Minecraft: Story Mode launched last year (we wrote this story exactly one year ago) with support for Android TV. It was an exciting move to have a game of that caliber add support for these gaming consoles. Since then, the game has done very well, accumulating at least 1 million downloads.
That’s impressive considering the app had to be purchased. It was originally $5, with occasional sales for cheaper. The model was episodic, meaning each episode would have to be purchased individually. After buying the first episode, you’d have to pay additional money through an IAP for the second episode, and so on.
This is an interesting strategy which could help game studios get the money they need to maintain development while allowing customers to not pay immediately up front. They pay for what they play. If they get bored halfway through, they only pay for half.
This model is shifting slightly to freemium. The app is now completely free to install on Google Play. However, that only means the first episode is free. The other episodes still have to be purchased in the app for $5. This seems more of an attempt to expand their audience through a smaller barrier to entry than a massive shift in business.
It should be noted that Minecraft: Pocket Edition is different entirely. While the Pocket Edition is much more like classic Minecraft, Story Mode involves your character engaging in a real plot in the game and there is a greater story than the classic sandbox model.