It is a sad day we see a premium game publisher drop out of the market. This happened on the console side of things when we saw Konami leave there. Now we are seeing it in the mobile world, somewhat, with Gameloft discontinuing premium titles. This is another publisher that, while not perfect, did do quite a bit of varied games that were quite a bit better than a lot of their competition. Sadly, the Gameloft of old is now gone, or soon will be. The replacement is a shell of its former self, not as bad as SNK Playmore but damn close.
According to the German Gameloft Twitter account, the company will no longer be producing premium titles. It is not specified what will happen with current premium titles that are in production. Surely those titles will release and as planned and the next batch will be the first to go completely freemium.
Gameloft was one of the mobile gaming publishers that was able to build a rather large fanbase even though they had titles priced higher than industry norm $0.99. Their change to focus on freemium titles is disheartening but it is not all that new. Gameloft have tested the waters over the years with freemium titles here and there mixed with premium releases.
The only thing I can think is that Gameloft has seen immense success with freemium titles. That is the only reason I can see the company shifting from the premium market altogether. It is sad because now we will see games that are supported for a little longer with new content but the actual game will be shifted towards forcing you to make small purchases.
Imagine if we saw a Resident Evil game on mobile and it was free (yay!). Money would be made from forcing you to buy individual health packs, ammunition and even weapons. Sure, these would, for the most part, be available in the game if you were to play to a certain point. The thing is, how many people would have dropped a buck to have the bazooka the moment the game started? A lot of people. Imagine how much it would have changed your impression of Resident Evil if you could have started with that weapon though. That is where mobile gaming is headed and it is not always a pretty sight.