Now having said that, it should be (and is) obvious to the player that while this is a freemium game and there actually is a base revenue stream built into it in order to benefit the publisher, Tapped Out stands above most of the other titles presently available in the freemium category specifically because of the intense level of support that has been allocated to it.
Mostly this information is presented here as an FYI, but also because it is nice to know when the different bits of content were added... Call it a geek-focus upon information for the sake of information if you like, but here is the update history of the game.
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Development in a Nutshell
If your interest in the content expansions does not extend to a detailed view and you just want an idea of what has been added since the game released, then was pulled off of the App Store, and then released again after it was fixed properly, here you go, from the beginning to now:
- Treehouse of Horror XXIII Event (1st major episode tie-in)
- Thanksgiving Event (1st Holiday Event)
- Penny-Wiseguys Promo (2nd major episode tie-in)
- The Day the Earth Stood Cool Promo (3rd major episode tie-in)
- Christmas Event (2nd Holiday Event)
- Valentine's Day Event (3rd Holiday Event)
- Gorgeous Grampa Promo (4th major episode tie-in)
- St. Patrick's Day Event (4th Holiday Event)
- Dark Knight Court Promo (5th major episode tie-in)
- What Animated Women Want Promo (6th major episode tie-in)
- Whacking Day Event (7th major episode tie-in)
- Whiskey Business Promo (8th major episode tie-in)
- Season 24 Finale (9th major episode tie-in)
- Squidport Expansion (1st major game expansion)
- 4th July 2013 Event (5th Holiday Event)
- Krustyland Expansion (2nd major game expansion)
There you go, from soup to nuts, from start to finish - everything you need to know without being told anything!
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Running Updates List
17 February 2012
Tapped Out Version 1.0.0 is Released: Tapped Out is added to the App Stores in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden.
21 February 2012
Tapped Out is added to the Canadian App Store.
29 February 2012
Tapped Out is added to the App Stores in Australia, Botswana, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom,
1 March 2012
Tapped Out is finally added to the App Store in the United States! The release of the game in the US, combined with additional publicity and wide coverage on fan and game sites leads to the Origin Game Servers taking a massive performance hit; the issues make the servers unusable. It is speculated that the cause of the problems may actually be the game itself, and the lack of resource capacity on the servers to handle the level of play they were experiencing but EA never explains what actually happened.
3 March 2012
Tapped Out is removed from all of the App Stores in order to prevent the massive number of requests from crashing the servers, though gamers who have the App are still able to play.
11 June 2012
The Origin Servers are taken offline for a 48 hour period in order to apply fixes to the game and servers in the hopes that it will correct the problems being experienced by players and the very serious performance impact on the servers. When service resumes two days later much of the problems associated with the servers is fixed but a large percentage of the player towns/saves are corrupted.
2 August 2012
Tapped Out Version 2.1.0 is Released.
16 August 2012
Tapped Out returns to the App Store in the USA.
29 August 2012
Tapped Out Version 2.2.0 is Released; Tapped Out returns to the App Store in the UK.
19 September 2012
Tapped Out Version 2.3.0 is Released; this revision makes strategic game changes to improve performance and fix the disconnection bug.
21 September 2012
The first major content update is released, adding new characters, buildings and game objects.
3 October 2012
The Official Halloween Update is released, and the official game revision number is advanced to Version 3.0.0. Additional characters, buildings and objects are added to the game.
5 November 2012
The fourth content update is released, adding a new level, two new buildings, and two new characters.
8 November 2012
The fifth content update is released, transforming all of the Halloween Event buildings to give out cash and XP instead of treats and zombies.
13 November 2012
The sixth content update adds Fat Tony as a character in the "Wise Guys" collection. Fat Tony's quests are part of an exclusive storyline for the premiere of "Penny-Wiseguys" on November 18, 2012 in the Simpsons TV Show.
30 November 2012
The seventh content update is added, focusing on the a tie-in to "The Day the Earth Stood Cool" and turning off Thanksgiving Event items.
5 December 2012
The eighth content update initiated the Let It Snow Event while disabling game play on 1st and 2nd generation iPod touches and iPhones. The update added a large number of characters and structures over time.
11 January 2013
The ninth content update is released, adding 2 characters and 2 buildings.
30 January 2013
The tenth content update is released, adding a Valentine's-themed mini-event. 1 new character and 5 new buildings are added to the game.
14 February 2013
The eleventh update is added, inserting 1 new character and 2 new buildings.
28 February 2013
The twelfth content update is released removing the ability to purchase the Valentine's Day update buildings and decorations and adding the "Golden Scratch-R" ticket purchase option.
7 March 2013
The thirteenth content update is released adding the St. Patrick's Day content. 2 characters and 2 buildings are added to the game.
14 March 2013
The fourteenth content update is released as a tie-in with "Dark Knight Court."
21 March 2013
The fifteenth content update is released, completing a lot of game changes and action modifiers, and added 2 characters and 2 buildings.
8 April 2013
The sixteenth content update is released as an episode tie-in with "What Animated Women Want". 1 building is added to the game.
10 April 2013
The seventeenth content update is released adding the Whacking Day event. 8 characters and 5 buildings are added to the game.
19 April 2013
The eighteenth content update is released, for more adjustments to game play and adding 4 characters and 3 buildings.
2 May 2013
The nineteenth content update is released, adding Respectable Moe.
10 May 2013
The twentieth content update is released, adding 1 new character and 3 new buildings.
16 May 2013
The twenty-first content update is released, adding new decorations for Season 24 and removing the Whacking Day Event.
31 May 2013
The twenty-second content update is released, adding 2 characters and 3 buildings.
12 June 2013
The twenty-third content update is released, adding the Squidport content and quests to the game.
28 June 2013
The twenty-fourth content update is released adding the July 4th content to the game.
17 July 2013
The twenty-fifth content update is released, adding Level 31, and Rainier Wolfcastle and his mansion.
24 July 2013
The twenty-sixth content update is released, adding Level 32, Sir Putt-A-Lot's and Rod and Todd Flanders.
30 July 2013
The twenty-seventh content update is released, adding Krustyland and its event contents.
10 August 2013
The twenty-eight content update is released, adding Level 33, and the characters of Eddie, Lou and Arnie Pye.
16 August 2013
The twenty-ninth content update is released, adding Level 34 and the characters Chalmers, Sherri & Terri.
12 September 2013
The thirtieth content update is released, adding Level 35 and the characters Patty and Selma, Disco Stu, and Jub-Jub.
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EA's Freemium Journey
To put this game in perspective for you, the approach that the development team took in conjunction with its publisher was to create what they hoped would be one of the biggest game titles of the year -- not simply the biggest mobile game title mind you, but a game that garnered a major share of the gamer eyeballs and hands across the board.
In an interview with CNET, Bernard Kim, Electronic Arts Senior Vice President of Social and Mobile Publishing said: "We want this to be one of the biggest titles this year. Hardcore Simpsons fans will get a lot out of it."
Kim's approach towards personal and mobile game development is a philosophy that is widely shared throughout management at EA, and is typified by what many games journalists have come to consider the official EA Party Line: "Do whatever it takes!"
Bearing in mind that nobody disputes the fact that Electronic Arts began with a position on freemium gaming that was not only resistant, but outright hostile towards the notion of giving anything away for free, in spite of the ample evidence indicating that when its subject was well-established IP such as The Simpsons or its highly profitable Sims franchise, there was demonstrably more potential profits in freemium games than there was in creating and releasing traditional games along the established EA model!
While EA initially resisted offering any freemium games for a long time, after examining the notable successes in the mobile games industry by its competition, when the company finally decided to try it for themselves they did it full-tilt, and with no half-measures.
Restricting that experiment to just their mobile games division, EA's move into serious freemium-centric territory quickly had their smaller development studios devising complete game ecosystems, and quickly supporting the effort with major promotion and advertising on a level that practically guaranteed success.
First with The Sims, and now with The Simpsons, EA has demonstrated that it fully groks the idea behind freemium gaming, and has managed to turn the science of gaining large audiences by making their games free into an art by which they not only perfected the monetizing of their games through virtual goods, but chose a carefully selected system of virtual goods that delivered extra dividends to the players, who far from resenting the need to pay real money inside of the game structure in order to excel appear to prefer that process!
The important hinge-pin for EA's approach to freemium game development is that rather than simply paying lip-service to the concept in order to milk the player for as much money as possible, EA ordered its development teams to create first-class games with the sort of quality in initial development and ongoing support that is equal to that of its premium pay-for-play titles, creating game play worlds in which the promise is fully delivered: gamers who do not want to pay can still fully enjoy the title with no penalties!
That is how the model is supposed to work, but an amazing number of other studios create games that show a subtle hostility towards the model while pretending to embrace it, whereas EA fully embraced it with little or no apparent regrets, showing the gaming world how to do it right.
"People who are more impatient can throw a little bit of money at it," Kim allows, explaining that the only right way to do it is to fully deliver on the promise of free. People like free, and when you give them free, Kim explains, they are happy to spend money.
As long as they perceive that they are receiving value for that money, that is. When a publisher creates a so-called "freemium" title that turns out to be anything but free, it provokes the sort of resentment that can easily kill a game series.
Using EA's approach to freemium game development makes that the most unlikely of outcomes, which is just where Kim wants the company to focus its efforts.
While it may not seem all that important, the history of the game is actually fairly well-involved for a free mobile title, and in some respects it is even something of a groundbreaking game in that the level of effort, quality control, and content expansion in Tapped Out easily mirrors the sort of activities that are more commonly associated with the more traditional paid-content games.