Remember how it turned out that Temple Run had become the top game in the App Store? Well it turns out that the game’s major success was due to Imangi Studios dropping the game’s cost to the low, low price of absolutely nothing.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Imagni’s Natalia Luckyanova explained that —while the game’s 99 cent debut in August was the best launch for an Imangi title yet— the game was dropping down the charts pretty quickly. So, the studio decided to try a new tactic:
“At this point, we had little to lose, so we decided to go free, which is the option we had in our back pocket from the start,” Luckyanova said. “If nothing else, we figured we’d have more people playing the game. If the revenue is similar, it’s always better to have more players.”
As a result, the game went free-to-play about a month after its launch. “The revenue immediately went up about 5x when we set the app free. Keeping it free was a no-brainer.” After that, things went nuts: Temple Run has been downloaded over 20 million times, with a half million new players downloading the title every day.
You can read the entire interview over at Gamasutra, and you really should if you’re an iOS developer. Luckyanova has some great advice, including the point that free-to-play isn’t always the model that’s best to use: “I don’t think free-to-play necessarily works for everyone. The business model needs to fit the app … The market is very different from 2009, and developers would be doing themselves and their work a disservice to ignore all the new avenues they have to sell their apps.”