Are paid apps striking back against the big freemium wave of 2011? Epic Games said that its iOS franchise Infinity Blade has earned more than $30 million dollars in one year. The first game in the series, Infinity Blade, has earned $23 million in lifetime and its sequel, Infinity Blade II has earned more than $5 million since its release on December 1, 2011.
While many developers are turning towards the free-to-play model, the recent success of paid titles like Infinity Blade ($6.99) and Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto III ($4.99) have proven that paid apps can still be lucrative — if they’re of high quality and have a loyal audience. And that’s despite the rule of thumb we’ve heard that a paid app will generally see one-tenth of the total downloads a free app will.
We’ve generally heard that a top grossing iOS game can earn around $2 and $3 million dollars a month. But as the size of the iOS market grows with iPad sales and a strong quarter with the new iPhone 4S, so does the potential for monetization. Keep in mind though, that Infinity Blade II is at the very highest end of the earnings spectrum.
By comparison a top grossing Android app now earns about $1 million a month, so while both platforms are seeing growth, there still seems to be a 5:1 earnings ratio between iOS and Android. These figures are roughly in line with the ones that mobile analytics company Flurry released in December showing that for every dollar a developer earns on iOS, they only earn 24 cents on Android.
The original Infinity Blade, developed by Epic-owned studio Chair Entertainment, was the first iOS game to use Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 — a high quality graphics engine that was originally designed to run on consoles like the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.
The success of Infinity Blade set a new bar for graphics in mobile games. It spawned an entire generation of games for touch devices that borrowed the series’ innovative touch and swipe controls. Infinity Blade II was just nominated for a Game Developer’s Choice Award for best Handheld or Mobile Game.