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BlackBerry and Badland 2 - what Frogmind did (and didn't) do next

How to follow up an unexpected smash
BlackBerry and Badland 2  - what Frogmind did (and didn't) do next

When Frogmind first launched Badlandon the App Store, an Editor's Choice spot was enough to propel the game to 100,000 downloads at $3.99 a pop.

"So, we were like, great, we now have enough revenue to carry on making games," detailed Frogmind co-founder Johannes Vuorinen during his talk at GDC 2014 in San Francisco.

"But then we were like, so what do we do now? We'd only planned to make Badland and nothing else."

Spikes and sequels

Eventually, Frogmind determined that, rather than making Badland 2, the studio's future strategy would revolve around monthly updates to the original version and a commitment to take the game to as many platforms as possible.

As Vuorinen quickly discovered, both updates and discounts brought in regular download spikes, keeping revenue ticking over.

"There are lots of apps that track discounts so you don't have to do anything just put the discount there and watch the spike come in," he added.

Perhaps predictably, the studio's decision to make Badland free for a week generated an even greater spike, with 7 million downloads in total rolling in.

"That gave us huge exposure and our email exploded with opportunities," Vuorinen said of free week.

"It was also great that those 7 million new users also enjoyed the game."

Big on BlackBerry?

Next up was a move to launch Badland on new platforms, with BlackBerry perhaps surprisingly the first platform to be treated to a port.

"That might surprise people," Vuorinen admitted, "but we had a very simple equation when it came to new platforms the amount of opportunity divided by the amount of work."

With a small range of devices on the market much like iOS BlackBerry seemed like a logical move, though Vuorinen revealed it has only delivered 7,000 downloads to date.

For the Android version, Frogmind had to convert Badland into a free release, embedding video ads into the game and locking an ad-free version behind a payment wall. To date, the Android version has amassed 6 million downloads and boasts an ARPU of $0.05.

Next up is a Chinese version, Vuorinen stated, with a Windows Phone launch also coming in 1-2 months.

"The main reason [behind a Windows Phone version] was that we want everyone to be able to play the game not just the Android guys and the iOS guys, and we had lots of requests from players and, helpfully, some support from Microsoft."