The Walking Dead: Road to Survival has been downloaded more than 25 million times in the past year on mobile devices. That’s a big score for Scopely, the publisher of the game, and developer IUGO Mobile Entertainment.
In an exclusive interview with GamesBeat, Scopely CEO Walter Driver said that the game is now generating revenue at a $100 million annualized revenue run rate. It has been growing revenues for 12 consecutive months. And inside the game, players have defeated more than 6 billion waves of zombies. More than 1.8 billion player-versus-player battles have been played. Clearly, adding The Walking Dead brand to this game was the smart move. We’ll be talking about brands in games in our next webinar on September 29 in a conversation with Google.
“This game has an incredible trajectory,” Driver said. “There is a perception that gaming is a hit-driven business. The question is, how do you sustain long-term revenue streams. With The Walking Dead, we have seen a huge influx of users over time, and it has sustained itself for 12 months now.”
Over 30 percent of daily active users are paying customers, far above industry average. And the average revenue per daily active user in the U.S. regularly spikes above $5.
“It’s a highly engaged audience,” Driver said. “We created a game that feels really authentic to The Walking Dead universe. We tried to make it as authentic as possible and give people a chance to live inside this universe on a daily basis. That’s a lot more excitement for them than a show that airs once a week or a comic book that comes out once a month.”
Scopely is counting on the combination of the brand, the fun gameplay, and publishing tricks that can keep it going. The publishing tricks include a deep social experience where it matters whom you align yourself with among the post-apocalyptic survivors. There are also events such as tournaments that bring players back into the experience. When an update enabled fans to use Shiva the Tiger in combat against zombies, there was a huge spike in the audience.
That’s not bad for Scopely’s first midcore title (a game that has hardcore elements and can be played in short sessions).
“To have this hit No. 1 during the year and sustain its growth means a lot for us,” Driver said.
As for the popularity of the mobile game Pokémon Go in the past two months, Driver said it hasn’t affected The Walking Dead game.
“It’s not the same audience,” he said. “Our fans play when they have a gap in the day. The TV shows draw a rabid fan base. We see consistent numbers of downloads throughout the year. We think it’s a multiyear franchise that can be grown over a long period of time.”