Contact review sites during holiday season or wait?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by HEAT9, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. HEAT9

    HEAT9 Member

    Jul 20, 2014
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    #1 HEAT9, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2014
    I just finished developing my original mini-game a few days ago and I am now waiting for review by Apple. I made no effort marketing my previous apps, and have come to realize it's importance. But since this is my first foray into marketing, I had some questions and found a guide. It basically says I should send out promo codes to review websites 2 weeks before a Thursday release to get previews.
    I am anticipating an acceptance from Apple a few days before Christmas. My question is will US review site employees still be working during this coming holiday season and be able to see my emails offering promo codes, or will they be off-duty and my emails deeply buried by the time they come back after the new year? In other words, when do you suggest I start contacting review sites?
     
  2. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    You answered your own question

    It said to contact review sites 2 weeks before the game is launched. I presume your app will be out before the app store closes so thats less than week away. Have you not contacted anyone yet ?

    A lot of people will be off for the holidays, not all but its crazy not to get your game ready for the major launch before Xmas and before the app store closes. In the next week there'll be lots of new releases. If you havent sent out any promo codes yet (despite that article saying you should do) i think you're too late.

    (Removed the URL as it looked a bit spammy)
     
  3. HEAT9

    HEAT9 Member

    Jul 20, 2014
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    #3 HEAT9, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
    Maybe its better to rephrase my questions to 'when should I publish my game?'. I submitted the app for review 2 days ago so I cant send out promo codes until its accepted, which for my last app happened in a record 4 days, or it could be the usual 12 days which will kill my chances of releasing before the 22nd closing day. So no I have not contacted anyone yet due to lack of promo codes, which I assume is necessary for preview consideration.
    If my app gets accepted after the holiday season, I'll just follow the standard formula of delaying its launch by 2 weeks and contacting press. However, if I get an acceptance before the 22nd, should I publish it immediately and contact the press about it simultaneously? or maybe that is a horrible time to reach them since will be off or only a few employees available... I would like to know what you would do if your in my situation.
    The game itself is the one I am most proud of after 3 years of trying and I am sure it will be successful to some degree if I get this marketing thing right, so that is very important to me.
    EDIT: I read your response again and you say many apps will be released in the next week, well maybe for a single unknown developer like me I wont get any coverage even if my app is great, so maybe releasing now is a bad idea after-all? sorry for the million questions in a single post.
    EDIT 2: I have the app ready for Android and WP8 too, am not sure when to release these.
     
  4. Destined

    Destined Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2013
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    You should already be advertising your apps on forums. It is the easiest and free way to gauge interest. If people love it will help you get traction to get reviews on those sites.

    If you are lone developer don't expect reviews by just emailing sites if you don't have some contacts. You will be lucky to get one.
     
  5. HEAT9

    HEAT9 Member

    Jul 20, 2014
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    I fear showing my app to developers more than a week before release. Internet guides keep saying not to worry about the idea getting stolen, but the app store is prove of the opposite. Every successful game gets cloned to death and some others have the clones reach the store before the originals and beat them (threes, ridiculous fishing and so on). I found many development teams that specialize in cloning small games and do well (check windows phone store). This is especially true for mini-games whose core can be cloned in a couple of days, which is the genre I work in. I don't stumble upon a good original concept everyday, and I am putting a lot of hope in my upcoming app, so I am very reluctant to show it a full month before the possible release and just hope the internet is full of nice guys...
     
  6. Destined

    Destined Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2013
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    Then you are unlikely to get much traction and will be beaten by the person who clones it and uses their PR network to crush you.

    Try not to put too much hope on it, only leads to disappointment.

    You need to get that feedback before release or someone will just release the same game with your flaws fixed.
     
  7. Touchmint

    Touchmint Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2011
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    I am on the fence with this too. I am currently in review not even sure if it will get done in time but plan on releasing on xmas.

    Will the xmas boost be worth not getting reviews by some sites since I am late to the game?

    Think reviews would mind reviewing a test build (via testflight) rather than a promo code?
     
  8. dakeese

    dakeese Member

    Feb 28, 2013
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    Successful games get cloned. Your game can't be successful before it's even released. I would not worry about getting cloned.

    Look at Braid and Fez....very unique game ideas that were announced way in advance of release. Did anyone clone them before release and take any of their business?

    If the Flappy Bird developer had announced his game really early, would it have been cloned like crazy before release? I don't think so...it's only because of its post-release success that it got cloned.
     
  9. Alda Games

    Alda Games Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2014
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    Well, about the review sites, according some experience, you shouldn´t care if these sites will review you or not.

    The thing is that if you send something via form or info@ or something like that, you can be sure that if there will be any respond it will be some offer for payed review. Which means it is really hard to get review without some direct contac or money. And usually, paying for these reviews is wasting of money.
     
  10. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    If you're not generating pre-release buzz yourself, your game launch has likely already failed.
     
  11. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Isle of Wight, UK
    Never a truer word spoken.

    We realised we were rubbish at doing this sort of stuff, so paid a promoter to do it for us. They don't guarantee results either, but you have to do *something*.

    And don't do it around christmas unless you are Ubisoft etc.
     
  12. Stroffolino

    Stroffolino Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
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    Even unsuccessful games get cloned.

    Karate Fighter (itself a a remake of the NES kung fu master) was cloned not once, but twice. The developer even stole original music/sound assets from Karate Fighter.

    Karate Fighter:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/karate-fighter/id308059578?mt=8

    Clone#1:
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/iwar-town-fighter/id455275341?mt=8

    Now, I didn't bother complaining - it wasn't like Karate Fighter was making much money, and I would have been a hypocrite to complain about a clone of a remake, IMO. But it does happen.

    I think your point is well taken. There are many examples of interesting games that are publicized months or years in advance, building buzz.

    As Eli says, if a game announcement/teaser doesn't get much buzz, it's likely to fail anyway. Better to learn that early and fail fast, than to keep investing time/money into a game only to fail later.


     
  13. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    I wish more people understood this.
     
  14. HEAT9

    HEAT9 Member

    Jul 20, 2014
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    Thanks all for informative replies. I conclude from your posts that I should not publish the game during the upcoming holiday period. My app is still waiting for review. My plan is to wait till Apple accepts it, then in the first 2 weeks of January I'll start showing it off to forums and review sites simultaneously with some promo codes, till the day of release in mid Jan I guess. Some posts suggest that review sites wont pay me any attention unless I got contacts (which I dont), but I am really hoping that its untrue if an app is truly fresh and good, they will respond. The other option is contacting a publisher like ketchapp (since my game is a mini-game), but I never dealt with publishers before and am afraid since the first time at anything in life tends to be a failure, and I don't want to fail now. I also hate the feeling of not owning my app. I see that a good portion of the apps in Chillingo's catalog never reached the top charts, so it will be even worse if I lose control of my app to a publisher and they fail to make it visible in the top charts for at least a day.
    In the end I hope that even if I fail to secure any publicity initially, a good game will find its own way eventually, maybe a few months after release. I will test this belief soon I guess and learn something..
     
  15. Aden Apps

    Aden Apps Active Member

    Nov 25, 2014
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    Sending promo codes to review sites could have some traction if at least one of the following conditions prevails:

    1) you get lucky
    2) you're a big publisher
    3) your game is really really good

    Otherwise, as an indie developer, it's best to send out the codes, but release the game anyway, without waiting too long. The best gauge of success is the initial interest/response from the first few downloads. Good luck!
     
  16. Touchmint

    Touchmint Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2011
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    Doesnt look like my app will get accepted by Apple in time but maybe thats best so I have time to do more marketing etc.
     
  17. OnlyJoe

    OnlyJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2013
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    If you are a small fry developer. Then release your game in January. In previous years there has been a low patch of quality content during this time. Basically because everyone wants to get their game out for Christmas, so they don't have anything left to release in Jan. Over Christmas there are more people using the app store, but there is also a whole lot more new apps for people to choose, and a lot of big players doing everything they can to promote their winner. So unless you have an amazing marketing system in place, you will probably do better waiting.

    If you have no marketing systems, then it probably doesn't matter when you release it. Because you will get no results before and after Christmas, as no one will ever find your game. And just to give you some idea of the number of download you need to actually get noticed on the App Store: We released an App that got to position 1168 in the US overall chart, it required 4,923 download in one day to get that high. So to get to a position where you are actually noticed, like top 100, is going to take a hell of a lot of downloads, probably over 40,000 in a single day.
     
  18. Touchmint

    Touchmint Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2011
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    Good call on that I figured it was somewhat of a tradeoff releasing around xmas. I understand more people will be downloading and spending money so it might make sense for a paid app more than free to release during that frame. I also understand the store gets spammed with crap xmas games so there is a ton of clutter.

    This also brings up a good point that some of the review sites might take a look at smaller titles since not that many are launching in Jan as well.

    Anyone know of a good press release template? Last game launch mine was horrible so I didnt even get a response from anyone but toucharcade and like two others despite reaching as high as 3rd overall in rp. (Pretty sure the TA review was 90% of the reason my game was a success haha)
     

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