Free iPhone app Zombie Farm has a revenue run rate of “double digit millions,” all thanks to virtual goods, says Thomas Chung, general manager of its parent company The Playforge.Virtual goods is big business for iPhone apps now. Three of the top 10 grossing apps are free, making all of their money from virtual goods. (Zombie Farm is the number seven gross app in the App Store.)
To play Zombie Farm you don’t have to buy virtual goods.
The game looks a lot like a Zynga game. You grow and harvest crops on your farm. You can also harvest Zombies. Those Zombies can invade neighbouring farms. If you want to speed up your progress you can buy some virtual goods which range in price from $0.99 to $34.99.
Here’s some details on the game and in-app purchasing business from our talk with Chung:
- Zombie Farm has been downloaded 11 million times and it has multiple million monthly users.
- Less than 10% of its users are generating all of its sales. Less than 3% of users are big spenders. (Meaning they buy over $100 worth of goods.)
- Zombie Farm is about to launch on Android. The Playforge has been working on a way to incorporate ads into its game so it can generate revenue on Android. It will also probably try Google’s in-app payment system, though Chung seemed wary of Google’s Android payments.
- It’s not planning any move to Windows Phone 7 until Microsoft proves it’s a platform worth investing in.
- To avoid waiting for Apple to approve minor changes to the app, The Playforge is looking at pushing out updates to the app over the air. It would make Zombie Farm more of a web based game, allowing it to skip Apple’s approval process. (We’re not sure how Apple would feel about this, but Chung thinks as long as it’s not doing anything crazy it should be fine.)
- The Playforge only has 10 employees, and is preparing to launch its second game soon.
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