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High-profile premium game falters in F2P-dominated mobile market

High-profile premium game falters in F2P-dominated mobile market

September 22, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

"At the moment, our expectation is about 1/3 the return of the original Spider for 5 times the man-hours."

- Tiger Style's David Kalina offers real talk about the studio's latest release.

The landscape of mobile game development has changed significantly in the six years since Tiger Style released Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, and now the studio has released a critically-acclaimed premium sequel that's struggling to find purchase in a mobile marketplace dominated by free-to-play games.

"[I knew] the biggest companies would come along and colonize the market, establishing the rules about how games make money and locking the rest of us out of the majority of the revenue," says Tiger Style co-founder Randy Smith in an interview with PocketGamer published today. "While I was participating in this interview, Clash of Clans probably made more money than I’ll make it my entire life."

Smith and fellow Tiger Style co-founder David Kalina go on to relate in some detail how Tiger Style wound up spending more time and money than it expected producing sequel Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, only to release it last month to unexpectedly dismal sales.

"This is pretty obviously bad for our company’s immediate future and is well under even our most conservative projections," Kalina said, after noting that Rite is on track to do about a third of the business of the original Spider. "It’s unlikely we’ll be able to make another game of this scope anytime soon."

To get a better understanding of what that means in terms of numbers and how the studio's various iOS releases have sold over time, check out Kalina's 2012 Gamasutra article about key trends in Tiger Style's iOS sales data. For more insight into how the studio spent two years developing Rite of the Shrouded Moon and where it goes from here, check out the full interview with PocketGamer.

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