PopCap’s sequel to the wildly popular gaming title Plants vs. Zombies has been delayed from its planned launch date of July 18 to extensively test the backend that’ll support progress sync across multiple devices. The testing phase will also be use to tweak the game’s free-to-play pricing model.
As a part of this testing phase, a soft launch of the game has been done in New Zealand and Australia. Polygon reports:
For the next few weeks, PopCap plans to test the foundations of Plants vs. Zombies 2, including its back end server capacity, cloud saving system and monetization structure.
So why were New Zealand and Australia selected as the region to test the game as opposed to U.S. or Europe? Here’s what PopCap’s senior producer Allen Murray said:
“We didn’t want to launch in a large region, but we wanted to work in a region that had similar economic behavior [as North America]. While the more players you have the better, our major reason for keeping the testing pool small was because we don’t know our backend stability yet.”
While a delay in the scheduled launch can be annoying for ardent fans of the game, it’s important that PopCap goes through the required load testing to ensure that gamers don’t face server issues after launch, like SimCity did. PopCap notes that developing a backend along with the game is as difficult as “developing two to three games at once.”
Plants vs. Zombies 2 follows Real Racing, another popular game, in going the freemium way. Though a lot of gamers prefer the conventional payment model, Murray says that all the content in the game can be unlocked with enough skill and time, but to gain quick access players can buy IAPs.
To install PvZ 2, you’ll simply have to create an account on the Australian or New Zealand App Store (can be easily done without a credit card), and then click this link for NZ or this one for AU. The game, sized at 43MB, is a universal binary, and will work on the iPhone and the iPad.