Are iPad-only games a good idea?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by randyo, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. randyo

    randyo Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2011
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    Are there developers here who have done iPad-only apps and felt it was worth it?

    I'm currently working on a new game (in Cocos2d) and constructing it as Universal. From my various experiences (playing and making games), most of the time everything feels better on iPad. There's just so much more space to work with.

    Right now I am feeling the limited space of the iPhone, but I'm reluctant to consider iPad-only because of the far reduced market, and it would change how the game is approached by players as well.

    Any developers with iPad-only apps care to give insight on their experiences? Thanks!
     
  2. I'm not a developer, but as a consumer, I would like to add my 2 cents worth.

    I own a new Ipad and an Iphone 4, and am an avid gamer, constantly buying games every week. Before I had an ipad, I used to love playing on my iphone, but after I got it, I never play on my iphone anymore.

    So now, I ONLY buy games that are universal or ipad hd. Even games that are free, I rarely download games that are iphone only cause I know I will never play them.

    I was one of the first to buy the new ipad, but since it's release, I have noticed more and more people with ipads. When I first bought mine, it was rare to see others with ipads, but now it's become commonplace.

    I go once in a while to a university campus with free wifi service, and before for every 20 laptop users there would be about 1 ipad user in the common grounds area. Now there is getting to be around a 5 to 20 ratio, one day it shocked me, there were 7 ipad users and 7 laptop users.

    So my point is, there are going to be a lot more of us dual iphone/ipad users soon, very soon, and they will all want ipad games that are designed for ipads, not iphone clones.

    I think it will happen after Christmas this year. There will be a ton of new tablets coming out, and tablets such as the new ipad will be more mainstream.

    So I sure hope developers recognize this. I might be a lone wolf howling now, but wait til the wolf pack starts hunting around Christmas time. I bet you sales will increase for ipad only games. One of my favorite games Mutant Storm, a dual stick shooter came out as ipad only, And I sure hope more do.

    So I humbly ask, please developers, make some more great ipad games! I sure the hell will buy them.
     
  3. ImStrapped

    ImStrapped Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2011
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    Connector has a point! However, it doesn't take much math to realize the amount of users you'll be hopping over. Sure, the iPad user base will continue to grow but so will iPhone's.

    Some games (due to their nature) just don't belong on a small screen but if that's not your case, you have to think about the amount of work it'll take to port it onto an iPhone vs. the reward. In most cases, I believe the extra work is well worth it (which shouldn't even be that much) as there are millions of iPhone-only users out on the field. Not to mention all the iPod Touch users that could use the same iPhone version.

    Basically, you're cutting corners to save labor hours but you're cutting a whole lot more of a reach as well.
     
  4. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    well you loose the bigger market (10x)

    as for the "feeling"..

    some month ago we talked in length with some team members about this "feel" you speak about..

    the bigger screen of the ipad makes most games more enjoyable thats for sure but the questions is if you should really compare both devices..

    i think one should see them as different platforms and not compare them to each other because if its a touch based game the ipad usualy wins hands down which is logical..

    but how many users do actually use both extensive.. most use one or the other so they are used to the bigger or smaller screen.

    we debated if we need to slim down /simplifie the game on the iphone instead of offer a 1:1 representation gameplay wise..

    but this is in most cases not needed.. getting used to the big ipad screen goes fast.. especially as a developer who has the hole range of ios devices on his desk due to the nature of his "job"..

    but if you actually force yourself to spend more time with the smaller screen
    you get used to the smaller screen again and games become "playable" again..

    good example of this was flight control.. one of my fav iphone games back then.. when the ipad got its share of flight control i switched there and never looked back.. and when on the go it did felt odd to play on the small screen again, everything was cramped and so small.. but this feeling is artificial.. since i did not had this feeling before..

    so the feeling will never be the same.. but it can be pretty close..
    just optimize your gui for both devices properly and you should be able to deliver to both platforms with yourself "feel" it plays good..

    then of course don't be shy to make neccessary gui changes if you see them.. for example on another casual project that is close to being finished the iphone version uses a portrait orientation whereas the ipad uses landscape.

    it just feels more right on the "on the go" device to be in portrait for a quick game session underway.. and landscape ipad version feels right because portrait often feels like a blown up iphone version than a "real" ipad experience..

    of course all this can't be generalized and each project can be different.. but then don't shy of getting the "feel" right..

    bottom line.. rather make an iphone than an ipad game.. and best make versions for both.. and android.. and windows.. osx. xbox.. gameboy.. atari 2600 ;D
     
  5. ImStrapped

    ImStrapped Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2011
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    Haha well said :D
     
  6. randyo

    randyo Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2011
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    Haha, I can pretty much guarantee it will not appear on 2600. ;)

    I've been thinking about this because my game, like Flight Control, uses the whole screen as the interface. Currently I have been developing and testing the game on iPhone, then when I go home at night, I load it up on my iPad and mess around with it there just to compare and make sure it's decent.

    Developing iPhone then tweaking for iPad seems a much easier transition compared to vice versa. But that lack of space to maneuver with one's finger on the iPhone sometimes makes me wonder if I should just focus outright on iPad development.

    Practically, I haven't really given up on doing iPhone first, iPad second, but if there is a good enough argument otherwise, but it's always good to consider such things.
     
  7. NinthNinja

    NinthNinja Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2011
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    To release only for the iPad will be a bad move.

    Mutant Storm is an iPad only game, it had a big feature on launch (editors choice), it is priced at $2,99 and it's highest position was 15 in the US game charts.

    The game was a hit for about a week then it dropped like a rock. The money generated so far has not even payed for the time I spent on the conversion because there's a three way cut on how the money is split.

    The difference in sales from position 20 up to 15 are really huge steps but not enough to make profit... you really need to get in the top 10 and stay in those positions for about 4 weeks to make any profit what so ever.

    You could debate that Mutant Storm is the wrong type of game for the App Store and only casual games will have a chance on the iPad App Store.

    Anyway, my advice is get the game to work on the smaller screens.
     
  8. phongtt

    phongtt Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2012
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    I'm a (new) game developer. I'd like to share my $0.02 also :)

    - From my "user" point of view: I mostly agree with a member above. I have an iPhone4 and an iPad3. I play mainly on my iPad unless the game is not supported on iPad.

    - From my developer point of view: I always want to have my games available on all devices, all markets. Obviously we'll have more potential customers and the chance of them buying the game should be better. But of course the game must be great enough (unique, different,...) otherwise the effort spending on supporting more devices may not worth it.
     
  9. relsircspotcat

    relsircspotcat Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2010
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    iPad only games are ok. I much prefer gaming on my iPad than an iPhone.

    I think the iPad market is good enough compared to a year ago.
     
  10. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    @randy: just notices your siganture and you work/worked for tiger style..

    why not ask them to give you a brief look into their sales numbers so you can compare their iphone/ipad sales..
     
  11. randyo

    randyo Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2011
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    Thanks for the insight NinthNinja. That was what I was curious about. I feel like less casual apps seem more suited to the iPad, but it seems clear at this point that an iPad user has a somewhat different mindset. I have been thinking about this because I don't know how long I want a session to be for my game, and that could affect which device would make more sense.

    @mr ugly: Yup, I have a good idea of the sales, and Waking Mars has done better for us as an iPad game. But I'm reluctant to compare too far because it is a universal app and also because Waking Mars is very different from the game I'm making.

    I'm curious about iPad-only because it seems pretty rare as a market, but there's no doubt it's growing. But at this point I can pretty certainly say I will be building my game for iPhone first.
     
  12. #12 Connector, Jul 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
    Due to the market conditions right now, it would make sense to make games more for the iphone than the ipad, that I agree with. There are so many more iphone users than ipad users, so it would not make sense to not make the iphone the primary platform of a game.

    However, as others also have noted, once you have both platforms, most users would favor the ipad I would think. Not only that, but people that have both, have higher incomes, which is a demographic that sellers always like to have.

    I realize the ipad is still not commonplace yet, but at some point they will outsell laptops, and at that time people will have a desire to buy games that are more ipad only. Currently most games seem like iphone ports, and I know that many games would be a lot better if they were designed for the ipad primarily in mind.

    I have had the honor of talking extensively with Ninthninja in the Mutant Storm thread, and it is sad to see that his anticipated returns have not been met so far for this ipad only game.

    However, the game has only been out for one and a half months, has not gone through a christmas season, and the word of mouth of this game has not had time to spread. I don't know if developers have some kind of goal of an app recouping all costs within the first week of a release, and then expecting profits afterwards, but this game has room for growth in sales in the future.

    Right now, dual stick shooters like Infinity Field hd or Beat Hazard are well known names for the ipad, but Mutant Storm has not been around long enough to establish a reputation. So I would think that sales would still continue in the future compared to some games which just drop off a steep cliff, never to be seen again.

    Anyway, I sure hope my new ipad isn't just for casual games like Angry Birds, while I do enjoy my puzzle games, lately, I've been playing other games like Modern Combat 3, Asphault 7, Mutant Storm, Dariusburst, FIFA 2012, etc... These games closely rival console games, and I hope to see more of them in the future.

    Well, I hope that ipad game sales go up this christmas time, so the quality of these games will go up too. I really doubt I will ever buy an iphone only game ever again. In fact, even when offered a free iphone only game, I rarely even download these too. And it is a little depressing right now to not see many good ipad only games, cause I would love to see some more.

    Certainly the marketplace right now is the iphone, but I kind of see the Iphone game app market deteriorating into a lot of freemiums soon. I think the ipad market will resist this trend because ipad owners will spend more disposable income, and the games will become higher quality on the ipad, because the ipad can handle better games.

    Soon too, the rumored 7" ipad will come out, and I think there would be a lot more users especially women with purses, and those purses have money in them!

    So, I agree, for now I do think it is smart to focus on the iphone, but I hope that many of you like Ninthninja will get future revenues that you don't see today from ipad sales. Hopefully by Christmas time.

    Cheers!
     
  13. randyo

    randyo Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2011
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    I totally understand the desire for iPad stuff from a gamer standpoint, and I think soon you will be on the right side of the equation. I have definitely seen way more iPads around than ever before, and I also generally prefer gaming on the iPad if I'm at home.

    I'm pretty stoked for what's around the corner for iPad gaming. Yet, as a developer, I'm not ready to make that leap on iPad first. However! One of my tasks for the summer is converting my iPhone game Dead End to be universal, especially when I see requests such as yours for universal/iPad games. More customers! :)
     
  14. ColeyWoley

    ColeyWoley Active Member

    Jul 3, 2012
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    Being a universal app is pretty much the only thing we have going for us on the App store at the moment. Run Fatty Run has only been out for a week, and is invisible on the App store everywhere except on the ipad, in Australia. We've been steadily climbing thanks to that visibility though. Hopefully that'll be enough to get us featured in a few more places.
     
  15. Jeremy Alessi

    Jeremy Alessi Member

    Sep 1, 2009
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    As a developer, no way!!! The iPad store is completely broken in terms of browsing for games like the iPhone App Store (there aren't separate top download lists).
     
  16. OutSpoken

    OutSpoken Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2011
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    Owner of both iPhone 4 and iPad 3.

    Before getting the ipad, i had no issue gaming on my iphone- i loved it. But now I have to agree with the majority, I prefer playing and buying games for my iPad now. It's just an all round better experience, but saying that, there are some games i like playing on my iPhone such as Street Fighter Volt, but that's probably more to do with the point it wasnt optimised for the iPad and 2x scale looks and feels awful IMO.

    I think your best bet is to develop universal games designed for iPad 3 but able to scale down for lesser devices...

    But this could all change when the next gen iPhone is released later this year, which I plan on getting.
     

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