Hipster Whale’s Crossy Road (Free) is a big hit around the TouchArcade offices, and it’s become a big hit pretty much everywhere else as well, hanging around the top charts ever since its initial release back in November. Besides being a quick, colorful and endless take on the Frogger formula, Crossy Road has also been praised for having such a fair free to play model. As we’ve seen plenty of times before though, the free to play model can be unkind to those developers who try to use it fairly, and I really hoped Crossy Road wouldn’t run into a situation like Punch Quest did a couple of years ago. According to an interview with Hipster Whale over on the Unity Blog, that’s not the case at all, and Crossy Road has actually turned into quite an impressive money maker.
As I’m sure you’re aware, Crossy Road is free to download and supported by ads and various IAP. The key to its fairness is that both monetization methods are completely unobtrusive to the player. The IAP is for buying additional characters, which are cosmetic only and give no advantage during gameplay. You can also unlock those same new characters using coins, which are earned during play or by watching a video ad. Finally, if you want to earn coins faster there’s a Piggy Bank IAP character which will allow you to do so.
The nice thing about the free to play model in Crossy Road is that it ensures all players are on a level playing field, whether they spend a lot of money buying all the characters or never spend a dime. The gameplay itself isn’t compromised by IAP. At the same time, it is fun collecting all the playable characters, so there’s incentive to immediately buy the ones you really want rather than hoping you get them through the random gumball machine system.
The ads are also very friendly, as after every run there’s an option to watch one for a coin reward but they’re never forced on the player. They’re entirely opt-in. In fact, Crossy Roads uses Unity Ads system, and per that interview on the Unity blog the game has generated over a million dollars just from ads alone, and just on the iOS side of things (Crossy Road is also available on Android). I’d love to know how much revenue the game has generated when you include Android and however much IAP has been sold to date.
For more details be sure to read the entire interview, and look for even more good stuff in Crossy Road in the near future. The game got a batch of new characters in early December, and Hipster Whale plans on celebrating Australia Day at the end of this month with another batch of Australia-themed characters.