The Asus Effect

[UPDATE 25/07/12: It would appear that only a few days after this post, Rovio silently updated their Amazing Alex page to support the Asus tablets. My TF101 Transformer is now listed as a supported device. I downloaded the non-HD version last night and played through the tutorial levels without a hitch. I wonder if we’ll ever find out why these devices were excluded from the original launch.]

Rovio, creators of the immensely popular “Angry Birds” series of games, launched a new IP last week Amazing Alex on Google Playcalled, “Amazing Alex”. The idea is to create rube-goldberg type contraptions to achieve various goals.

All well and good, but when I went to download the new game on my tablet, I was told that my device wasn’t supported. Strange – the device is an Asus Transformer, model TF101, and it’s pretty powerful hardware. I decided to email Rovio asking if support for my device was coming. This is the reply :

“Hi Neil,

and thanks for contacting us!

Our games, and especially Amazing Alex is very demanding for devices, the graphics are complicated, and they use a lot of the device’s graphics memory. After testing the game on Transformer tablets, it, unfortunately, seems that all Transformer tablets do not meet Amazing Alex’s quality requirements and the game is not able to work properly. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused for you.

We hope you have an amazing summer!”

Wow. All Transformers? Even the Prime, with its Tegra 3 processor? The one that can produce graphics almost on a par with a PS3 or Xbox360… can’t play Amazing Alex?

Plants vs Zombies on Google Play

No, I suspect there’s another reason for this. Since there’s plenty of incredibly demanding 3D games that work fine on the Asus Transformer (some examples iGun Zombie, Dungeon DefendersDangerous and Samurai II). The main culprits for axing Transformer support seem to Gameloft and Electronic Arts.

I have no idea what’s causing (some) developers to shun the Asus Transformer range, but hopefully this doesn’t become a trend.