SEGA Sets Its Flagship Title Free (With Ads) and Users Love It

Just before the weekend hit, SEGA added the original Sonic (Sonic The Hedgehog) to the new SEGA Forever Collection, dropping its price from $2.99 USD to free with ads.

Based on the app’s ranks, the move was a big success with Sonic racing to the top of the App Store within hours of the update.

As of right now, Sonic is the #2 free app in the U.S., and #1 the Games category, as well as Games → Action, the title’s official category.

With this new pricing model, SEGA is reducing the friction caused by an upfront payment, but still manages to monetize with ads. For ads, SEGA seems to be relying on a handful of 3rd party ad networks, including AdColony, AppLovin, Chartboost, Facebook, Fyber, Mopub, Tapjoy, Vungle, and others.

In addition to ads, the game also has an in-app purchase to remove all non-SEGA ads. A great move that shows they care about the gamers who would rather pay. The in-app purchase goes for $1.99, a lower price than what the title went for originally, but we believe the free model + ads + the IAP will net more revenue over time.

It’s worth noting that while SEGA dropped the price of both the iOS and Android version of the title, it’s the iOS version that’s seeing a huge uptick in downloads so far while the Android version is slowly climbing up the charts.

With this move, SEGA is showing up its rival Nintendo, which released its flagship title Mario Run as a free to download but $9.99 to play last year. The move by Nintendo resulted in thousands of user complaints, and even a drop in Nintendo’s stock price.