Danish developer 2nd Studio recently released their newest game called Skater Dash. Skater Dash isn’t just your average mobile endless runner, however, as the game features no micro transactions or commercials.
When developing Skater Dash, the goal was to make a game that the developers would enjoy playing themselves, according to founder and CEO of 2nd Studio, Dennis Jensen. “We love to play mobile games, but we aren´t too happy with the recent developments where a lot of games feature commercials and have pay-walls that are forced upon the player” Jensen explains.
He sees advertisements and micro transactions as a necessary evil that ruins the gaming experience, something 2nd Studio wanted to avoid in Skater Dash. There’s no traditional monetization schemes or integrated commercials in Skater Dash. Dennis Jensen is aware that as a game developer, you need to be able to earn money off of your game, however, which is why the game allows people to compete against each other for money, if they so choose. This allowed 2nd Studio to focus “on nice graphics and gameplay instead of monetization.”.
The approach 2nd Studio has chosen doesn’t come without its challenges. But as Dennis Jensen explains, adapting a premium business model wasn’t really an option as a “premium game needs something extra and a big marketing budget”, which is difficult for an indie studio running a tight budget.
While Jensen doesn’t know how well the model is going to perform, he remains optimistic: “We see this as a experiment that we want to try out. We do a lot of trail and error. If the business model doesn’t work out we can still try to optimize it and see if we can make it work. However, we think it’s more a matter of getting enough downloads. That’s the tricky part.”.
In that regard, Skater Dash can be seen as a testing ground for something bigger, as 2nd Studio is sitting on an unannounced title that might be perfectly fit for a model like this. “If it works and we get some revenue, we are prepared to develop this game and fit it to the model.” Jensen explains.
At the moment, 2nd Studio is busy working on a variety of different contractual projects to keep the money flowing. Aside from the unannounced project, 2nd Studio is waiting to start work on their title “Jazon and the Dead”, a game that had already received some funding “(…)that are waiting to be spent.”.
With Jazon and the Dead, however, 2nd Studio is still planning what to do with the game: “Our plan is to work 2-3 months on the game and get in contact with publishers afterwards. We still would love to make a kickstarter campaign, but won’t do it if we can get the funding elsewhere. So Jazon and the Dead is still in pre-production, but hopefully soon in production as well”