owengossAt WWDC we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Owen Goss of Streaming Colour Studios. Owen is a 30 year old former console programmer who decided to take a chance at starting his own game company last year. Owen had previously worked at EA as an interface and gameplay programmer as well as Propoganda Games and was most recently involved in the development of the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean game for the Xbox and PS3.

iPhone gamers may know him from his color-matching game Dapple [$0.99], though he also gained some notoriety from a blog post he made back in March in which he detailed the (lack of) sales of his first iPhone title. The blog post received wide circulation after being posted to Slashdot.

After 6 months of development, his iPhone game had sold a disappointing 131 copies worldwide during the first 24 days on the market--very short of the numbers he would need to sustain a long term business. The reaction was massive and varied. Goss received both positive and strongly negative feedback about his results. He says, however, that his plan had always been to be open about his sales numbers good or bad. Back in 2008, when he decide to start his own gaming company, he did his research about the indie gaming scene and found a significant reporting bias. In that, success stories are much more likely to be told than the many failures.

Goss has reflected about the reasons for his lack of success in his blog, and also told us that he may have invested too much time into the 1.0 release. Coming from a console background, he had a strong desire for the 1.0 version to be feature complete and rock solid. He remains proud of the fact that he has not had a single crash report since the game's release. In today's iPhone market, however, such a thorough development cycle may not be realistic for small time developers. In the recent past, we've seen numerous examples of less ambitious 1.0 titles that have evolved over time after gaining some initial traction.

Goss isn't giving up, though. He remains optimistic about his future plans and is continuing to market and work on Dapple. His long term goal is to build his own brand around quality games and is working on additional titles. He's also helped organize AppTreasures.com, a cross promotional effort between multiple independent iPhone developers, to help boost sales of Dapple. Dapple has just seen a 1.2 version update that adds global high scores and a number of other user interface tweaks and fixes. Goss has even temporarily dropped the price of his game to $0.99 for the next week.

Owen Goss has been a regular in our forums with as OTrain13 and some early forum reactions to the game were posted in the original Dapple release thread from February. You can give the game a try yourself with the free Lite version.

App Store Link: Dapple, $0.99, Dapple Lite, Free

  • T

    The lack of success can be attributed to the fact that there are a BILLION puzzle apps in the App Store. Try for something more unique and I think the results would be much better.

  • T

    The lack of success can be attributed to the fact that there are a BILLION puzzle apps in the App Store. Try for something more unique and I think the results would be much better.

  • crsrc

    so true, if I remember correctly, by the time I first saw dapple in the appstore I had already played 237 different takes on match 3 puzzlers and most of those were within week one of the appstore.

    I wish developers would try to make new and original games rather than tweak games we've already been playing for years

    • fearless

      With so many games out there, developers are running out of original ideas. I personally like it when developers "tweak" games already made. For instance, someone like me would not dare play a "pretty" game, but would look for a "dark" version of the game (with the same gameplay concept). :D

      • Ape lover

        but all the nerds are trying to make that game pretty... :|

    • arn

      "new and original" is not what the masses are looking for necessarily. While it's nice in theory, in practice, people like familiarity.

      Games like Ellis and Shaky Summit never saw much commercial success despite being "new and original". Did you buy those games?

      arn

      • spiffyone

        Holy crap! Someone other than me bought Shaky Summit!

        Anyway...you're correct. "New and original" does not see much commercial success, partly because it's very difficult to be "new and original" when the various genres within the game industry have been "set" for years now (decades, really) but mainly because the video game industry focuses on recycled ideas and reused IPs because...well...they sell a helluva lot better.

        There's a reason Nintendo plasters Mario's mug over a bunch of different games that are NOT platformers. RPGs, kart racing, puzzle games, sports titles, fighting games, party games, etc., etc., etc. Mario sells. Known IPs sell. There's a reason that EA brings out a new Madden game each year (even when the "changes" are not that drastic other than roster changes, which could be handled with an update, tbqh) and Microsoft relies on Halo: they sell. Much better than "new and original".

        And this isn't a detriment of the game industry only. Within the film, television, radio, literary publishing, and music industries "different" often times equals "not likely to sell well at all". The "problem", if there is in fact one, isn't with the industries, but with the consumer audience. We like to play it safe with our money.

      • crsrc

        obviously new and original is not going to automatically translate into a great game and high success but I'd certainly give something I've never seen before a second thought before I ponder buying "Super Breakout Space Shooter Gems Fart Edition 2"

  • crsrc

    so true, if I remember correctly, by the time I first saw dapple in the appstore I had already played 237 different takes on match 3 puzzlers and most of those were within week one of the appstore.

    I wish developers would try to make new and original games rather than tweak games we've already been playing for years

    • fearless

      With so many games out there, developers are running out of original ideas. I personally like it when developers "tweak" games already made. For instance, someone like me would not dare play a "pretty" game, but would look for a "dark" version of the game (with the same gameplay concept). :D

      • Ape lover

        but all the nerds are trying to make that game pretty... :|

    • arn

      "new and original" is not what the masses are looking for necessarily. While it's nice in theory, in practice, people like familiarity.

      Games like Ellis and Shaky Summit never saw much commercial success despite being "new and original". Did you buy those games?

      arn

      • spiffyone

        Holy crap! Someone other than me bought Shaky Summit!

        Anyway...you're correct. "New and original" does not see much commercial success, partly because it's very difficult to be "new and original" when the various genres within the game industry have been "set" for years now (decades, really) but mainly because the video game industry focuses on recycled ideas and reused IPs because...well...they sell a helluva lot better.

        There's a reason Nintendo plasters Mario's mug over a bunch of different games that are NOT platformers. RPGs, kart racing, puzzle games, sports titles, fighting games, party games, etc., etc., etc. Mario sells. Known IPs sell. There's a reason that EA brings out a new Madden game each year (even when the "changes" are not that drastic other than roster changes, which could be handled with an update, tbqh) and Microsoft relies on Halo: they sell. Much better than "new and original".

        And this isn't a detriment of the game industry only. Within the film, television, radio, literary publishing, and music industries "different" often times equals "not likely to sell well at all". The "problem", if there is in fact one, isn't with the industries, but with the consumer audience. We like to play it safe with our money.

      • crsrc

        obviously new and original is not going to automatically translate into a great game and high success but I'd certainly give something I've never seen before a second thought before I ponder buying "Super Breakout Space Shooter Gems Fart Edition 2"

  • Dogmeat

    he has a very interesting looking head, i want to paint him.

    i'm not kidding.

  • Dogmeat

    he has a very interesting looking head, i want to paint him.

    i'm not kidding.

  • http://www.illusionlabs.com Anders

    I met Owen during WWDC, nice chap!

    Anders, from IL

  • http://www.illusionlabs.com Anders

    I met Owen during WWDC, nice chap!

    Anders, from IL

  • http://www.mobstarentertainment.com mek

    Holy crap! Someone other than me bought Super Breakout Space Shooter Gems Fart Edition 2 -haha

    for me personally..i can't even stomach match 3 games anymore....but TD games..now that is another story...so i can see peoples point, that familar games sell...some people dont like match 3, but i suppose a lot of people are familar...but how many of them can you consume

  • http://www.mobstarentertainment.com mek

    Holy crap! Someone other than me bought Super Breakout Space Shooter Gems Fart Edition 2 -haha

    for me personally..i can't even stomach match 3 games anymore....but TD games..now that is another story...so i can see peoples point, that familar games sell...some people dont like match 3, but i suppose a lot of people are familar...but how many of them can you consume

  • Kim

    Dapple is one of the four games I play regularly. I can't explain its appeal. I think it is just that I love the colors and especially the sounds. I have bought other match 3 games but this is the only one I play.

  • Kim

    Dapple is one of the four games I play regularly. I can't explain its appeal. I think it is just that I love the colors and especially the sounds. I have bought other match 3 games but this is the only one I play.

  • Fluffeh

    I think the TD market is over-saturated, but that might just be me. ;)

    Putting a twist on a familiar formula (match-3) is a good idea, if it's done right. For example, see Bejeweled 2 for the basic formula and Gemmed! and Azkend for well-executed twists.

    The gameplay video looks interesting so I'll probably pick up the lite version of this later.

  • Fluffeh

    I think the TD market is over-saturated, but that might just be me. ;)

    Putting a twist on a familiar formula (match-3) is a good idea, if it's done right. For example, see Bejeweled 2 for the basic formula and Gemmed! and Azkend for well-executed twists.

    The gameplay video looks interesting so I'll probably pick up the lite version of this later.

  • http://acceleroto.com Bryan Duke

    Dapple's a very addicting game and a good spin on the "Match X" genre. It's extremely well executed on the graphics & sound. It took me a little bit to get the hang of it - commit to learning how to play & I think you'll find it's a great game. It's a great deal at $0.99.

  • http://acceleroto.com Bryan Duke

    Dapple's a very addicting game and a good spin on the "Match X" genre. It's extremely well executed on the graphics & sound. It took me a little bit to get the hang of it - commit to learning how to play & I think you'll find it's a great game. It's a great deal at $0.99.

  • ninetiesgamer

    match 3 puzle games is a touch genre to be in. The problem is they all look and play amost identically.

    You cant just make Tetris with animals and wonder why it didnt sell as many copies as Tetris.
    The last match 3 game I bought was Puzle Quest but that one was pretty exceptional.

  • ninetiesgamer

    match 3 puzle games is a touch genre to be in. The problem is they all look and play amost identically.

    You cant just make Tetris with animals and wonder why it didnt sell as many copies as Tetris.
    The last match 3 game I bought was Puzle Quest but that one was pretty exceptional.

  • yacoub

    Thanks, just picked this up. Also grabbed Peggle recently.

  • yacoub

    Thanks, just picked this up. Also grabbed Peggle recently.

  • Gilly

    Here's another take on perhaps a tiny factor with this and other color-dependent games: Colorblindness. I am partially colorblind and I avoid any game that requires "normal" color vision for its play.

  • Gilly

    Here's another take on perhaps a tiny factor with this and other color-dependent games: Colorblindness. I am partially colorblind and I avoid any game that requires "normal" color vision for its play.

  • Dudehuge

    The average iPhone buyer don't comment on and read gaming related blogs, we're all an extreme minority on the overall market. Average Joe will just see Dapple as another Match 3 game and will not even bother looking twice.

  • Dudehuge

    The average iPhone buyer don't comment on and read gaming related blogs, we're all an extreme minority on the overall market. Average Joe will just see Dapple as another Match 3 game and will not even bother looking twice.

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    I also met Owen at WWDC and he is indeed a very nice and helpful guy. I really hope he finds success on the AppStore soon!

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    I also met Owen at WWDC and he is indeed a very nice and helpful guy. I really hope he finds success on the AppStore soon!

  • I am unknown

    *sigh*

    ADVERTISING

    Toucharcade should charge him because it is blatant advertising because his product is pretty much exact the same as the other puzzles

  • I am unknown

    *sigh*

    ADVERTISING

    Toucharcade should charge him because it is blatant advertising because his product is pretty much exact the same as the other puzzles