WSJ Reports Behind the Hit iPhone Game “The Walking Dead”

Telltale Games, a venture-backed San Francisco-based startup, appears to be making money hand-over-fist for a cinematic game called “The Walking Dead,” based on the comic series. Many game-review outlets — such as Wired, Spike TV and Metacritic – have declared it the “game of the year” for its storytelling and choose-your-own-adventure style.

But beyond the reviews is a surging business. Telltale sells the game in “episodes” — five in all — for multiple gaming platforms: the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and the iPhone/iPad, where it’s especially resonating with swipe- and touch-based mechanics.

Since launching the first episode in April, players have purchased more than 8.5 million episodes, said Telltale CEO Dan Connors. At about $5 per episode, that’s roughly more than $40 million in sales, not including any promotions. Each episode ends on cliffhangers, enticing the player to buy the next one, Connors said.