Electronic Arts has introduced a novel way of distributing in-app content with its new game, Surviving High School (iTunes link), which casts the player in the role of a new high school student who needs to make smart choices to succeed socially and academically. For the initial $3 asking price, EA includes a single story called “Football Season” that gets players started; the novelty is in shorter individual new episodes that appear on a weekly basis with an evolving story line.
Episodes are distributed using a TV-like model with a “Now Airing” new episode that’s available each week for free and previous episodes available “on demand” for $1 each as in-app purchases. This system allows players who keep up with the title from the beginning to continue to play for free after the initial purchase, while allowing stragglers to catch up with the earlier story for a price. As with iTunes Store downloads of TV shows, EA’s episode bundles can also be purchased as seasons. Each episode provides multiple possible story lines based on your choices, which makes even single episodes re-playable. A free version is also available from the App Store, providing only a shortened introductory version of the “Football Season” story and no support for additional episodes.