‘Subway Surfers’ emerges from the underground
The Danish production company Kiloo Games is behind one of the biggest indie app successes with 'Subway Surfers', a game in which users dodge capture and oncoming trains as they run down the tracks in some of the world's largest cities. The secret to the company's success? Updates, says Kiloo's co-owner, Simon Møller.
"We've updated our way to the top," Møller told Poketgamer, saying that the games's monthly updates serve as a way to keep users engaged.
Currently inching its way towards the top 20 in iTunes's free app charts, the game has advanced quickly despite being just nine months old.
Based in Aarhus with only around 50 employees, Kiloo Games is a small company challenging the industry giants. Large companies such as Zynga and Pocket Gems dominate the market, and whilst anyone can upload an app, according to the analytic company Distimo, only two percent of the top 250 publishers in the App Store are newcomers.
While the number of downloads is impressive, it is the retention rate of 'Subway Surfers' that has the competition feeling nervous, with 91 percent of users returning after one day and 60 percent returning after 30 days.
Kiloo’s business model also sets it apart from its competitors. When it comes to creating online games, the boundaries of creative ownership are not always clear, but Møller splits the profits 50/50 with any partners, a business decision Møller said is based on sharing everything equally with his brother during his childhood.
In this case, the other co-developer is another Danish studio, Sybo, and judging by recent reports of between 750,000 and one million downloads a day, a 50 percent stake will equal a healthy profit.
Kiloo declined to comment on this story, stating that it was not currently speaking to the Danish press.