updated 11:23 pm EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
App was given away during anniversary, downloads tripled
Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade II, a 3D hack-and-slash quest game for the iPad with bleeding-edge graphics, saw its downloads more than triple and added nearly six million new users to its base after it was temporarily made free as part of Apple's promotional celebration of the App Store's fifth anniversary. The company says it saw 1.7 million new downloads in just the first day of the promotion, during which Apple offered five games and five non-game apps for free, with prices normally set between $1 and $20. Infinity Blade II normally costs $7.
The rare statement of exact sales and download figures came from a Chair publicist during an interview with AllThingsD. It was also noted that downloads of the original Infinity Blade (which was not discounted from its usual $6 price) were also boosted by a ripple effect by a factor of 2.5. The excitement even spread to a $3 e-book novelization called Infinity Blade: Awakening, boosting sales by 70 percent.
It's not clear if Apple compensated the developers for the lost sales income, or if it arranged an agreement with the companies involved to participate in the sale. Ironically, a third title in the franchise, Infinity Blade: Dungeons was cancelled by Chair and Epic just recently, despite having been demonstrated at the debut of the third-generation iPad in 2012. Also noted in the story was the news that the franchise will continue despite the setback, and that the Infinity Blade series on iOS is Epic's most profitable ever by some measures, nearing or surpassing the Gears of War franchise for the Xbox 360, which is built on the same game engine.
The profitability of Infinity Blade II won't be hurt by the six million free downloads; like many games, it offers an array of in-app purchases (IAPs) that players can buy to supplement their abilities and make winning easier or faster. Other games discounted during the promotion, which ended this past weekend, included Badland, Where's My Water?, Tiny Wings HD and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.