When the App Store celebrated its fifth birthday last week, Apple made a number of top iOS apps and games free. One of those was Infinity Blade II, and it was the first time the title had been given away since its release in November 2011.
So it’s hardly surprising it was a massive success. In just seven days, the sword-fighting action game had attracted 5.7 million new players, with 1.7 million of those getting the game on the first day the promotion went live.
That’s three times the number of downloads Infinity Blade II sees in a normal week, and it’s likely to provide the title with a big boost going forward. Although almost 6 million people just downloaded the title for free, there are plenty of in-game items that all those players can spend their cash on.
Laura Mustard, publicist for the game’s developer, Chair Entertainment, has since downplayed the importance of in-app purchases, however.
“While we normally notice an increase at times when we’ve done free promotions, we don’t think it’s significant, because the game is balanced in a way that does not require any IAP,” she wrote in an email to AllThingsD.
But as we know from dedicated “freemium” titles, even when in-app purchases aren’t required, they’re still very big business. Lots of players would prefer to spend a few dollars on in-game currency and other items than the several hours it would take to earn it for free by completing various tasks.
Mustard also revealed that the original Infinity Blade game saw a spike last week, with almost 2.5 times more downloads when compared to the week before. Even the game’s e-book, Infinity Blade: Awakening, which is priced at $2.99, saw sales increase by around 70%.
It’s easy to see why the freemium model is so popular with some developers, isn’t it?