World of Goo
developer 2D Boy has revealed first-month sales of 125,000 copies of the iPad version of the puzzle title, which is selling much faster than similar versions on WiiWare and Steam.
The pair revealed that, "in comparison [to the iPad version], World of Goo's best 31 day period on WiiWare was 68k copies (thanks to a mass mailing by Nintendo), and on Steam it was 97k copies (thanks to two promotions at discounted prices)."
"What makes this even more amazing is that this is a two year old game released on a platform that is less than a year old," the developers write in a detailed blog post
. "The iPad doesn't have the benefit of an install base built up over several years."
In planning the game's iPad release timing, developers Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel said they exploited a feature in the iTunes store that freezes the storefront during the Christmas week.
By releasing the game a week before that, on December 16, the game was featured as "iPad game of the Week" for twice as long.
Sales for the title started declining shortly after the new year, but revenues shot back up when the game's price was reduced from $10 to $5 in mid-January, the pair writes.
The game's improved performance at the lower price point gave the Gabler and Carmel a new perspective on the much-maligned phenomenon of "price erosion" in the mobile marketplace.
"The notion that 'App Store price erosion is bad for developers' could be a backwards way of looking at things," they write. "If a game earns 50% more revenue at a lower price point, it's a pure win situation as the developer makes more money AND more people get to enjoy the game. And if those two things are true, does it really matter what the sale price is?"
2D Boy's analysis of World of Goo
's sales also shows an asymptotic "long tail" effect among iTunes' top-grossing titles, where games ranked in the top 10 make significantly more daily revenue than those ranked just slightly lower.
Overall, the 2D Boy developers say they've come away from the game's iPad launch with an increased appreciation for the platform over other digital delivery options.
"In the short term, we still think that if an independent developer can get their game on a console it's a safer bet than playing the App Store lottery," they write. "But one might wonder whether, in the long run, it even matters who wins the PSN / WiiWare / XBLA race."