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Sold! A World of Goo Success Story

by Joe Juba on Oct 28, 2009 at 07:41 AM


When given the option to pay several dollars or no dollars when purchasing a commercial product, you’d think that most people would choose “no dollars.” You’d be wrong, according to this blog post on the site of World of Goo developer 2Dboy.

A couple of weeks ago, 2Dboy announced it would allow gamers to purchase World of Goo for as much or as little (starting at one cent) as they wanted. The promotion – intended as a celebration of one-year anniversary of the game’s release – ran for 13 days and resulted in 83,250 sales of the game.

The graph below, taken from 2Dboy’s blog, illustrates the average price people were paying each day of the promotion. Traditional bargaining tactics usually have folks starting high and going lower, but these numbers show the opposite; the early days saw prices hovering around $2.00, while the final days were closer to $3.00. That could have something to do with the increasing amount of exposure the deal was getting from the gaming press…but we like to think it’s more because people have good hearts. After all, World of Goo is a fantastic title, and deserves all the support it can muster.

Selling for an average of $2.50 a copy may not seem like much (normal price is $20), but it’s better than nothing; when it was released, World of Goo suffered from a high piracy rate – one 2Dboy employee estimated it was as high as 90%. At least this way 2Dboy made some money off of people who might not have paid anything to download the game, as well as get the game into the hands of gamers who might have never played the game in the first place.

While a pick-your-price distribution method wouldn’t work for all games, it seems to be an interesting option for games fitting World of Goo’s particular circumstances. As indie developer Adam Saltsman (his website is right here) said in an interview last week, “Reliable method of game distribution?  Yes.  Reliable way of making money... not sure.”