Celebrate the holidays with huge App Store games sales

Dec 21, 2011
Games

Every year, as the Christmas holiday approaches, the iTunes App Store sees a whole lot of games sales. After a fast one pulled by Electronic Arts last year, just about every developer on the iOS platform has slashed the prices of their games ahead of Christmas. The reason for the sales (other than holiday cheer) […]

Every year, as the Christmas holiday approaches, the iTunes App Store sees a whole lot of games sales. After a fast one pulled by Electronic Arts last year, just about every developer on the iOS platform has slashed the prices of their games ahead of Christmas.

The reason for the sales (other than holiday cheer) is that at a certain point approaching Christmas and New Year’s in the U.S., Apple freezes the App Store. That means that for several days, the prices on the App Store are locked, as are its Top Charts. It’s those charts that are a really big deal to developers – when an app appears on the Top Paid charts, for example, they tend to do a whole lot of business. So dropping the price on an app to get it on the chart can earn developers a coveted spot for days once Apple freezes iTunes.

EA pulled this trick last year, dropping just about its entire game catalogue to free or $0.99. That allowed EA games to flood the top charts on iTunes with a bunch of its titles all through the holiday freeze. This caused lots of games to miss out on holiday sales while EA cleaned up.

The good news is that EA has dropped just about its entire app catalogue down to the buck range again this year. You can find tons of games, including EA’s much-lauded Dead Space, just by searching “Electronic Arts” in the App Store. But rather than let EA game the App Store again this year, lots of other developers are dropping the prices on their games, too.

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Gameloft, for one, has sliced the prices of tons of games, including N.O.V.A. 2 and UNO. Not all of its newest games are seeing discounts, but there are still some quality titles that can be found by searching “Gameloft.” Another big iOS game maker, Telltale Games, has cut prices for many of its point-and-click adventure titles including its Hector: Badge of Carnage titles and the five episodes of Back to the Future: The Game.

Even smaller studios are reducing the prices of their games. Jelly Defense maker iDreams has cut its catalogue, bringing 10 iPhone and iPad games down to just a buck. Crescent Moon Games, the studio behind role-playing title Aralon: Sword and Shadow and Gears, has also gotten in on the dollar bandwagon.

Over the next few days, it’s worth it to kick around the App Store or check our Price Cuts and look for more games on sale, because there are likely to be sales from publishers such as Capcom, Ubisoft, Disney Interactive and others in the works. Now is the perfect time to grab great games apps (or give them as gifts). You’ll see the best prices of the year over the last week, so make sure you’re paying attention.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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