After a failed attempt in every way that was the previous game, we thought that it could be worth changing the monetization. There was this thing called “free to play” going on, and we wanted to jump into that wagon and see what it could be worth. We analysed what could work in eastern countries, and came up with this casual, silly simple entertainment: The Claw! We decided to add some references to our local culture, few different scenarios (really, just a texture change), and a “magnetic” claw. And in-game purchases, of course.
The premise was simple enough to complete the first release of the game in a month and a half. We released it in mid 2011 and, to our surprise, it got a warm reception, even managed to get featured in a Japanese digital magazine, saying that it was “ok” -not even really good! With that, we got thousands of downloads per day, and it was the first and only game to return its cost. It attracted the interest of a local publisher and we agreed to transfer the game to them, to a total disaster. We got it back after few months and re released it, but it wasn’t the same and didn’t got even closer to the previous level.
Two years later, between projects, we revisited the game. It needed an update on every front. One of the main additions was adding a “point of view” camera that shows what is below the crane from its point, and revisited the controls. We added few royalty-free items, and changed the monetization to being ads-based. It worked again! The month and a half it took to update everything was covered by the revenues it gave back in that same year. And it continued to earn money through the following years.
Verdict: An unexpected success. It was kind of a joke to say that it was the most successful game, but looking at the numbers, it definitely was. It was a huge learning experience from something that definitely wasn’t in our minds when we started to create games. Thanks, claw!
Anecdote: the game change its name about 5-6 times, because previous names were reserved, or not adequate enough. We were trying to get to young audiences with this name, but the initial game was not good enough.