With their first game for iOS officially released in January, Cocky Culture saw modest success with Pocket Ninjas for 99 cents. That all changed, however, when the small studio decided to give freemium a whirl, opting to change the game to include in-game currency while offering the title for free on version 1.2. That update, occurring on April 23, has resulted in over 500,000 downloads as of April 28, GamesIndustry International has learned.
Cocky Culture head Tony Dimovski says he was surprised when the downloading started accelerating significantly. He says that the first full day of offering the game for free resulted immediately in over 100K downloads, and has stayed around that number every day for the past week.
Dimovski, who has primarily worked on Blackberry, attributes much of the success to the incredible ratings he's getting, as well as a slight nod from the App Store in the 'What's Hot' section. "My wife and I literally checked every hour to see if its rank was going up almost as if it was a stock or something," said Dimovski. "As it climbed the charts I started getting email after email from various companies wanting to advertise with me, for me, and through me. It was the weirdest thing getting that kind of attention and response because I really thought the days of an independent, solo developer getting a hit at the App Store were gone with all the competition and marketing from major studios."
"What's made it even sweeter is that it really hasn't gotten any pub from the 'big-name' app blogs or from the App Store," he adds. "It just kept climbing on its own. When I look at this past week and realize that almost a half million people have downloaded a game I made, with the majority of reviews being so positive, it's such a gratifying, motivating, and mind-blowing experience."
The studio has already announced its intention to keep updating the game, mainly due to the continued success of the title. Cocky Culture hopes to launch more ninjas, more levels and more content within the next month.