Making a few bucks on the App Store is pretty difficult in the best of times, and, logically, one would think that it is more difficult when a developer turns around and makes his free app. But, it turns out, that temple run the game, for free is a good way to quintuple your sales. Just ask Temple Run developer Imangi Studios. Temple Run’s has exploded in the App Store after being released free of cost.
In an interview with Gamesutra, Imangi co-founder Natalia Luckyanova States, “”At that point, it was getting around 50,000 downloads a day. This is definitely a huge number. We’ve made other apps of ours free before, and it’s difficult to get more than a couple thousand downloads a day. We were really happy with where we ended up. Also, the revenue immediately went up about 5x when we set the app free. Keeping it free was a no-brainer.” What is not mentioned in the article that Imangi a series of in-App purchases available to players who have from $ 0.99 to $ 19.99. Basically, players buy coins that they can buy power-ups from the in-game store. While the entry barrier for most potential players is gone, there’s a way to make money in place.
Making the game for free helped the game to number “top free app” entry in Apple’s App Store. The move from Imangi clearly illustrates the benefits of free apps, and offers users the ability to upgrade and purchase premium features directly from within the application.
“The game is extremely sticky: once people start playing it, they play for a while. That means that day to day, the number of daily users is growing. Not only that, but people really like talking about the game and competing for high scores. There were a lot of Temple Run mentions on Twitter right away. So we think it pretty much spread by word of mouth.”
“In general, for our other games, if things are pretty quiet and we get a review from a big site like TouchArcade or TUAW, it definitely makes an impact on sales, although it’s generally temporary.”
Would the Imangi dev recommend the free-to-play model to other developers then? “I don’t think free to play necessarily works for everyone,” she admitted. “The business model needs to fit the app.”Google+