Monument Valley 2 creators Ustwo Games today posted a new story on Medium (via The Verge) that highlights the first-year numbers and growth of the popular mobile sequel. Although there are numerous points of data to look at, one notable standout is that Monument Valley 2 earned $10.4 million in the one year period that began on June 5, 2017 (the game's launch day) through June 4, 2018.
In comparison, the original game's first-year revenue locked in at $5.8 million back in 2015, meaning that the sequel proved to be far more popular than the first Monument Valley and nearly doubled first-year revenue for Ustwo Games in the process. One major factor in the success of Monument Valley 2 was its surprise unveiling onstage at WWDC 2017, and its immediate availability later that day in the iOS App Store.
Once word got out about the game's launch, it achieved its highest one-day revenue of $728,000 on June 6, 2017 -- the day after Apple's WWDC keynote. Continuing comparisons, in its first year the original game's highest one-day revenue hit $145,530 on April 3, 2014, the day of its launch.
China was a huge factor in Monument Valley 2's success this past year, with the game offered as an initially free download on Android in the country. China accounted for 91.4 percent of the game's unique installs, compared to 2.7 percent in the United States. China also made up for 62.3 percent of purchases for the game in its first year, followed by the U.S. at 16.3 percent, the United Kingdom at 2.7 percent, Germany at 1.9 percent, Japan at 1.8 percent, Canada at 1.5 percent, and France at 1.3 percent.
Ustwo Game's new infographic also has a few "fun facts," including that 53 percent of players who began Monument Valley 2 finished it, and that the player base took over 2.2 million screenshots while playing the sequel. In total, the developers had to keep work on their follow-up game a secret for 490 days before it was ultimately revealed at WWDC 2017. Over its entire development cycle, it took 16 core team members 70 weeks to finish the game at a development cost of $2.3 million.
Speaking to The Verge, Ustwo Games studio head Dan Gray talked about the company's resistance to going the freemium route with its games and the opinion by some in the industry that premium mobile games have died. "I think it has kind of plateaued," he explained. "It definitely hasn't died, which is what everyone said every year for the past six years."
In the Medium post, Gray explained that the company likes to share its data to help out other developers, who can "get a handle on what they might expect from a successful premium launch," and further the resistance to games that focus on in-app purchase payment structures. Monument Valley has become such a success in this field that other teams reportedly use "an MV" as a unit of measurement when forecasting success of their own games to investors, saying their game could launch with "X percent of an MV."
“It’s harder and harder to make successful, premium, paid mobile games,” says Gray. “So I would rather help people out.” He says that the community of premium mobile game developers is very communicative, sharing details like release dates ahead of time to avoid clashing with each other. “It’s kind of like this secret society of people trying to help each other out,” he says.
Monument Valley 2 launched with a price tag of $4.99 on the iOS App Store, and has seen a discount to $1.99 a few times over the last year. Thanks to the one-time purchase, players get access to the entire game, which spans 14 chapters of puzzles of increasing difficulty. Although he didn't specify what Ustwo is working on next, Gray said that he wants to use Monument Valley 2's success "to do some really risky projects that no one is taking risks on."
Top Rated Comments
I find it a lot harder these days to ‘unlock’ a freemium, ad-based game through in-app purchases. The freemium model diminishes the value of the game to me and I am much less likely to spend any money at all on it. In fact, I rather delete such games immediately, because I do not tolerate ads anymore. I used to love the Cut the Rope games, for instance, which used to have an up-front-purchase model, but are now completely freemium. The fact that they are trying to get me to buy consumables and unlock the game via a ‘starter pack’, made me lose interest in the series completely.