Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 23, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 23, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

 Jetpack Joyride  revenue jumped 4x with 'timed-to-free' DLC
Jetpack Joyride revenue jumped 4x with 'timed-to-free' DLC Exclusive
July 4, 2013 | By Mike Rose

July 4, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing, Exclusive

Jetpack Joyride's latest DLC, which asked people to pay for an item yet told them it was going to be free later in the week, has turned out to be "a big success" for developer Halfbrick.

Last week, an update to Jetpack Joyride added a vehicle called 'The Wave Rider' which costed $4.99 to download. However, that was deemed an 'Early Bird Offer', and users were told that they could instead wait for four days, and then receive the item for free thereafter.

While Halfbrick's Phil Larsen wasn't willing to divulge specific sale numbers for the experimental DLC, he told Gamasutra that the inclusion of the Wave Rider increased Jetpack Joyride revenue by over 4 times the usual amount last week.

The studio now plans to analyse exactly what happened during the sale period, see what the fans made of the move, and subsequently make plans for more of this sort of 'timed-to-free' DLC.

Larsen noted that when it comes to playing around with monetization strategies, Jetpack Joyride is a huge focus for his company right now, and we can expect to see more of this sort of thing in the immediate future. He also noted that Halfbrick's latest game, Fish out of Water on iOS, will soon see "a few new things happening."

Related Jobs

Nexon America, Inc.
Nexon America, Inc. — El Segundo, California, United States

Localization Coordinator
Petroglyph Games
Petroglyph Games — Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

DeNA Studios Canada
DeNA Studios Canada — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Analytical Game Designer
Xsolla — Sherman Oaks, California, United States

Senior Business Development Manager


Ben Lewis-Evans
profile image
This is an interesting idea to charge for an add on that then becomes free in just a few days later. It is somewhat like a delayed gratification experiment (do you wait to get what you want later for less cost? or pay more now to get it right away?). Given that we know that young people and children are quite bad at delaying gratification (see the famous, and quite cute, marshmallow test for example) I wonder what the age make up of their customers who went with the paid version of the DLC was?

I could also imagine that some of these people would be loyal fans who want to reward the company, so almost like making a donation. I know I sometimes buy DLC I don't need just because I want to reward the developers for making such a good core game.

Ben Sheftel
profile image
If they're saying that their revenue on this timed-to-free item was 4x the revenue of a similar paid item over the same timeframe, then the donation theory doesn't really work since any "contributor" would've been equally inclined to buy that other item.

I think that it must just be about delayed gratification. As a big cheapo I'd definitely just wait the 4 days.

Ben Lewis-Evans
profile image
I am not so sure. Framing something as pay now or wait and get it free later is different from just putting a pure paid item out.

Pay now or wait and get it free could be seen by people as "these guys are nice to be offering this for free, and I could wait, but I will reward them for being nice and because I like this game"

So it could be kinda of a reciprocity/liking effect. You are giving me this thing for free, which might actually make some people feel like rewarding that by paying for it if given the option.

I guess another factor could be publicity. I mean if this was well reported, maybe it just brought people back to the game who hadn't played for a bit leading to an increase in purchases.

Jonathan Jennings
profile image
I looked up the marshmallow test, definitely was a cute and accurate comparison lol!

Samuel Green
profile image
4x the level that Jetpack Joyride is monetizing at is probably not that high. Endless runners are notoriously low monetizers and JJ has been out for ages now, so my guess is that it's daily revenue is pretty low.

Would love to see some numbers because this is a cool initiative. 4x doesn't really tell us anything though.

Damir Slogar
profile image
Exactly, it is quite useless information. If they compared sales of this item to a similar type of item that had the same price point and was released few weeks earlier, it might tell us something. This way it sounds like cheap publicity stunt that such a great developer don't really need.

John Flush
profile image
You know, I wonder what would happen if they just added a donate button to the game? Honestly, that is what this is really like, pay the dev $5 for an item that is going to be free 4 days later? I would call that a donation... or a bunch of really stupid people. I would hope the people that bought it love the game so much they felt like throwing some money the dev's direction.

The only things I pay for on games like these are turning off the ads, which if the game is smart usually unlocks something at the same time. There are some games though I wish I could just choose how much I want to donate and write a note to the devs. Things I wish I could see more of or less of, and here is $10 for listening to me... maybe, but I've enjoyed what I played never-the-less. I would probably donate more if this was the case as a lot of my DLC aversion is the fact I don't want the industry to think I want to support said model - so I don't get DLC. If I could send a message that I don't support DLC and throw cash the developers way I would definitely do it.

Fire Emblem Awakening for example. It has DLC in it, but I don't want to support said model, so I don't buy it. But I would gladly throw another $10 Nintendo's way to let them know I love the game and the series. They could send me a DLC code back as good faith if they wanted to, but regardless my message would be a lot more clear - I support the game / genre / dev, not the model.

Jonathan Jennings
profile image
I wonder about this as well because you take int account things like the double fine kick starter and I was more interested in supporting and ensuring double fine could continue to produce great games then I was the titles they actually pitched. I think that for especially those companies that have really devoted fan bases a straight option to donate to them would be more profitable.

For someone like me who loves double fine and Bethesda games the ability to donate to whatever they have next would be awesome. Not all fans would love such an option but that's why it's a donation, its a choice to make sure that your favorite studios continue to have a means to support themselves no matter what they are working on.

Yaniv Nizan
profile image
I'm not sure how they implemented it but one way to do these kind of things is with a dynamic store-front. Here are simple instructions using SOOMLA: