Crossy Road mobile game gets some Gangnam Style with Psy update

90m players will be able to buy Korean rapper as an in-app purchase, complete with signature moves and a new dance-pad scoring system

Gangnam Style made South Korean rapper Psy a global star, with nearly 2.4bn views of the YouTube video since its release in July 2012. Now he’s extending his digital fame into mobile game Crossy Road.

The game, which has attracted more than 90 million players since its launch in November 2014, has focused on Korean pop culture for its latest update, including a playable Psy.

He’ll cost $2.99 as an in-app purchase within the Frogger-inspired road-crossing game, with some of his signature moves – yes, including the horse-dancing one – and a new scoring system involving triggering music samples by stepping on dance-pads.

Psy’s new level is based on the Gangnam area of Seoul that inspired his biggest hit, with the update including nine other new Korean characters including a taekwondo master, a professional gamer, a K-drama actor and a plate of Kimchi.

According to the game’s developer Hipster Whale and publisher Yodo1, Psy will be available to buy for three months only, although once bought he’ll be playable forever in the game.

This is the latest in a series of updates for Crossy Road based on specific countries, designed to boost its appeal around the world.

The Korean pack follows an Australian-themed update in January based on Hipster Whale’s home country; Chinese New Year characters in February; then a British and Irish update in April featuring a Queen’s guard, a Scottish piper and a packet of fish and chips.

Psy's Crossy Road level includes a new dance-pad scoring system.
Psy’s Crossy Road level includes a new dance-pad scoring system. Photograph: PR

Crossy Road has been one of the breakout mobile hits of recent times, reaching 50m downloads by early March, 70m a month later, and 90m now in late June.

The game is free to play, but makes its money from a mixture of in-app purchases of characters and revenues from video advertisements, which players can watch to earn virtual currency to unlock characters without paying.

The game made Hipster Whale $10m in its first three months after release, including $3m from the video ads, which the company’s co-founder Matt Hall has said enabled it to swerve some of the money-making techniques of other freemium mobile games.

“If you make a game that’s only about business, you’re going to get Candy Crush clones... Obviously, $10m is fantastic. That’s way, way, way, way, way more than we thought we would get,” Hall told Polygon in March.

“But someone on the free-to-play business would look at those numbers and think we could make a lot more per user. But, if we changed it … if we followed some of those best practices … if we sold coins and had a ‘save-me’ button and it felt like the other games, would anyone have cared?”

Contributor

Stuart Dredge

The GuardianTramp

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