If you’re a fan of playing App Store QB at home, then this World of Goo [$4.99] post-mortem piece is definite must-read toilet material. In the blog posting, game creator 2D Boy talks about the sales and problems with keeping our GOTY at the top of the charts and even takes the time to discuss points of design users weren’t fans of, the promotion of the game to press, the release timing, and its overall observations about the project.

I’m still in NFL mode, so here are some highlights:

2D Boy timed the release of World at Goo, to the game’s detriment, so it would be featured for the two weeks that it was. The plan was always to price it high and then go low later, but as you’ll read in the article, you’ll find that the chart lift from price slashes isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when all things are considered. Spoiler, though: you still make a ton of more money when a game is up on the charts.

There’s a lot of crap on the App Store, but 2D Boy had a couple of things going for it during the pre-launch phase: (1) it was a known, innovative property from a darling indie developer who got burned by piracy, and (2) 2D Boy was pitching this version of a two-year old game as the DEFINITIVE version, which actually, it turned out to be.

In this part of the post, 2D Boy shares some thoughts on pre-launch marketing and discusses how it got into all our heads. I’m guessing the big break was the Apple dude who replied saying that he or she was a fan. Also, there’s some discussion about hype.

A post-launch update to World of Goo added infinite level skips. That was a direct result of, presumably, the stuff the post details in its design section. Some users weren’t huge fans of the difficulty of the puzzles and often rated the title poorly as a result of their frustration. Interestingly, 2D Boy raises the issue of App Store developers not being able to issue refunds, which is a pretty common problem on closed networks like Xbox Live Arcade or PSN.

World of Goo has sold more units on the iPad than it has on the Steam or WiiWare by the tune of tens of thousands of more units. That’s wild when you think about it since the device we’re talking about here is young comparatively.

Don’t get your hopes up -- this is an “if” and not a “when” thing. In the pricing section, 2D Boy discusses the need to have a seriously low price point in order to compete on the iPhone part of the App Store, which is something of a bugbear considering how much work would need to be done to get World of Goo on other, smaller devices. Also, World of Goo iPhone was already canned once when plans fell through with contractors.

Anyway, cool post and lots of fun information. Check it out when you have the time!

  • David

    Sorry to 2D Boy but that is some horrid BullSh!t, the unfortunate fact is (check youtube) that pirates have already hacked this game to run on an iphone! So, what the heck do they need to do to get it to work on an iphone?! However, I do whole heartedly agree that piracy would have put a crimp in their sales, but then again IT IS a two year old game.

    • http://2dboy.com ron

      david, if you go and play the hacked iphone version (which is really just the ipad version running on an iphone unmodified with the exception of a renamed nib file) you'll quickly realize that there's quite a bit of work required to make the game feel good on the smaller screen. trust me, we know our sh!t better than you do 🙂

      • David

        Oh I believe you, and 1. I wouldnt pirate hard work, 2. somehow they did get it working tough 🙂 3. I would buy an iphone version, I bought it for my Wii I love it and so do my kids.

      • Savageotter10

        Getting something working and having it be playable re two different things.

      • hardy83

        There's a difference between someone with free time doing a poor port and paying a professional or two or three or more thousands of dollars to properly port a game.

    • Anonymous

      Taking a game and making it run on a similar system isn't piracy. They still bought the game in order to alter the file.

      • Silverfist

        Yep... just like if you have an album on vinyl, it's perfectly okay to grab someone else's cassette tape of the same album, shoplift the CD from a store, and download the MP3s from a torrent site.

        OR... maybe it's still wrong, even if it's "victimless", like what you no doubt believe your example is.


      • Anonymous

        Ok, except what you are saying and what I am saying are completely different things. Comparing what I am saying to music would be like buying a vinyl disc and transferring it to a cd, computer, iPod, etc. Especially if it isn't available for the other format. If an album is only out on casette, is it piracy to convert it to a cd? No, it's not.

      • Anonymous

        In many places that actually is illegal. It just so happens that things such as burning a CD doesn't really get policed. Certainly though, the consumer generally has no right to reproduce media and if they do, it usually is for backup purposes only, not to then alter or reproduce the media for another format.

        Its a bit of a lame law when it comes to certain form factors, but its there in many, many regions. Ultimately the company does have a right to determine how they want their content to be distributed but.

      • http://twitter.com/spongefile Tina Aspiala

        Er...you could argue that taking the game and making it run on a similar system for YOUR OWN USE isn't piracy, but distributing your modified version sure sounds like it.

        Imagine if Nintendo made a port of World of Goo for the DS, and then told 2D Boy that hey, it's all legal and paid for, we bought one copy of your game to make our version...

  • Bsrjunk

    Nice to hear they put in a level skip. I tried the game an liked it at first, then I hit a level that I just found frustrating. I tried the level for a longer time than all the levels before it combined, and then gave it up. The trouble with no "level skip" is that giving up on a level is giving up on the whole game. Many a puzzle game I have found just one or two levels give me no pleasure at all, and it is bad game design to MAKE me play them just to get to all the other puzzles I paid for.

  • Asa

    i want it in the IPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I take some issue with their claim that appstore customers demand games that are easy and that World of Goo has felt their wrath. So, wait, why is the average score 4.5 out of 5 then? Are the people rating it 4 and 5 stars saying that the game is "too hard. sucks"?

    And look at League of Evil, a game that verges on the difficulty of Super Meat Boy. It's average rating? 4.5 out of 5. Huh? Don't these appstore people hate the game?

    Also, with regard to refunds. There's a simple way around this and it doesn't require Apple to change anything: provide a free Lite version that let's people see how the game works and what it's like. Problem solved.

    Now, having said that, Apple should change the way that apps work. All apps should be free to download and then can require a few to unlock after the trial, but the listing in iTunes should list it as, say, "free demo. $4.99 to unlock" or some such listing. Further they should *require* this approach for all apps. Demos across the board, be it games or not.

  • Anonymous

    My first attempt to comment failed, and now I don't have the energy to post it all again. 🙂 I'm having a hard to reconciling the claim from 2D Boy that appstore gamers want their games to be easy and complained about World of Goo... and yet the average rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. If that's the average, and given just how many copies of the game have sold, what reason is there to believe that appstore gamers all want their games easy?

    Similarly, the issue of lack of refunds can be resolved simply and easily: provide a Lite version to try the game out first. Then people can see what it's like, see that it's not for them and they never spend the money and never need to even ask for a refund. Win.

    • Zevzoq

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. I find it a little disconcerting that any dev would take a few idiotic 1-star reviews on the app store to heart and make any broad generalizations about "ios gamers" based upon those. The net is awash wioth idiots. If your game is averaging 4.5 stars, you don't need to concern yourself a whole lot with the odd 1 star whine-fest...and you should by no means come to the conclusion that ios gamers don't appreciate a challenge becuase a few nitwits can't figure the game out.

      • Anonymous

        At the same time, its good to give the buyer options. Perhaps the complaints are the minority, but if allowing a level skip makes the title funner for a wider audience then I see no issue. Those that are good enough or want to can play each level still one by one.

    • Anonymous

      I think it's pretty obvious from comments on... almost every other app on the store that users want easy options on their iPhone games.

  • Anonymous

    I know I'm not a developer, but with the retina display, there's NO excuse as to why it can't come out for the iPhone. Being able to zoom in and out would be crucial, but I can't see how they can write it off like that. Especially the HUGE untapped market the iPhone has for this app. Make it a universal 4.99 app, done!

    • Anonymous

      It still sounds awkward to me. If you're zoomed out, it's too small to work with, if it's zoomed in, you can't see enough of the area to work effectively. Some of the later levels require a lot quick movements and the constant zooming in and out all the time would make it pretty difficult.

    • Anonymous

      Constant zooming in and out could be really tedious but...possibly to the point where the game ends up not being an awful lot of fun. Sure, the resolution is close to the iPads but you still need the goo balls to be large enough on the screen in order to be able to grab the correct one you want reliably so there definetly is some concerns and pinch to zoom may not be that good a solution for prolonged game times.

  • Wander

    I would pay $12-$20 to have this on my iPhone. Then I volunteer to give the devs backrubs and feed them grapes. Loved the crap outta this on WiiWare, I NEED it in my pocket 🙂

  • Cowboysfreetyme

    Well concerning price I'm pretty sure they can be very successful on iphone starting at $5 and increasing like it says on their blog. It worked for Galaxy on Fire 2.

  • Bob

    C'mon TouchArcade. Big difference between fastest selling and most sold total. Re-read the 2D Boy post.

  • Anonymous


    What the HELL is a bugbear?

  • Glebaka

    thera "modified " ipad version for iphone/ipt , im playing it and its ok