The developers behind Punch Quest, the excellent iOS endless runner/beat-em-up crossover, have abandoned its free-to-play business model — from now on, the game will cost $0.99 on the App Store. Rocketcat Games' latest title garnered more than 600,000 downloads in its first week since release, but failed to make much money from its in-app purchases. Many players evidently felt that the core game offered so much for free that there was little incentive to spend anything, and Rocketcat's Kepa Auwae told The Verge that the studio risked "leaving mobile game development completely."
"'Punch Quest' is way too generous to be a single currency free game."
While the team updated Punch Quest earlier this month in an attempt to promote and boost the effectiveness of the IAPs, Auwae tells Touch Arcade that this "improved things for like a few days, and then it sank, hard." Rocketcat ultimately concluded that Punch Quest is simply "way too generous to be a single currency free game." The business model reversal contrasts with previous iOS successes like Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride, both of which launched for a dollar before switching to freemium.
However, Auwae is upbeat about Punch Quest's future potential, telling 1UP that even in hindsight launching for free has given the game invaluable exposure. "We get the 'you should have charged money' advice a lot, but the catch is that we'd have gotten way, way fewer downloads," he said. "It gets harder and harder to be noticed without an existing huge audience."