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Opinion: Temple Run: Brave's success shows the delicate relationship between perceived quality, price and app distribution

New attractors

Opinion: Temple Run: Brave's success shows the delicate relationship between perceived quality, price and app distribution
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| Temple Run: Brave

As everyone knows, app success is now all about freemium.

Look down the top grossing chart and - with the exception of some paid versions of massive freemium hits (Scramble With Friends, Draw Something), and Minecraft (go figure?) - the deal is all about the scale of distribution - and that means free.

Of course not.

Demonstrating the next stage of the app ecosystem sits Temple Run: Brave.

A new evolution

One of the weirdest combinations of game, brand and business model, its chart position is obviously based on the more than 50 million free downloads of the original game, combined with the profile boost of being a tie-in of Pixar's latest film.

Still, what's most significant is Disney released the game at 99c.

Traditionally, such tie-ins have traded their typical brevity and rough corners as a user acquisition play, not for the game itself but for the media - film, TV series, vehicle - they're promoting.

Best of both worlds

In the case of Temple Run: Brave, however, the game's quality combined with the success of the original means the price acts both as a mark of confidence for players, and encouragement to use the in-app purchase system.

For, unlike the original Temple Run, Brave's virtual store is sophisticated and the 99c entry fee sees all gamers given enough virtual currency to get them started buying power ups.

Indeed, the most popular IAP bundle (according to AppAnnie is the $4.99 pack of coins.)

In this way, this hybrid model - 99c plus IAP - is cheap enough not to destroy distribution scale (as happens in the traditional 'paidmium' model practised by the likes of Epic, Gameloft etc), while encouraging people to purchase upfront and in terms of virtual currency.

It will be fascinating to see how game publishers and media companies use such subtle retailing methods in future.