Earlier this week we reported that Ethan Nicholas' simple tank artillery game iShoot [App Store, $2.99] stole the #1 spot in the App Store's top 100 paid apps listing, overtaking the infamous iFart Mobile (who would ever have imagined it could be dethroned?). For an app to reach number one and stay there, some 10,000 plus downloads per day are required.  Obviously the developer is thrilled.

Ethan is so thrilled, in fact, that he has given his two-week notice at Sun Microsystems, where he works a day job, iPhone Savior reports.

iShoot was originally released in mid October at $4.99 and gained little response from App Store buyers.  In December, the developer delivered a 1.1 version update and a $2 price drop to $2.99, but it made little impact on sales.  It was Ethan's decision to release a "lite" version of the game that is responsible for the astounding success of the paid app.

"iShoot Lite" went live on January 3, 2009. Less than ten days later on January 11, the original iShoot rocketed out of obscurity as the number one Top Paid App in the iTunes App Store with 16,972 downloads in one day. It virtually blasted the reigning number one iFart app off its perch overnight. iShoot simultaneously grabbed the Top Free App number one spot as well.

Ethan indicates he's been getting email after email from other iPhone developers asking if they should produce a "lite" version of their own titles. Ethan, who has put no marketing dollars at all behind iShoot, replies with a resounding "Hell yes!"

Making the matter all the more impressive for the indie developer is the fact that iShoot was his first Objective-C based application.  It definitely won't be his last.

Good luck, Ethan.  We're anxious to see what's next from this now full-time iPhone developer.

Ethan Nicholas' move is discussed in a lengthy thread in our forums, in which Ethan comments along with several other iPhone developers that have also recently made the full-time jump.

App Store Links: iShoot, $2.99, iShoot Lite, Free

  • 1337brian

    God I am jealous! Good Job Ethan!

  • 1337brian

    God I am jealous! Good Job Ethan!

  • 1337brian

    God I am jealous! Good Job Ethan!

  • Adams Immersive

    Congrats, and thanks for sharing that advice with some of us who are still stuck at our day jobs :)

  • Adams Immersive

    Congrats, and thanks for sharing that advice with some of us who are still stuck at our day jobs :)

  • Adams Immersive

    Congrats, and thanks for sharing that advice with some of us who are still stuck at our day jobs :)

  • QuickWit

    Pretty cool... Good to see someone able to do what they love to do. My son and I have a great time with that game.

    But seriously... You need update your games more often. 56 games needing to update (see the screen capture)... that's going to take some time.

    Bob

  • QuickWit

    Pretty cool... Good to see someone able to do what they love to do. My son and I have a great time with that game.

    But seriously... You need update your games more often. 56 games needing to update (see the screen capture)... that's going to take some time.

    Bob

  • QuickWit

    Pretty cool... Good to see someone able to do what they love to do. My son and I have a great time with that game.

    But seriously... You need update your games more often. 56 games needing to update (see the screen capture)... that's going to take some time.

    Bob

  • Eric

    No kidding, do the games on that iPod even get played? Congrats Ethan! My uncle won $300,000 in the lottery in his late twenties and started his own business. He ran himself into debt thinking he would get another lucky break, and now he lives in my parents' basement

  • Eric

    No kidding, do the games on that iPod even get played? Congrats Ethan! My uncle won $300,000 in the lottery in his late twenties and started his own business. He ran himself into debt thinking he would get another lucky break, and now he lives in my parents' basement

  • Eric

    No kidding, do the games on that iPod even get played? Congrats Ethan! My uncle won $300,000 in the lottery in his late twenties and started his own business. He ran himself into debt thinking he would get another lucky break, and now he lives in my parents' basement

  • Jc

    I can be lumped into the group who tried the lite version first and then bought the full version, this has been the case with quite a few apps for me, i think if lite versions were more prevalent some developers would have greater success

  • Jc

    I can be lumped into the group who tried the lite version first and then bought the full version, this has been the case with quite a few apps for me, i think if lite versions were more prevalent some developers would have greater success

  • Jc

    I can be lumped into the group who tried the lite version first and then bought the full version, this has been the case with quite a few apps for me, i think if lite versions were more prevalent some developers would have greater success

  • http://www.fftrealm.com Noah

    I really enjoy this game. The next "upgrade" should include online multiplayer (obvious), and more realistic maps are always a plus!

    Also, being able to assign "personalities" to the enemy tanks would be neat too. Like in Scorched Earth!

  • http://www.fftrealm.com Noah

    I really enjoy this game. The next "upgrade" should include online multiplayer (obvious), and more realistic maps are always a plus!

    Also, being able to assign "personalities" to the enemy tanks would be neat too. Like in Scorched Earth!

  • http://www.fftrealm.com Noah

    I really enjoy this game. The next "upgrade" should include online multiplayer (obvious), and more realistic maps are always a plus!

    Also, being able to assign "personalities" to the enemy tanks would be neat too. Like in Scorched Earth!

  • wegmans

    "Don't quit your day job!"

    oh wait...

    it's interesting... how easy it is to disseminate an APP, but think if you had another $3 product, how hard it would be to reach such a huge audience? more power to you dev, i wish more would dedicate themselves, then we'd rid ourselves of some of the riffraff..

  • wegmans

    "Don't quit your day job!"

    oh wait...

    it's interesting... how easy it is to disseminate an APP, but think if you had another $3 product, how hard it would be to reach such a huge audience? more power to you dev, i wish more would dedicate themselves, then we'd rid ourselves of some of the riffraff..

  • wegmans

    "Don't quit your day job!"

    oh wait...

    it's interesting... how easy it is to disseminate an APP, but think if you had another $3 product, how hard it would be to reach such a huge audience? more power to you dev, i wish more would dedicate themselves, then we'd rid ourselves of some of the riffraff..

  • Hkiphone

    Am happy to hear these kind of success stories, espeically after what might have been interpreted as a false start. I was convinced by the Lite version too, and for several other games too. It really does help.

    Great job Ethan, and we all look forward to yur next project! (But don't neglect making iShoot better and better with new updates!)

  • Hkiphone

    Am happy to hear these kind of success stories, espeically after what might have been interpreted as a false start. I was convinced by the Lite version too, and for several other games too. It really does help.

    Great job Ethan, and we all look forward to yur next project! (But don't neglect making iShoot better and better with new updates!)

  • Hkiphone

    Am happy to hear these kind of success stories, espeically after what might have been interpreted as a false start. I was convinced by the Lite version too, and for several other games too. It really does help.

    Great job Ethan, and we all look forward to yur next project! (But don't neglect making iShoot better and better with new updates!)

  • Rm

    I bought the game when it initially launched, and I was surprised to see a few months later that it was at the number 1 spot. Now that he has more time Ethan has said he is working on wifi multiplayer, which will make this game that much better.

  • Rm

    I bought the game when it initially launched, and I was surprised to see a few months later that it was at the number 1 spot. Now that he has more time Ethan has said he is working on wifi multiplayer, which will make this game that much better.

  • Rm

    I bought the game when it initially launched, and I was surprised to see a few months later that it was at the number 1 spot. Now that he has more time Ethan has said he is working on wifi multiplayer, which will make this game that much better.

  • Carlos-Sz

    56 updates pending (see first screenshot above)? C'mon! Do something about it! :)

    I still have to try the lite version tho I don't like the mix of real pictures and designed elements.

  • Carlos-Sz

    56 updates pending (see first screenshot above)? C'mon! Do something about it! :)

    I still have to try the lite version tho I don't like the mix of real pictures and designed elements.

  • Carlos-Sz

    56 updates pending (see first screenshot above)? C'mon! Do something about it! :)

    I still have to try the lite version tho I don't like the mix of real pictures and designed elements.

  • Fazzy

    Heh, 56 updates. That's fail.

  • Fazzy

    Heh, 56 updates. That's fail.

  • Fazzy

    Heh, 56 updates. That's fail.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    good job and success to you but I hope other devs at least wait until their apps/games are successful before they jump into the whole-quit-the-day-job wagon thing. Or, you might end up living at your parents basement for the next 10 years ahaha!

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    good job and success to you but I hope other devs at least wait until their apps/games are successful before they jump into the whole-quit-the-day-job wagon thing. Or, you might end up living at your parents basement for the next 10 years ahaha!

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    good job and success to you but I hope other devs at least wait until their apps/games are successful before they jump into the whole-quit-the-day-job wagon thing. Or, you might end up living at your parents basement for the next 10 years ahaha!

  • http://www.whataboutki.com ki

    Scorched Earth anyone?

  • http://www.whataboutki.com ki

    Scorched Earth anyone?

  • http://www.whataboutki.com ki

    Scorched Earth anyone?

  • larrybeo

    I hope the other developers take heart that having a free or lite version of an app is going to get them more money.

  • larrybeo

    I hope the other developers take heart that having a free or lite version of an app is going to get them more money.

  • larrybeo

    I hope the other developers take heart that having a free or lite version of an app is going to get them more money.

  • Eric Lewis

    He made like $30K in One month on this Application

    Do that 3 or 4 Times a Year

    and theres at least 120K of money

    wholyy!

  • Eric Lewis

    He made like $30K in One month on this Application

    Do that 3 or 4 Times a Year

    and theres at least 120K of money

    wholyy!

  • Eric Lewis

    He made like $30K in One month on this Application

    Do that 3 or 4 Times a Year

    and theres at least 120K of money

    wholyy!

  • KeynoteKen

    Correction:
    "having a free or lite version of" a GOOD "app is going to get them more money"

  • KeynoteKen

    Correction:
    "having a free or lite version of" a GOOD "app is going to get them more money"

  • KeynoteKen

    Correction:
    "having a free or lite version of" a GOOD "app is going to get them more money"

  • The Game Reaper

    ^^^Actually he made 200k in one week!

  • The Game Reaper

    ^^^Actually he made 200k in one week!

  • The Game Reaper

    ^^^Actually he made 200k in one week!

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    Congrats to the dev, but I still think it's foolish to quit your day job from one lucky break. This appstore bubble will burst, and it's not going to support very many full-time jobs after it does.

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    Congrats to the dev, but I still think it's foolish to quit your day job from one lucky break. This appstore bubble will burst, and it's not going to support very many full-time jobs after it does.

  • http://www.twiddlegeek.com Tony

    Congrats to the dev, but I still think it's foolish to quit your day job from one lucky break. This appstore bubble will burst, and it's not going to support very many full-time jobs after it does.

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    Yes, "Scorched Earth" indeed ;)
    repackaged and on yer iPhone...

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    Yes, "Scorched Earth" indeed ;)
    repackaged and on yer iPhone...

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    Yes, "Scorched Earth" indeed ;)
    repackaged and on yer iPhone...

  • http://techretriever.com Shaun

    My memories of scorched earth are the main reason I got this app!

  • http://techretriever.com Shaun

    My memories of scorched earth are the main reason I got this app!

  • http://techretriever.com Shaun

    My memories of scorched earth are the main reason I got this app!

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  • ZeroCorpse

    I did purchase this, because it's one of the best games on the iPod touch... But I have to wonder if he's giving any credit (or money) to Wendell Hicken, the guy who created Scorched Earth in the first place.

    I mean, there's no doubt that this is an exact copy, with some different names applied to the weapons, right down to the fact that each tank has a set of scripted lines it spits out at random. The purchase system is the same. The firing system is different due to the touch screen (but arguably better than the old version), and I can't imagine any court in the world would look at this and not see Wendell Hicken's game.

    Yes, Hicken got his inspiration from the old text-based Artillery! game, but the engine used for Scorched Earth was the first one of its kind.

    I'll play the hell out of iShoot... But I will also question the ethics of the developer quitting his day job because he made a copy of someone else's much-loved creation, and it's selling great because it has a built-in audience.

    At some point, this sort of thing will bite you on the behind.

  • ZeroCorpse

    I did purchase this, because it's one of the best games on the iPod touch... But I have to wonder if he's giving any credit (or money) to Wendell Hicken, the guy who created Scorched Earth in the first place.

    I mean, there's no doubt that this is an exact copy, with some different names applied to the weapons, right down to the fact that each tank has a set of scripted lines it spits out at random. The purchase system is the same. The firing system is different due to the touch screen (but arguably better than the old version), and I can't imagine any court in the world would look at this and not see Wendell Hicken's game.

    Yes, Hicken got his inspiration from the old text-based Artillery! game, but the engine used for Scorched Earth was the first one of its kind.

    I'll play the hell out of iShoot... But I will also question the ethics of the developer quitting his day job because he made a copy of someone else's much-loved creation, and it's selling great because it has a built-in audience.

    At some point, this sort of thing will bite you on the behind.

  • ZeroCorpse

    I did purchase this, because it's one of the best games on the iPod touch... But I have to wonder if he's giving any credit (or money) to Wendell Hicken, the guy who created Scorched Earth in the first place.

    I mean, there's no doubt that this is an exact copy, with some different names applied to the weapons, right down to the fact that each tank has a set of scripted lines it spits out at random. The purchase system is the same. The firing system is different due to the touch screen (but arguably better than the old version), and I can't imagine any court in the world would look at this and not see Wendell Hicken's game.

    Yes, Hicken got his inspiration from the old text-based Artillery! game, but the engine used for Scorched Earth was the first one of its kind.

    I'll play the hell out of iShoot... But I will also question the ethics of the developer quitting his day job because he made a copy of someone else's much-loved creation, and it's selling great because it has a built-in audience.

    At some point, this sort of thing will bite you on the behind.

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  • math matiction

    if i read this and did my math right he said an app has to have 10,000+ dowloads PER DAY. meaning a $2.99 app (since january 11th) with 10,000+ downloads a day means he's making $30,000+ a day. So if I calculated right he's made around 2.5 million dollars in only these short few months!! that or i did my math wrong...

  • math matiction

    if i read this and did my math right he said an app has to have 10,000+ dowloads PER DAY. meaning a $2.99 app (since january 11th) with 10,000+ downloads a day means he's making $30,000+ a day. So if I calculated right he's made around 2.5 million dollars in only these short few months!! that or i did my math wrong...

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  • Mtran0708

    hey guys he made 800k in 5 months, that should give him a 8 year break from work, based on him making 100k a year. Plus with all that time im pretty sure he can put some time into making a decent app and again there you go another 10-20 years of no work on the brink of retirement. hmm, seems like Apple is now producing alot of millionaires.

  • Mtran0708

    hey guys he made 800k in 5 months, that should give him a 8 year break from work, based on him making 100k a year. Plus with all that time im pretty sure he can put some time into making a decent app and again there you go another 10-20 years of no work on the brink of retirement. hmm, seems like Apple is now producing alot of millionaires.

  • Mtran0708

    hey guys he made 800k in 5 months, that should give him a 8 year break from work, based on him making 100k a year. Plus with all that time im pretty sure he can put some time into making a decent app and again there you go another 10-20 years of no work on the brink of retirement. hmm, seems like Apple is now producing alot of millionaires.

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