Our game Dudeski was released on Android today after being released on iOS in March of 2014. It's an arcade skiing adventure that reviewed well and got a really nice article in the New Yorker. The biggest difference in the Android version is that instead of releasing it for $1.99 up front it's free with ads. Why are we releasing our game for free?
The numbers that are affecting the game's switch to free are the player analytics. The time period I find most interesting is from September 1st to December 1st, 2014. It was a period with no promotion and more than a month removed from the last free promo.
In that three month period we sold 36 copies of Dudeski.
However, the player analytics look very different. Here are the analytics for Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU).
The average session length for this time period was 145 seconds – over two and a half minutes. This lines up perfectly with my hope that people would play for a run or two in a play session.
So hundreds of people playing the game over a three month period where 36 total copies were sold.
Though we can't tell where these players came from, a lot of them probably got Dudeski from two 24 hour free periods. With some promotion from free-app-a-day sites Dudeski was downloaded for 82,500 times for free. Over the 10 months Dudeski was on sale it sold a total of 6,040 copies.
It's difficult enough trying to get traction as a paid app, let alone on the Google Play store, let alone as a port of a paid game coming out a year after its initial release. I would rather more people get to play the game and make a few cents than release a game that no one buys and plays.
Do I think we'll make money off of ads? No. But I think it's a business model that's worth experiencing. I couldn't really find any information on how much mobile banner ads might make. What does a small group of hundreds of monthly users translate to money-wise? $1? $100? What happens if that player-base grows? We're showing banner ads for very short periods of time in the game, so I'm not expecting real returns, but that's something we can experiment with as well.
So thanks for being patient with me. I hope all of you who couldn't play Dudeski this last year enjoy it! I look forward to sharing the results of this experiment with you.
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