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Temple Run saw revenues leap 4x when they went free to play
Current iOS darling Temple Run started life as a paid app. It cost 99c and contained in-app-purchases.
According to an interview with Gamasutra, the app reached the top 50 in the paid app charts in August 2011, and developer Imangi turned it free in September with impressive results. Co-founder Natalia Luckyanovo said:
“The revenue immediately went up about 5x when we set the app free. Keeping it free was a no-brainer.”
The game has now reached 20 million downloads, with its highest daily download figure at 300,000.
There was very little marketing support, and Temple Run’s success was driven mainly by word of mouth. It seems to me that its success is about making a great game (hard) and focusing on retention (not easy, but at least a known process).
So my advice: make your game free and think very hard about how to keep people playing for a long time.