Interview

GetJar launches free premium game initiative with Glu Mobile

Paid games to go free globally for two weeks

GetJar launches free premium game initiative with Glu Mobile
Demonstrating how flexible business models now are when it comes to distribution, app store GetJar has signed a deal with Glu Mobile to release some of its paid titles for free.

Labelled as a pilot scheme, the deal sees GetJar buying Glu Java games such as Stranded: Mysteries of Time, Race Driver GRID, Brain Genius and Build-a-Lot and offering them for free for mobile devices including Android and BlackBerry.

"We've bought content from Glu on a limited global licence for up to two weeks," explains GetJar's veep of marketing Patrick Mork, who previously worked at Glu.

"It extends the lifecycle of those games and extends the brands, as well as being a strategic move for GetJar to move into premium content, something that's important for us as we expand into the US and western Europe markets."

The next billion

Already hosting over three million daily and over a billion lifetime downloads, GetJar remains the second busiest app store in the world, following the Apple App Store.

Yet when it comes to premium apps, and especially games, its reach has been limited by its free for consumer business model; something this scheme - labelled GetJar Plus - is designed to overcome.

If successful GetJar plans to extend it to more publishers, both of games and general apps.

As Mork points out, it's a win-win for both sides.

"With the exception of iPhone, the penetration of mobile games has been the same for years," he argues.

"The era of persuading people to pay for games before they have a chance to play them is over. Downloads have to be free to convince people, but the advantage now is that you can engage with the mass market audience who might be interested in mobile games but aren't interested in paying for them."

The power of free

The growing popularity of in-app advertising and in-app purchase business models means that large numbers of free players - if active enough in your games for long enough - can be converted into meaningful revenue.

The initiative also works for GetJar as it monetises activity on its app store by offering publishers promotion and marketing schemes such as pay per install to encourage more downloads of their apps.

"The bottomline is the business model around mobile games is broken," Mork says. "A few people are making a lot of money, but most aren't.

"GetJar Plus works for publishers as they can sell us their back catalog to download for free, as well as distributing new freemium games on GetJar and making money with in-app purchases. It's the best of both worlds."
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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