It looks like a lot of us enjoy torturing island natives during our spare time. Bolt Creative said today that its Pocket God game has sold more than two million copies on the iPhone.
The company contends that it is the first to create a paid app that has crossed the two-million sold mark. Other higher-priced apps have generated more revenue, but the 99 cent Pocket God app has had tremendous staying power since its launch in January 2009.
The game, which has a sick sense of humor, is the brainchild of Dave Castelnuovo and Allan Dye, a two-man team whose efforts have become a textbook case on how to launch a hit game on the iPhone. In the game, players can play with the natives on an island, as if you were a god. You can pick the little people and feed them to the sharks, hoist them on spears, burn them and otherwise inflict cruelties on them. My kid plays it and pretends that she’s doing these various things to mommy and daddy.
The clever thing about Pocket God is that the regular updates keep you coming back. Castelnuovo said the company has launched more than 30 updates since the launch of the game, effectively turning the game into an ongoing service rather than a one-time product.
Castelnuovo said that the game has benefited from a strong community of fans who keep the buzz going. Players have made thousands of YouTube videos inspired by Pocket God, and the company created collectible characters that users can buy.
Pocket God held the No. 1 spot for a whole month in March and has declined in rank ever since. But the game saw a resurgence during the holidays. At the peak, the game sold 53,000 copies in a day, and it sold more than 100,000 units per week during the 2009 holiday season. One of the things that has helped is good PR. Castelnuovo recently appeared on Bloomberg TV, has been interviewed by the New York Times and other outlets.
Castelnuovo has no plans to build a big company, though he sees big competitors such as Electronic Arts moving into the market. Rather, he is focused on running an independent studio where he can focus more on creative work than business. He has hired a consultant for business development to license the game to other platforms. The company is in the midst of wrapping up a lot of contracts on those licensing deals, and Bolt Creative is also working on a second game as well.
Be sure to check out our latest announcements on GamesBeat@GDC, our video game conference taking place March 10 in San Francisco.