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Temple Run makes 5 times more revenue as free-to-play

Imangi Studios co-founder explains massive boost that came from making iOS app free

Imangi Studios co-founder Natalia Luckyanova has revealed that the fast paced iOS game Temple Run made five times as much revenue once it became a free app.

"The revenue immediately went up about 5x when we set the app free," Luckyanova told Gamasutra.

"Keeping it free was a no-brainer."

Temple Run is currently number one in the free app charts on iPhone, and allows players to buy upgrades for their character, who has to dash across a temple avoiding obstacles. The switch from a low price of 69p to free came after the game's sales began to slump.

"At this point, we had little to lose, so we decided to try going free, which is the option we had in our back pocket from the start," she explained.

"If nothing else, we figured we'd have more people playing the game. If the revenue is similar, it's always better to have more players."

The game peaked at 300,000 downloads in one day, and revenue and download numbers are still growing.

She also explained that marketing was minimal relying on cross promotion with peers' apps and organic growth. She warned that free may not be the ideal business model for everyone.

"Not sure how we'll launch games in the future, but for now, our instinct is to stick with free," she concluded. "It's an amazing feeling to have millions of people playing your game!"

Imangi Studios is based in Washington and was launched by Luckyanova and her husband Keith Shepherd in 2008.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.