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How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads
How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads

Probably one of Subway Surfers’ greatest feats is its over 3 billion downloads accomplishment under its belt. If you put it into some perspective, there are currently around 7.9 billion people in the world today. This means that Subway Surfers has almost half the number of downloads compared to the world population.

So, although most games may likely hit 1 or even 100 million downloads, 3 billion is still nothing compared to it. This will give you a realization of just how big this accomplishment is for a game developer of, not even an RPG but, a casual running game. SYBO Games and Kiloo, the makers of Subway Surfers, are undoubtedly in a league of their own.

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Are you curious how Subway Surfers first started and the things that led SYBO Games and Kiloo to get to this point? Read on below.

How Subway Surfers Started & How It Evolved Throughout the Years

The concept behind Subway Surfers is based on a short animated film titled Trainbombing. Trainbombing is the act of tagging a train and spray painting it with graffiti. On that note, the short film is about a young misfit who was out to tag some trains. However, this young troublemaker was caught by a security guard and ended up being chased around together with the guard’s dog.

Created by Sylvester Rishøj Jensen and Bodie Jahn-Mulliner, Trainbombing won first place in the best animation category in the Hamburg Animation Awards back in 2000. This win then led the partners to conceptualize a game from it and form SYBO Games in 2010.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion DownloadsAfter around 2 years of game development, SYBO Games and Kiloo then proceeded to release Subway Surfers on May 23, 2012. The game is a simple arcade game with a basic concept – an endless runner game. The same with the short film, the game revolves around a young troublemaker being chased by a security guard along the subway. Since the chase is on a subway, players will have to dodge trains and other obstacles to escape.

This concept may be simple, but it can be very thrilling and addictive. As a result, Subway Surfers quickly became very popular among casual gamers who enjoy endless running games.

Updates & Content Helped Push Subway Surfers to the Top


The game developers also understood that their initial success does not guarantee that they can keep their fan base engaged. So, they started releasing regular updates that players may look forward to.

In the early stages of the game in 2012, the developers based the concept of their regular updates on popular holidays. In October 2012, they released the Halloween Edition with a new character named Zombie Jake. This was quickly followed by the Holiday Edition in time for the Christmas season. In this update, a new character called Elf Tricky is featured together with new hoverboards and upgrades. However, the game developers quickly veered away from this concept and shifted to the World Tour.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion DownloadsThe World Tour is a series of updates that successfully kept their existing fan base engaged and drew even more players to the game. This resulted in organic growth that allowed Subway Surfers to consistently grow throughout the years. From then on and in March of 2018, Subway Surfers became the first app to break the 1 billion download mark outside of the basic apps owned by Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, or Google.


This achievement is a very huge one for gaming companies around that time. As Jacob Møller, the CEO of Kiloo, puts it, “Surpassing 1 billion downloads is a historic accomplishment. In this case, history was written by a talented team of developers and a fantastic collaboration between SYBO and Kiloo.”

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion DownloadsBut the team behind Subway Surfers did not rest on their laurels. They continued developing new updates to keep engaging their fan base. Their early successes then turned into exponential growth, which resulted in huge strides of accomplishments. Now, Subway Surfers currently boasts over 3 billion game downloads over the span of 10 years.

The World Tour – The Key Ingredient that Kept Gamers Coming for More

Although it was Subway Surfers’ core gameplay concept that got their fan base hooked, it is their commitment to innovation that kept gamers coming back for more. This commitment to innovation is exemplified by the fact that the game developers are consistently putting in new content throughout the game’s lifespan. How was it so elaborately conceptualized? Let us take a look at the overarching theme that Subway Surfers’ new updates are based on – the World Tour.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads


The Concept Behind the World Tour Series

The World Tour series is basically the overall concept on which almost all of Subway Surfers’ updates are hinged. The idea of the tours is to feature a new theme on each update based on different cities and their cultures around the world.

For example, the first city that was featured was New York back in January of 2013. In this update, they made a few tweaks in the game so that it would somehow resemble what New York city looks like. They also released their first limited edition character named Tony, whose looks and outfits represent a huge culture of the city. On top of that, they also released a new hoverboard called Liberty, showing the main tourist attraction in New York, the Statue of Liberty.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion DownloadsThen, in the last week of January 2013, they released another addition to the World Tour, the Rio. They then modified the theme of the game for it to resemble what Rio de Janeiro looks like. They also added a new limited edition character named Carmen. This character wore several outfits; two of which show a cool traditional outfit, while the other one is sporty casual wear that fits her personality. They also introduced a new hoverboard called the Toucan, a tribute to a tropical bird with large brightly-colored bills found in Rio.

Showing these first couple of updates under the World Tour series as an example, it is easy to understand what the game developer’s concept was. Essentially, they are implanting the game with different themes based on various cities around the world. Then, along with the city, they feature a new limited edition character who could represent that city’s culture. As an added bonus, they will also introduce a new hoverboard that gives tribute to the area. At times, they will also throw in new upgrades.

Subway Surfers Paying Tribute to Diversity & Culture

In a way, this central theme called the World Tour series which features different cities is an excellent way to pay homage to different cultures. It gives players a glimpse of the diverse cultures found around the world. Moreover, it is also a celebration of cultural diversity.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion DownloadsAside from that, it also creates a sense of inclusivity and relatability, especially for those whose cultures were featured in the game. It is easy to see how the game can open up and penetrate new markets every time they feature a new culture. This is definitely a plus whenever you are looking to grow your fan base. This approach is probably one of the contributing factors that allowed them to hit the 3 billion mark in the span of 10 years.


World Culture as a Treasure Trove of Content Ideas

On the creative side, it also gives the game developers a lot of headspace for creating fresh ideas. The world is so culturally diverse, that it is almost impossible to exhaust the various cities and cultures to feature. This opportunity allows them to consistently release new updates almost every month.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads

Unity Game Engine as a Vital Tool for this Strategy

However, having such a tight update release schedule can also be very difficult to manage and execute. Most game developers will find Subway Surfers’ update turnaround time of 3 to 4 weeks near impossible. It requires an excellent team of developers that can juggle both the development of new creative ideas and production management at the same time.

The game developers also say that using the Unity game engine allows them to implement this strategy even with such a tight schedule. It allows them to manage things more effectively from a singular place.

Subway Surfers Staying True to Its Core Elements

Although this ability to constantly churn out new updates every month proves to be an effective strategy for the team, it can also be very easy to ruin a good game if this is not implemented effectively. It requires a good balance between the creation and implementation of fresh innovative ideas plus making sure that the game stays true to its core game design and elements.

That is why they made sure to identify the core element that got gamers hooked in the first place. This core element is the rush that gamers get when dodging oncoming trains, amassing coins, and setting new high scores. As long as the game developers keep these core elements intact, they should be able to avoid ruining the game.

How Subway Surfers Reaches 3 Billion Downloads
Image Source: Subway Surfers Documentary – The Origin Story

The New World’s Latest Edition of Subway Surfers World Tour – Monaco

Fast forward to April 2022, Subway Surfers World Tour is already on its 142nd edition of the series. This time around, Subway Surfers visited Monaco, a sovereign-city state in Europe famous for its Grand Prix.

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Image Source: Subway Surfers World Tour 2022 – Monaco

Monaco World Tour – New Characters & Hoverboard

In this edition, Subway Surfers released three exclusive characters. Learn how to get them with the help of this guide. Read more below.

1. Dummy, the Race Car Dummy

First, there is Dummy. He is a goofy-looking race car dummy with cool red sneakers on him. For you to get him, you will have to save up on some tokens. For this edition, the tokens are Checkered Flags which is a nod to Monaco’s racing heritage, the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious formula one races in the world. You can get this character for 250 Checkered Flags.

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2. Roberto Re-Released

Roberto is a character first introduced in the Rome edition of the World Tour and was re-released for the Monaco edition. If you are a fan of this character, then now is your chance to get him for 95,000 Coins. You can also get two extra outfits for him, aside from his regular one. The Fan Outfit, which you can get for 15 Keys, and the Cules Outfit, which you can get for 35,000 Event Coins.

3. Philip the Tennis Player

Lastly, we have Philip. He is a cool-looking kid who likes to play tennis. This character pays homage to the Monte Carlo Masters, a prestigious tennis tournament held in Monaco’s capital, Monte Carlo. A fun fact, five of the current ATP top players are from Monaco.

Now, you can get Philip for 95,000 Coins. You can also buy two extra outfits for him. One is the Racer Outfit, which costs 30 Keys, and the other is the Captain Outfit, which costs 25 Keys.

4. The Crash Test Hoverboard

Aside from the characters, this edition also includes a new hoverboard called Crash Test. This odd-looking hoverboard is actually a door to a crash test car that is fitted with two exhaust pipes. You can purchase this hoverboard for 150 Checkered Flags. It also has an upgrade called the Speed Up, which you can get for 20,000 Event Coins.

Subway Surfers – A Game Above the Rest

So, if you want to try a game that is above the rest, look no further than Subway Surfers. You will learn more about the world and its diverse cultures through a thrilling endless runner game. Play now and have fun touring the world in the comfort of your own device!


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