When Subway Surfers (Free) came out in 2012, I’m pretty sure the developers had no idea how long the game would remain popular and that it would actually reach one billion downloads across platforms a few years later. According to the press release, Subway Surfers is now the fourth most downloaded game of all time, not a bad record, I think. I was sitting at a coffee shop a few days ago, and three kids next to me – no more than ten years old – were playing Subway Surfers for about an hour, discussing the whole time how to get the most points and how not to die. The game managed to hit the sweet spot between challenge and entertainment and really made the endless runner recipe work smoothly.
It really goes to show how while many often complain about F2P games (and some times with valid reasons), no paid game could ever reach such download numbers. While not all who downloaded the game actually played it for any substantial amount of time, I’m pretty sure the game has a pretty good number of active players currently, otherwise the developers wouldn’t be updating it constantly. Casual games have a strong audience on mobile, and making them F2P helps them end up on many devices, even if that stay is brief. And as these games are relatively simple, the developers can add new content often, keeping the game fresh and drawing in more players. So, hard not to say congratulations Subway Surfers, quite the number of downloads you managed to get.