goal for us, we haven’t been able to do it, but we’ll see in the future that we can do it.”
Getting there, however, has upset many fans who saw the news Wednesday that Pinball FX would switch to an in-game currency model and also offer an all-you-can-eat subscription to all of its tables for $14.99 per month. Absent from other platforms – and Zen Studios hasn’t officially stated where the new Pinball FX will launch, other than the Epic Games Store – Kirk understands that looks like a tough sell.
Pinball FX is a free download, like previous incarnations of the series, which offers access to two free tables, which change daily. However, the free tables do not offer all game modes and do not allow players to unlock all the collectibles offered in the game.
To do this, players must either purchase the table (or sign up for the $14.99 “Pinball Pass”). And to do so, they have to buy “Tickets”, the new in-game currency. Tickets are sold in lots ranging from 100 for $9.99 to 1,200 for $100. And, depending on whether the tables are old, new, licensed or original Zen, they will cost 40, 45, 55 or 60 tickets.
The answer inside the Pinball FX3 subreddit and in the comments under the new pricing announcement video was quick and almost universally negative. A player calculated that acquiring all the tables would cost $149.99, as he would need a $100 pack of 1,200 tickets plus a $49.99 pack of 575, leaving him with 90 tickets unused, with a technical value of approximately $10.
Other players have lamented that the smallest ticket bundle is 100 tickets, which effectively forces players to pay for two tables even if they only want to buy one.
Kirk acknowledged that having extra, unused virtual currency is “not optimal,” but “we have a way to fix that.” In Pinball FXDuring Zen’s early access period, Zen will finally implement “dynamic grouping, which will allow you to use smaller amounts of tickets to grab an extra table.” Kirk said that this particular feature has not yet been implemented because, as it is a data optimization solution, there is not enough data yet to create a dynamic grouping formula. Yet, “ideally, your balance could be reset.
“I know it doesn’t make much sense, why, to have extra tickets, but this tool is coming,” Kirk said.
As for the takeover of tables, Kirk understands why this prospect bothers some players. “We have a little heat right now,” he said, but “the same thing happened in 2010, the same thing happened in 2017,” when Zen launched Pinball FX2 and Pinball FX3. The difference is that, in these games, most of the tables purchased by players have migrated to the new game (if it was on the same hardware family). Those that didn’t were usually licensed tables whose contract terms had expired.
Still, “We’ve been working with the same model since 2010,” Kirk said, and the nature of a live service game 12 years later makes this unsustainable – primarily due to the timeliness (and expectations) of cross-platform purchases and progress. now supported in games as disparate as fortnite, MLB The Show 22Where Knockout City.
So Kirk knew that Zen Studios would have to rip the band-aid off at some point and make a change that meant repurchasing old tables on a new platform, which no one would want. This is also due to the development Pinball FX in Unreal 4. (Pinball FX on PC is also, for at least a year, an Epic Games Store exclusive.) Kirk also mentioned that Zen Studios has informed its community about the platform change – and what it will mean in terms of table buybacks. – one year ago.
“We had a huge decision to make because it meant we wouldn’t have the same packages in stores anymore,” Kirk said. “When we develop a new game with new packages, that means there are brand new packages, and they have no rights, and we can’t go back in time.”
And while Kirk said that Pinball FXThe early access period of would be used to change prices or offers – “If everyone hates Pinball Pass, they don’t find value in it, we’ll take it out of there” – he is confident in the support of zen pinballLong time fans and collectors.
“We have a ton of people who really like and enjoy what we do, who buy everything, and they’re not going to comment in a chat or on Reddit,” Kirk said. ” We are well. People are still playing our game 15 years later since 2007. I think we will continue to find our way.