Oxford-based Backbreaker Football
maker NaturalMotion Games has found great success selling direct-purchase games on iOS, tallying up over 8 million downloads across five titles so far. But that hasn't stopped the company from jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon with animal-raising sim My Horse
, the first of seven planned free-to-play mobile games from the company.
It's a surprising move for the company, which has reportedly seen returns of up to a five-fold return on its initial investment by selling games directly to consumers. But NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil told VentureBeat
that My Horse
beta testers have spent as much as $150 to $300 for decorations and items in the game, showing the potential for further profitability under the new model.
Developed by San Francisco's MunkyFun, My Horse
will let players groom, ride and compete with realistically rendered 3D horses using touchscreen controls.
NaturalMotion started in 2001 as a middleware maker, specializing in widely used animation and graphics tools such as Morpheme, Endorphin and Euphoria.
It spun off a game development studio last year
after the 99-cent iOS version of Backbreaker Football
performed much better than critically panned downloadable console versions.
Earlier this year, the NaturalMotion expanded its game development operations to a London location