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Civilization 6 comes to iPad, full game to cost $60 (update)

Get it at half price for two weeks

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6, the latest entry in Firaxis Games’ long-running series of turn-based strategy games, is now available on iPad. This version appears to be a port of the full PC game — with a $60 price tag to match.

2K Games originally launched Civilization 6 on Mac and Windows PC in October 2016, and released a Linux version in February 2017. The iPad version represents the first time a mainline Civilization title has been available on mobile devices.

Customers can download the 3.14 GB game and play the first 60 turns for free. After that, they’ll have to pay for the full game. That unlock is on sale in the App Store for $29.99 during the game’s launch window, but the deal expires in two weeks, at 11:59 p.m. PT on Jan. 4, 2018 — after which the unlock will jump to its regular price of $59.99.

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 (iPad) - land and water Firaxis Games/Aspyr Media

The pricing is essentially unprecedented, even for a mobile port of a full PC/console game. For comparison’s sake, 2K charged $19.99 at launch for the iOS port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown back in 2013. We’ve asked Aspyr and 2K for further details, and will update this article with any information we receive.

For its iPad release, Civilization 6 has been “rebuilt with touch controls,” said Aspyr Media, the publisher of the iOS version, in a news release. The port does not support controllers. Here’s how the touch controls work, according to an FAQ on the company’s support site:

  • Tapping units selects them. Dragging a unit to a tile will move and attack.
  • Press and hold to view tooltips.
  • Pinch to zoom the map.
  • Single-finger scrolling works on lists and moving the map.
  • Three-finger tapping can be used to close menus.

Going by the bullet points in the Steam and iTunes App Store product listings for Civilization 6, which are almost identical, the iPad version sounds like a nearly feature-complete port of the original game. Aspyr’s FAQ points out one difference: The iPad version’s multiplayer modes work only on a local network “as of this point.” As for cross-platform play with the PC versions, Aspyr said it does not support that feature “at this time.” It’s unclear if the company had to make any compromises to get Civilization 6 to run on an iPad.

The iOS version of Civilization 6 requires at least iOS 11.1.2, and will only run on an iPad Air 2, a fifth-generation iPad (aka the 2017 model) or an iPad Pro. It is the base game only, without any downloadable content. Civilization 6’s first expansion, Rise and Fall, is set to be released Feb. 8, 2018, on Windows PC. Regarding add-on content, Aspyr said, “We hope to support DLC and expansions in the future but cannot confirm timing or availability at this time.”

For more on Civilization 6, read our review of the Mac/PC version. Check back on Polygon later for impressions of the iPad port.

Update: Asked about the $59.99 price for the iPad version of Civilization 6, an Aspyr representative told Polygon, “It is rare for a premium game experience from PC/Mac to launch on iPad, and it’s important to note this isn’t a trimmed-down mobile version of Civilization VI. This is Civilization VI.”

The spokesperson added that in porting Civilization 6 to iPad, Aspyr optimized the experience for the platform. New features include a battery life indicator; settings for map movement inertia and zoom sensitivity; options to have the game confirm actions like combat, movement and harvesting; and adviser messages that explain how the controls have changed from PC to iPad.

The Aspyr rep also confirmed that porting Civilization 6 to iPad necessitated some changes to account for the platform’s hardware limitations:

  • Strategic View has been removed.
  • Leaders use static images only.
  • Wonders will not show construction visual effects during the completion animation and have fewer visual stages of construction when being built.

But aside from those tweaks, and some interface adjustments for tablet screens and touch controls, it sounds like the iPad version of Civilization 6 should play like the PC version. We’ll have impressions soon.