The Game that's Quietly Taken Over the App Store
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I noticed an unfamiliar icon was hovering all over the top apps list in the App Store over the last few weeks and had to track it down.
The app, or rather game, in this case, is Dumb Ways to Die, a set of minigames described by the developer in a super self-deprecating tone that uses the word "dumb" 5 times.
Normally this type of stuff doesn't phase me, but look at the downloads.
According to our estimates, since starting a big push in early February, the game has been downloaded more than 1.3M times. That's "Million", or 6 zeros. More times than Bing even after it added support for ChatGPT.
That's a lot.
What's more interesting is that these downloads weren't generated using Apple Search Ads. I couldn't find one keyword this game was advertising in!
If not Apple Search Ads, where are these downloads coming from?
For that we have to zoom out a bit.
See, This game isn't coming from some clever studio that spits out hyper-casual titles. At all.
It comes from Metro Trains, a public transit operator in Australia. Metro Trains created a music video by the same name in 2012. It became popular and a game around it was born in 2013.
The video became mega popular on TikTok over the years, but recently became even more popular after a user turned the title into a jingle which is now used in many videos, including some promotional videos from big companies. The downloads follow.
The game is no longer owned by the train company though, now it's owned by the game studio that developed it, PlaySide.
TikTok fame isn't easy to achieve but is great if you can get it.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.