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Lots of Blocks: Tetris sales reach 425 million units on mobile

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In an interview with VentureBeat, the steward for the Tetris Company, Henk Rogers, recently revealed that sales of the block-based puzzle game have reached an incredible 425 million units on mobile, while revealing why he thinks the game has remained popular for three decades.

Originally the creation of the legendary Alexey Pajitnov, Rogers is the man credited with bringing Tetris to a wider audience, helping to popularise the game in Japan and the rest of the world starting on arcades, several home computers and consoles before its popularity exploded on the Nintendo Game Boy by the end of the eighties.

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Tetris is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year after first being released on June 6th, 1984 and during a celebratory event where Tetris was projected and played on the side of a 29-story building, VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi spoke with Rogers about the success of Tetris, who revealed:

“We have 425 million total paid mobile downloads. That’s all just on mobile. We had 35 million on the original Game Boy. Boxed products, I think altogether we sold something like 70 million.”

Rogers estimates that its taken roughly fourteen years for Tetris to reach the 425 million mark on mobile – roughly the amount of time that mobile phones have been able to properly display and play recognisable games – but what has kept the concept of Tetris so popular for so long? Rogers ruminated:

“Tetris reaches a basic pleasure center that people have, I think. It lets you create order out of chaos. The game is very random. The same thing never quite happens twice, so your brain has to be making decisions all the time. People like being able to make decisions instead of just doing things according to rote memory.”

Despite the fact that Rogers has stepped away from running The Tetris Company, allowing his daughter to take over, he still has interesting thoughts on the concept of ‘freemium’ games, and games that ‘nickel and dime’ players whenever they want to play, saying:

“I have a hard time with the freemium model. I’m sort of old-school that way. You could spend a couple of million dollars and build a great product in the old days, and then you’d know that a certain number of them would be sold. Nowadays, you have to build the game and then hope you can keep nickel-and-dime-ing people afterward. You have to interrupt the experience asking for money, and I think it takes away from the game.

“People won’t spend the amount of money they’d spend on a cup of coffee for a game that could last them weeks. The value proposition’s gotten all screwed up. People expect something for nothing.”


Rogers revealed that he and Alexey Pajitnov will be at E3 in June “looking for a number of new products” while celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Tetris, too. While EA holds the rights to Tetris on mobile, Ubisoft recently announced the publisher had acquired the rights to the franchise on console, so we can probably expect to see what the French publisher has in the works at E3.


Do you still play Tetris and which platforms do you play it on?


Source: GamesBeat on VentureBeat


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