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Temple Run saw revenues leap 4x when they went free to play

By on January 25, 2012

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.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: