Gaming case study: How Crossy Road made $10m in three months

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'Frogger' style game Crossy Road made $10m in just over three months since the mobile game launched in November 2014, including $3m from in-game video advertisements.This case study looks at the secret to the games runaway success.

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Case study summary

• Games developer aimed to imitate ‘Flappy Birds’ success by creating an addictive and cool app that appealed to the web communities love for things offbeat

• Strong game design mixed with updates for new quirky characters and bonuses improved share options to boost popularity

• At least $3m of Crossy Road’s revenues come from its in-game video ads- usually for other mobile games


The challenge

Developed in just six weeks by Hipster Whale, the aim for Crossy Road was not to make a lucrative game but a popular one, having been inspired by Flappy Bird's accessibility and viral success.

The revenues figure where revealed by co-founders Matt Hall and Andy Sum in a presentation at the GDC conference in San Francisco.

The game, available on iOS and Android, has been downloaded more than 50m times so far.

Andy Sum told attendees that three things saw it become successful - retention, virality and re-engagement - and that the game "wouldn't have been a hit without these three things working perfectly".

The solution

While the game performed well from launch thanks to App Store promotion, further updates to the game post-release - including new characters, improved share options and a new setting - helped player engagement and continued to make it sharable.

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Crossy Road took its inspiration from 1980s arcade game Frogger, providing players with a variety of characters to tap across roads and rivers – and ultimately, to splat against or under cars, trucks and trains.

Players earn currency from playing that can be spent on unlocking new characters, with no timers, lives or pay-gates forcing them to delay or pay to continue playing as much as they want.

The results

Crossy Road has made $10m in just over three months since the mobile game launched in November 2014, including $3m from in-game video advertisements.

“Obviously, $10m is fantastic. That’s way, way, way, way, way more than we thought we would get. But someone on the free-to-play business would look at those numbers and think we could make a lot more per user. But, if we changed it … if we followed some of those best practices … if we sold coins and had a ‘save-me’ button and it felt like the other games, would anyone have cared?”

At least $3m of Crossy Road’s revenues have come from its in-game video advertisements – usually for other mobile games – which players can choose to watch to earn more currency, it was revealed.

View a sample of the game and its quirky bonuses below:

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