World Of Goo publishers try the Radiohead Model

2D Boy, publishers of innovative indie game World of Goo have released the results of their week-long first birthday pricing experiment, where they asked customers to pay exactly as much as they wanted for the game (which is awesome and addictive, by the way) via their web site (which bills thru PayPal).  The company previously estimated that their game had a 90% piracy rate.

The results are revealing:  the cumulative average price paid was $2.03 over the week.  This certainly validates the $1.99 (or more) that many games charge on Apple’s App Store.  More interestingly, the hubbub generated by this “Radiohead Pricing Model” spilled over to sales of their game on another distribution network, Steam, driving them up by 40%.

Pricing a game, application, or other product or service is always very hard… and it takes lots of focus testing and customer interaction to get a sense for how they value a service.  This is made even worse by the fact that your customers aren’t even always honest with you or with themselves.

What’s been overlooked here is that these guys earned $100K in one week, putting their product into the hands of 50,000 users.  That’s amazingly impressive for an indie studio.  No wonder they’re extending the experiment for another week.  Kudos for such a small team that had the courage to break new ground in this area.