Ustwo proclaims death of its premium model, launches 99c Whale Trail on Android as last hurrah

Studio praying for more than 45,000 sales

Ustwo proclaims death of its premium model, launches 99c Whale Trail on Android as last hurrah
For many developers, the launch of a game is a nervous experience. 

For UK-outfit ustwo, however, the peaks and troughs of Whale Trail seem more like a soap opera.

In a statement coupling the game's launch on Android Market, the studio's self-proclaimed CHIEF WONKA mills™ has expressed disappointment with the game's performance on iOS to date, with Whale Trail notching up 140,000 paid downloads.

For mills™ at least, such a tally represents the "final nail in the ustwo premium coffin".

Trail fail

"When we launched Whale Trail over two months ago on iOS, our intentions were for it to succeed and soar up the charts as an affordable premium game," he details.

"We had invested a lot of money making and marketing a game for the masses and it failed to reach the masses. Although we're still getting around 500-700 downloads a day on iOS, we quite rightly feel it's not enough for a game of such quality. So our conclusion is that we were wrong to go premium."

Despite such a declaration, however, mills™ is looking to be proved wrong. Whale Trail's launch on Android Market – coming in at 99c/69p, like the iOS version – is being pitched as a final 'litmus test' for the premium model.

It could prove to be ustwo's last paid experiment, and the studio is looking for downloads in the region of 45,000 in the first few months – significantly down on iOS's total, but representative of the different monetisation levels of the two platforms.

Last goodbye

"If we shift less than this, then we can safely say premium is no longer sustainable for ustwo and others like us in terms of investment," he added.

"We simply need to see ROI over a shorter time period. This is a chance to see if Android users accept or reject a game that has so far cost £250,000 across both platforms to create and market and continually update with new content."

He doesn't want to go freemium, however.

"I'm praying that I'm wrong and Whale Trail is a hit on Android. But, we've been here numerous times before. The likelihood is this will be the final ustwo nail in the premium games coffin. 

"We've invested premium bucks and want nothing less than a premium finish."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.