Search Unity

UPDATE: Now at $3 million

At our GDC event, we were proud to announce that the iOS version of Crossy Road has earned over $3 million with Unity Ads since launch. In February, four out of ten top iOS games monetized with Unity Ads and 1500 new games started earning money!

Crossy Road is fun, adorable, addictive and full of cultural references. It also earns money. Hipster Whale already grossed over a million dollars from using Unity Ads in the iOS version of the game alone. Why did they decide to go with free to play? Why did the chicken cross the road?

Andy Sum and Matt Hall met in October 2013 during a monetization talk at a conference and after doodling a whale on their notes, started talking game ideas. Inspired by Froggy and Flappy Bird, as well as Disco Zoo and Fez, Crossy Road was a twelve-week project. The Australian duo collaborated remotely the whole time. The game released on the App Store November 20.

Matt has developed three other App Store number one games. For Andy, Matt’s junior by 15 years, Crossy Road is his first commercial mobile release. So Matt got the responsibility for the mobile-specific details, while Andy experimented with the design in the Unity editor. “I did a lot of fine tuning on the difficulty to keep the curve satisfying. I always tested it on Matt first,” he says.

Monetization was an integral part of the design. “We wanted it to be free, so that everyone has a chance to play,” says Matt. At the same time, he wanted to shoot for a big financial hit that would allow the developers total creative freedom on their future projects.

“I played Disco Zoo and thought that video ads were a really good way to earn money without getting into people’s faces. We just needed to figure out a fun reason for players to watch them”. In the game, watching ads earns coins. Players can use coins to buy new characters that hop across the endless dangerous road in new and often hilarious ways. But it’s also possible to simply buy them with real money or just collect coins in the game.

“We didn’t want any consumable purchases, we wanted to do something that everybody could pay a little bit for if they wanted to, but where it wasn’t necessary to keep paying,” says Andy. This makes the game really transparent, which is especially important to parents of small children.

Hipster Whale heard good things about Unity Ads and since they were already familiar with the Unity engine, it was a pretty easy decision. “It worked straight away. Plugins can make your game unstable sometimes, but we didn’t have any problems with this one,” says Matt. “It’s great that the ads are only fifteen seconds and exclusively for other games”.

Playing the game, it’s striking how the visual UI makes the whole “watch ads to earn coins, but you can simply skip this if you don’t care” message extremely clear. Another detail that makes Crossy Road so kid-friendly, but also helps with localization.

It’s fun to die in the game. A chicken, a black sheep, PewDiePie’s dog or a hipster whale get smashed by trains, run over by trucks and drowned in water, just like in classic cartoons (think Wile E. Coyote). Players can take screenshots and videos, then share them with their friends. “Let’s Play videos inspired us to try out Everyplay,” says Matt. “Over 200,000 people have shared their replays, that definitely helps”.

H65A8921(colour)

Crossy Road recently launched on Android. The monetization model is the same, but you can also play as the Android robot and score on Google leader boards. At the end of January, Hipster Whale will celebrate Australia day by adding Aussie animals (yes, that includes a platypus) and environments.

What’s next? “When you get into ‘development hell’ during a project, you get a lot of ideas for games you could be making in the future. Now both me and Andy can work on our own projects without worrying and stressing about making money,” says Matt. “At the same time, we would be crazy not to keep building on Crossy Road.”

What’s their advice for up and coming indies?

“Don’t believe that success in the market is random. You can definitely make it work! Just start thinking about it very early on. The Casual Connect conference is a good place to learn from games that make money.  Don’t copy them, but try to understand why they’re working.” says Matt.

Andy adds that practice makes perfect: “Just make games! We’ve been both developing since we were kids. I also got a lot of the skills I needed through game jams. Even when developing Crossy Road, I took part in the 7DFPS.”

Getting started with Unity Ads is very simple – just import the free Unity Ads plugin from the Asset Store and you’re good to go!

16 replies on “Crossy Road and Unity Ads”

[…] from Australia — Andy Sum, Matt Hall, and Ben Weatherall of Hipster Whale — just 12 weeks to build Crossy Road. They used the Unity game engine and integrated Unity Ads to monetize the free-to-play game with […]

[…] machine at 100 coins per spin. The reasons why the game is set up like this is set out in an interesting interview with the Matt Hall and Andy Sum, who made the […]

[…] Los anuncios de vídeo que aparecen en la App están hechos con el entorno de desarrollo Unity, y ellos han aprovechado este caso de buen praxis para alabar su plataforma publicitaria en su blog. […]

[…] isso foi o suficiente pra que o jogo não pernoitasse aqui em casa, foi o suficiente pra que a empresa ganhasse mais de um milhão de doletas com esses anúncios em pouquíssimo […]

[…] isso foi o suficiente pra que o jogo não pernoitasse aqui em casa, foi o suficiente pra que a empresa ganhasse mais de um milhão de doletas com esses anúncios em pouquíssimo […]

[…] How Crossy Road made 1 million dollars with Unity Video Ads […]

[…] Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale chose to monetize their game by publishing ads (amongst other things). With Unity Ads, they were able to generate over $1 Million in revenue in just a few weeks. […]

[…] figure was revealed by games technology company Unity, which provides the video ads, in an interview posted on its official blog with Hipster Whale’s Australian co-founders Andy Sum and Matt […]

This tells you that collaborating with the right person is the key to success. Just like other big companies like Kiloo and sybro with Subway Surfers. WeRok Games is another upcoming studio that is coming up the ladder and they have recently just launched their first game “Go Pete Go” . It’s another endless runner type game but with a whole new concept. Very interesting to see who makes the next hit game on the market.

I have the Android version but don’t see any ads. I got the free gift. Is it just me, or do I have to play for longer?

I only played for 5 minutes.

[…] Crossy Road developers Hipster Whale chose to monetize their game by publishing ads (amongst other things). With Unity Ads, they were able to generate over $1 Million in revenue in just a few weeks. […]

[…] a post on the Unity Blog, the studio revealed that it has grossed over $1 million from Unity Ads alone on […]

[…] According to Hipster Whale, the video ads in Crossy Road has earned the developer more than $1 million. […]

[…] Crossy Roads und Werbung: Ein hochanständiges Spiel wenn es um Werbung und “In-App-Purchases” geht ist Crossy Roads. Die Entwickler stellten Spielspass definitiv vor den eigenen Profit. Und wurden doch erfolgreich genug um komfortabel davon leben zu können. […]

[…] Crossy Road and Unity Ads — Kristyna Paskova at Unity […]

[…] Road, acertou em cheio ao optar por anúncios em vídeo como forma de monetização. A empresa publicou em seu blog revelando que já arrecadou mais de US$ 1 milhão de dólares apenas com unidades de anúncio no […]

[…] nimmt mit seinem fairen ‚Free-To-Play‘-Ansatz vergleichsweise wenig über Werbung ein. „Über eine Million US-Dollar“ sollen es von Unity Ads bei 7.1 Millionen Downloads sein. Zum Vergleich: Monument Valley […]

[…] makes use of the freemium model, increasingly common in iOS games. The app is free to download but has grossed over $1 million in ads. The developers wanted to find a way to implement their ads without ruining the user […]

[…] Crossy Road implements a freemium model and it has grossed over a million dollars with ads. The developers used video ads in an effective way: […]

[…] it to be free, so that everyone has a chance to play,” said Crossy Road developer, Matt Hall, in an interview with Unity. “I played Disco Zoo and thought that video ads were a really good way to earn money without […]

[…] to be free, so that everyone has a chance to play,” said Crossy Road developer, Matt Hall, in an interview with Unity. “I played Disco Zoo and thought that video ads were a really good way to earn money without […]

[…] situation like Punch Quest did a couple of years ago. According to an interview with Hipster Whale over on the Unity Blog, that’s not the case at all, and Crossy Road has actually turned into quite an impressive […]

[…] to the world. January 26th is Australia Day, and to commemorate their nation’s birthday, Hipster Whale have revealed that they’ll be adding Australian animals and environments to Crossy […]

[…] The game has been lauded for having a very fair free-to-play model and an unobtrusive ad system. For more information, you can read the full interview at Unity’s blog post here. […]

[…] situation like Punch Quest did a couple of years ago. According to an interview with Hipster Whale over on the Unity Blog, that’s not the case at all, and Crossy Road has actually turned into quite an impressive […]

[…] grossed over $1 million in ads from the iOS version alone. That’s according to a post on the Unity blog, touting the company’s Unity Ads […]

[…] conseguiu trazer à desenvolvedora Hipster Whale mais de US$ 1 milhão em publicidade através do sistema Unity Ads — isso somente em sua versão para o iOS. O valor não leva em consideração as […]

[…] trazer à desenvolvedora Hipster Whale mais de US$ 1 milhão em publicidade através do sistema Unity Ads — isso somente em sua versão para o iOS. O valor não leva em consideração as […]

[…] The rest of the interview can be found here. […]

[…] to an interview with Unity, the popular Android and iOS game has earned over a million dollars through in-app purchases and […]

[…] únicamente a través de la publicidad de su versión para iOS, tal y como se ha publicado en el blog de Unity. Este videojuego, desarrollado por el estudio Hipster Whale, se trata de una versión del clásico […]

[…] to the world. January 26th is Australia Day, and to commemorate their nation’s birthday, Hipster Whale have revealed that they’ll be adding Australian animals and environments to Crossy […]

[…] figure was revealed by games technology company Unity, which provides the video ads, in an interview posted on its official blog with Hipster Whale’s Australian co-founders Andy Sum and Matt […]

[…] news comes from Unity itself, who recently interviewed the game’s creators, Andy Sum and Matt […]

[…] sehr erfolgreich ist hinsichtlich des finanziellen Gewinnst, haben die Entwickler von Hipster Whale in diesem Interview erklärt. Mehr als eine Million hat die iOS-Version bereits eingespielt – und zwar nur […]

Congratulations on making a great game and getting paid for doing it! Love to hear stories like this, now these guys can make even more awesome games without worrying about paying for rent. That’s what the world needs, artists making money to make more art.

[…] figure was revealed by games technology company Unity, which provides the video ads, in an interview posted on its official blog with Hipster Whale’s Australian co-founders Andy Sum and Matt […]

[…] made more than $1 million in in-game ad revenue since it launched in November 2014, according to Unity. The game is available for the […]

[…] numbers were released by Unity, who are also the providers of the video ads in Crossy Roads, when they interviewed Hipster Whale’s Australian co-founders Andy Sum and Matt […]

In response to above posts: There was no frogger game making significant money at the time they introduced this game. They were talking about looking at games that are making money and understand why it is happening. Even copying the method of other games isn’t enough because you need to match it to the game style you are making.

So, anyway, glad they shared. Working out how to make money on games is something I haven’t been able to do yet. It has more to do with working at it part-time and not being able to adjust fast enough, but the mobile marketplace is pretty crazy flooded with games.

He’s saying, don’t copy their monetization scheme. Because every game needs to think through a scheme that works best with their gameplay, in order to make the most money.

No, as he says, he copied their monetization from other games. Nothing original in that. He’s saying their game has been there and done that: i.e. copied Frogger and monetized it with playing for ad views. So copying this game and trying to monetize probably won’t work out for you.

Wiser for others would be to copy other old style arcade games like they did with this one and monetize in the style they have done. Nothing unique in the way they’ve monetized so no need to feel your copying their monetization method. They monetization method is their game not the advertising placed in it. Take the game out and the ads flop by themselves.

The owners of the rights to all those old arcade games should have monetized their IP in this manner and they would have made much more than what they did by charging. e.g. Frogger, Q*Bert, Pole position and others are available for a price. Many parents aren’t going to be paying for games or can’t afford to pay for games for their children. Do malls and other places even have arcades anymore or are all arcade visits restricted to Chuckie Cheese special events because it’s gotten so expensive? Arcade are fun but too expensive as anyone that’s frequented arcades knows.

[…] numbers were released by Unity, who are also the providers of the video ads in Crossy Roads, when they interviewed Hipster Whale’s Australian co-founders Andy Sum and Matt […]

Comments are closed.