Last week at Macworld I had the chance to chat with Josh Michaels from Jetson Creative to discuss the latest update for their testicular impact simulator Ow My Balls! [Free]. If you aren’t familiar with Ow My Balls!, you play as Joe the Juggler who is minding his own business juggling balls on the roof of a building until someone comes along and mercilessly boots him off. Using a meter you set the power of the initial boot and once airborne tilt the device to change the angle of Joe as you utilize the power of flatulence to move about the environment. The goal is to rack your family jewels on as many objects as possible that are spread throughout the level before finally collapsing in a heap of pain on the ground and collecting a score for your efforts.
The lowbrow humor won’t be for everyone, but the game is fun, and Ow My Balls! has led an interesting journey in its time on the App Store. Originally released in April of 2009 amidst a sea of fart and joke apps that were the App Store trend at the time, Ow My Balls! failed to garner much attention. Most people at that point had been burned at least once before by downloading some ridiculous app only to realize that it offered a terrible experience, and a game called Ow My Balls! doesn't exactly evoke confidence in this type of customer. The funny thing is, the gameplay in Ow My Balls! is actually really solid. It’s balanced really well in regards to item and hazard placement, and reaching high scores is a valiant test of skill.
So despite this, Ow My Balls! languished in the App Store for more than a year before Jetson Creative decided to throw in the towel, so to speak, and dropped the price of the game to free. Then, through the power of magic (and probably word of mouth), Ow My Balls! began to spread like wildfire and was being downloaded left and right across the globe. It did over a million downloads in a week, and 230k in a single day at its peak. This phenomenon caught Josh and company completely by surprise, and as excited as they were to see hundreds of thousands of new players playing their game they were also frustrated that they had not built in any kind of way to monetize all of this new exposure. Despite being downloaded more than a million times, Ow My Balls! hasn’t really made any money in its nearly two years on the App Store.
Which brings us to today, where version 2.0 of Ow My Balls! has gone live and the game has once again dropped to free. What’s new in this version are graphics that have been redrawn in high resolution for the Retina Display as well as 6 brand new characters to play as in addition to Joe the Juggler. One character, Lil’ Baller (who may or may not be based on a certain mainstream rapper who has a tendency to interrupt award acceptance speeches) is included in the game for free, while the other 5 are available as a 99¢ in-app purchase. The redone graphics look fantastic on Retina Display devices, and the new characters add a lot of additional humor to the game.
Check out the latest trailer for Ow My Balls!,which shows all of the new characters, or peep this additional hands-on video that I shot at Macworld that shows a few of them in action (including Lil’ Baller’s epic auto-tuned voice samples):
Jetson Creative is being realistic about Ow My Balls!’ latest stint as a freebie. They don’t expect the meteoric rise in popularity that struck previously, but they do hope people will be more apt to check out the new 2.0 features since it’s currently free to do so. The way Josh puts it, there are 3 kinds of Ow My Balls! players: those who try the game, are appalled, and delete it within 10 seconds; those that think it’s funny and play a few times to show their friends, but ultimately never come back to it; and finally the small subset of hardcore players that are competing for high scores. If enough people from groups 2 and 3 like the game enough to buy the IAP character pack, then Jetson Creative has a chance to at least make some money off the game being free.
The plan is to gauge the popularity of version 2.0, and if there’s a demand for it create an iPad native version of Ow My Balls! Then if Jetson Creative can hit a certain profit goal, work can begin on an Ow My Balls! sequel, which Josh has many insanely amazing ideas for but I wouldn’t dare divulge them here. So definitely give Ow My Balls! a spin if you haven’t yet as it costs you nothing to do so. And if you already own the game make sure to update it and check out the latest additions in version 2.0, and we’ll hopefully be hearing more from Ow My Balls! and Jetson Creative in the near future.
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