When support runs out on Zombies, Run

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About a month ago I sent an e-mail to the Six to Start support team asking as a legacy user who backed the Kickstarter project if I was doomed to unlock seasons 1-3 slowly and go without the discount for further seasons. The reason for me suddenly sending in a support ticket is that I recently made the switch from an iPhone 3GS to an Android Nexus 5X. This post details a bit about the experience I had and what my thoughts are about it.

Some quick background: Zombies, Run is a location-based game that is meant to inspire running/jogging/walking through audio-based missions. It started off with a Kickstarter campaign which (eventually) promised the first 3 seasons to be available for all backers for free along with discounts on future unlocks. The requirement in having this “legacy user” access is to have backed the project before May 2015.

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According to the emails (last, last one 7 weeks ago now) I should be able to freely switch, though the links are long dead or point to the support page outlining what I can do if I already have it on my phone. I believe the information was a bit misleading now that I think about it. It only works out if you had both devices and took them down from their respective stores once the Kickstarter campaign ended. At that time I could only get it off the AppStore, which also at that time took on the form of an app labeled ‘ZR Advance’. Android had it’s own version on the Play Store. Now here comes the part which becomes a bit messy and I guess screwed any backer who was going to switch or update their phones in future. Since this access to the upcoming content was exclusively made for both store fronts it was necessary to have accessed both and to keep the app data. So if I suddenly had to reinstall iOS on my iPhone, for example, I would lose legacy status. Which is exactly what happened after I had problems starting my phone up. I did not have any iTunes backups either, since that was never really an easy task for a non-Mac user. So I backed my phone up by other means and simply reinstalled the apps I wanted on the phone. Actually I had to reinstall iOS on at least two different occasions. The first time still allowed me to re-download the ZR Advance app as it was still available on the AppStore. The second time did not let me reinstall though.

At first the initial response to this issue was that the stores had different policies and they simply could not fix this issue through any type of transfer of the ‘purchase’. They instead issued out a warning that one could lose legacy status if you removed the app after a certain date. I am sure you can find this cited somewhere if you search for it. It was probably off the Kickstarter updates. Anyways, this doesn’t feel right. They have a service called ZombieLink which syncs running data, so it shouldn’t be impossible to authenticate/verify legacy status for the 3,464 backers for the launch project. I would not have minded if they compromised somehow and gave the first season free in order to keep monetizing on the other two seasons. I am not sure if the discount on future purchases would conflict with store policies, but I think some kind of rebate would have been possible. The idea behind this is simply that I could start playing from the get-go for at least a season. I offered to help verify my legacy status by message from my Kickstarter profile if necessary, and any other details they may want to know. Though if there are no plans to verify legacy status in an automated way, it’s unlikely they will want to compromise in some way.

It left me a bit bitter because, apart from data loss which was minimal although still irksome, I only spent about 1.5 hours using the ZR Advance app, which according to the episodes/unlocks, is about 9% of the content for season 1 (or barely 1% if you take in seasons 2 and 3). At a cost comparable to 6 months of the subscription they are offering. There’s also ads and no options to do a one-time payment. Or a one-time payment to remove ads (which I would have considered even if it had the same price as a year of subscription).

Eventually there was less and less support for the iPhone 3GS, so I eventually cared less and less about my phone. This is partially Apple’s doing as well. Not very many applications were backwards compatible with older OS versions, and I could not update my OS any further due to lack of future support. Pretty much planned obsolescence at work. At some point there was a tiny bit of support where developers could upload compatible versions for older phones. But they were far and few between and a bit late coming in.

Nowadays I set a repeating alarm every 6 days to remind me to unlock a mission every week. I think I have lost motivation to pay to unlock the missions after getting my support ticket answered. I do not like the subscription model and I already paid 6 months worth out of which I only gleaned a few days worth. This also happens to be the first Kickstarter project I backed and doesn’t have me in a positive mood about how things went. And so it’s clear I know I helped kickstart it anyways and now it’s something that exists in this world, but what bothers me is what was promised to me. Like, where’s the Survivor Register now? I suppose it is in-game, though usually showing the kickstarter backer credits should be on a webpage somewhere, or in the credits of the app or something. It wasn’t linked to us that I recall or saw.

Anyways their latest email sendout, which coincidentally happened about a week after this support ticket, removed mention of legacy status support. I could of course be seeing some email magic where they remove such information if they see I have become active on their services. Either way, I got disappointed.

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