With mobile games proving big business, what exactly does it take to make it to some of the best game lists of the year? Ustwo, the developer behind indie smash hit Monument Valley, has provided a rare insight into the production costs, pricing strategies and sales breakdowns that helped the award winning puzzler become one of 2014’s success stories.
Monument Valley was launched by Ustwo Games in iOS in early April 2014. Going against the trend of ‘Freemium’ games that are free to play but require in-app purchases for more content, the platform puzzler was sold on the App Store at the premium one-off price of $3.99.
The firm announced an impressive $4.5 million profit in an infographic that breaks down the game’s success, showing that the premium price point has its place in the market.
The game was created by a small team of just eight developers and is the 158th top grossing game for iPhone in the US, according to mobile marketplace analyst App Annie.
For paid apps, it was placed 16th, earning around $17,500 per day. The top paid app, Minecraft Pocket Edition, earns $52,100 daily.
And, for a little bit of context compared to freemium, the top grossing app, which has held that position for quite some time, Clash of Clans, was bringing in $5.2 million per day as of February last year. It’s currently sitting around $1.6 million per day.
“For Monument Valley, a premium price made sense, because we were developing a traditional/premium product,” explained art direct Ken Wong. “Our value proposition is actually more similar to a film, rollercoaster ride or museum exhibit: pay once, see amazing things for two hours, then reflect on the experience.”
According to the infographic, Monument been officially downloaded 2,440,076 times (that doesn’t include piracy; only five percent of Android installs are paid, and 40 percent on iOS, Ustwo said), and installed on over 10,000,000 devices.
The expansion ‘Distant Shores’ was installed 575,608 times — a rate of around 24 percent of Monument Valley players — and it was Metacritic’s most reviewed mobile game of 2014.
View the full infographic below: