The most popular mobile app in Japan right now (the top free app on both iOS and Google Play) is a mobile port of the original Dragon Quest. Publisher Square Enix, long under fire for its relatively overpriced mobile games, has given nostalgic gaming fans a freebie by rolling out this smartphone version of the 80s 8-bit classic.
What’s interesting here is how the game was released, not as a standalone ‘Dragon Quest Classic’ app, but rather as a Dragon Quest Portal app, in which the original game is available as a ‘free’ in-app purchase. Other games in the series, like Dragon Quest II and Dragon Quest III will be subsequently made available from the portal as well, although I doubt they’ll be free as well . If that’s the case, it looks like this will be a clever way to get customers in the door, and then profit from them later.
The initial promotion was to make Dragon Quest available to the first 1 million people who downloaded it, after which it would be sold for 500 yen (or about $5). But apparently fan response has been very positive, with more than three million downloads to date, and the promotion has been extended until December 10.
A couple of days after that, of course, Dragon Quest VIII drops, at the hefty price of 2800 yen (or almost $28).
If they are, maybe not for long I suspect. ↩