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Tetris has passed 425 million downloads on mobile, not including free-to-play

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Classic puzzle game Tetris has surpassed 425 million paid downloads on mobile devices since its launch in 1984, according to The Tetris Company head Henk Rogers.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Rogers — who purchased the publishing rights from creator Alexey Pajitnov and brought the game to the Game Boy handheld in 1989 — said this number takes into account downloads over the past 14 years and does not include free-to-play versions of the game.

"We have 425 million total paid mobile downloads," Rogers said. "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.

"It's really spread over the whole period where phones have become able to play games," he added.

Electronic Arts acquired the mobile publishing rights for Tetris and published Tetris Blitz last year, an upgraded and more modernized version of the game that includes power-ups and score boosters. Rogers notes that the 425 million number also does not include this game.

Earlier this year, Ubisoft announced that it had secured the rights to publish Tetris on console. The game will be published for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at an unannounced date.

"Tetris reaches a basic pleasure center that people have, I think," Rogers noted of Tetris' longevity. "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."

Ahead of the game's 30th anniversary this June, Drexel University professor Frank Lee ran an installation that allowed Tetris to played on the side of the 437-foot tall Cira Centre building. Check out our interview with Lee, who hopes that his exhibit will create and expand more social gaming experiences.