If you’ve spent any time browsing the app store on iTunes, you’ve undoubtedly come across “Doodle Jump”, an extremely addicting yet simple and fun iPhone game that has remained in the Top 10 list of most popular apps for months now. Moreover, Doodle Jump sells for just $0.99 but has managed to make the two developers behind the game well over $1 million in revenue, and that’s after Apple takes its 30% cut.
Doodle Jump is the brainchild of Igor and Marko Pusenjak, two Croation brothers who released the app under the banner of their company Lima Sky. Peter Kafka of All Things D recently caught up with Pusenjak brothers to learn just how they managed to turn a simple accelerometer based game into one of the more popular and addicting iPhone games of all time. While we can’t verify the claim, Igor speculates that Doodle Jump is the most downloaded paid app of all time.
Going all the way back to the beginning, Igor Pusenjak says that they tried to bring Doodle Jump to the masses via old fashioned publicity. They contacted every iPhone and mobile gaming site they could find in an attempt to generate some buzz, and while they found mild success in the form of a mention on Gizmodo, that only provided a temporary spike in sales.
Next, the Pusenjak’s noticed that recently updated apps would appear at the top of Apple’s “Most Recent” chart, so the brothers began tweaking Doodle Jump incessantly until Apple finally caught on to these types of developer shananigans. But then came some unexpected help from Apple.
The Pusenjaks knew that the best way to get attention would be from Apple employees who decide what apps to feature at iTunes–unlike other retail outlets, big players like Electronic Arts can’t simply buy preferred placement in the store. The brothers didn’t know anyone at Apple, but a friend of a friend did, and gave them an email address. Igor sent a note introducing himself over the transom, and a couple of weeks later, Doodle Jump got a feature slot.
Despite over 2.5 million downloads to date, the Pusenjak brothers still work hard to keep users happy with a steady stream of app updates that introduce new and interesting characters and fun backgrounds. In early December, the brothers noticed that their game, while in the top 100 for games, had fallen out of the top 100 for all apps. So they subsequently released a winter theme (for free) that resulted in a sharp spike in sales, and since then, their app has remained one of the top 25 most downloaded apps on all of iTunes. More recently, they had an Easter themed update that puts “Doodle the Doodler” in an Easter Bunny outfit and gives him easter eggs to collect.
Interestingly, Igor notes that they notice a significant spike in sales everytime they release an update, a fact he attributes to a scenario where users are re-introduced to the game and then continue to spread the gospel to their friends.
With respect to other platforms, the Pusenjaks would ultimately like to port their app over to Android and perhaps other platforms in the future, but for the time being, they remain solely focused and dedicated on continuing to refine and improve the “Doodle Jump” experience on the iPhone platform. They have an iPad version of “Doodle Jump” in the works but aren’t quite sure if they’ll price it higher than $0.99. According to Igor, they won’t figure out a pricepoint until the moment they launch.
Also on the agenda, according to Igor, are plans to build “Doodle” the character as a brand. Igor notes that a lot of people have connected with the character and would like to see him show up in places aside from the iPhone. “We want to explore the opportunities to bring Doodle Jump as a character, as a game, to a wider audience,” Igor stated.
And just for the record, I’ve been a dedicated Doodle Jumper for months now. My highest score is 33,800. Can anyone out there top that?
You can check out the full video interview below.