A little while back, the C64 app in the App Store (a C64 emulator with officially licensed code from some old Commodore 64 games) announced that it was going free for a day with the Free App a Day promotion. That was a few weeks ago, and you might have noticed that the app is still free in the store. We contacted Manomio's CTO Stuart Carnie to ask him if the app was still free, and he confirmed that yes, C64 is staying a free download.
The reasoning is pretty interesting -- the way the app works is that you do get some games for free, and then you can buy more using in-app purchases. Carnie tells us that when the app went free, they saw a spike in games being bought -- twenty times what they were selling previously. Making the app free also vastly increased their user base, and since they're constantly trying to get the licenses for older C64 games, going to code owners and saying that they've got almost 1.5 million downloads of the title gives them a lot more attention. In fact, because of the free promotion, Carnie says they've secured rights for International Karate, all the Last Ninja games, and Myth -- those should all be out on the store soon.
Very interesting. C64 isn't the only app to go free lately -- David Barnard, the creator of KaleidoVid, an app that our own Dave Caolo enjoyed, has made that app free as well today for "a limited time," though we don't know how long yet. Barnard tells us that sales on the title weren't spectacular, it was designed more for fun than anything else, and that maybe sending the app free for a while will help it pick up some extra attention. Certainly there are apps that work better at different prices, but even if the goal is to make money, selling an app for free sometimes is actually the way to go.