is ios development dead?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by justking14, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. justking14

    justking14 Member

    Sep 8, 2014
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    #1 justking14, Jan 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
    I've been making ios apps for about 2 years now, but none of my apps, even ones I've put months into have ever sold more than 5 purchases except for my first app. My last two apps, which I spent an entire semester on didn't sell a single copy. Is it still possible to succeed or should I move to another market?
    Last two apps:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/little-blue-and-the-wolf-too/id954147731?ls=1&mt=8
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-midget-lumberjack!!!/id957264038?ls=1&mt=8

    First app:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tales-legendary-elda/id788772808?ls=1&mt=8
     
  2. Stingman

    Stingman Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
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    The Bay Area
    No iOS development is not dead. The competition is fierce though. You have to ask yourself : What am I doing different? What's my game got that others don't? What's my marketing edge? You need to treat this as a business... so share what it is you do to help generate buzz for your products and then maybe you will get feedback on how to improve. I would suggest making a free version of your best game and seeing if you can get some downloads.
     
  3. Touchmint

    Touchmint Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2011
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    #3 Touchmint, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
    Dev is far from dead but unless your game sticks you theres very little chance of anyone ever seeing it.

    Think about it where have you done promotions? If it didnt reach a ton of people what are the chances anyone finds it on the app store? There are like 700k other games. How would anyone possibly even find your app besides scrolling down 100-200 games on a random search. Your games don't look bad (although they do look very similar to each other) but what sets them apart? You arnt even using all your screenshots and there is no preview video that I see either. Keep in mind you are going up against professional teams of "real" development companies you gotta do something to standout.

    "Hobby" game development on iOS might be dead you really need to go all in to stand a chance. If you really love it and can go fulltime you stand a better chance. I quit my job a little over a year ago to focus on app development and it was rough at first for sure. After a rough stretch I am able to pay my bills and keep making games so thats all i ask for.
     
  4. Saucepolicy

    Saucepolicy Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2009
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    Crispy ex-game developer
    This is going to be blunt, I apologize in advance. It is not meant to belittle you or your efforts. I'm just an old, cranky game dev. :)

    First off, a reality check: no one cares how much time and effort you put into any creative endeavor. You are not owed success. It's true for Rockstar, Blizzard and Bungie just as much as it's true for you. Make games because you love to make games but it's the last thing I would recommend to anyone who wanted to get rich quick. You're about five years too late to the AppStore Gold Rush.

    You simply can't expect to release a game unceremoniously into the AppStore and get downloads. That's like dropping a pebble into the grand canyon. It's a hard lesson for fledgling game developers, most of whom labor under the delusion that "if I build it, they will come." It's simply not true.

    Furthermore, your click-through rate on an app is directly attributable to the quality of your icon. I'm completely serious. Yes, that's shallow and sad but when you're staring at a list of 100+ games that are released in a given day, games like yours may be fun but I would never click on the app page. Your icon looks like an afterthought and I believe you've underestimated how much that has shot you in the foot. There's simply too much competition.

    Helpful reading:

    http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/articles/marketing-your-indie-game-the-single-most-important-thing-that-no-one-knows-how-to-do--gamedev-7157
    http://www.apptamin.com/blog/app-marketing-strategy/
    http://www.indiegamegirl.com/how-to-market-your-app/
    http://dancounsell.com/articles/why-you-need-a-great-app-icon
    https://www.apptweak.com/learn/9-tips-to-make-your-app-icon-stand-out/

    Success is completely possible, but making a game is just step one.
     
  5. Stingman

    Stingman Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
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    The Bay Area
    What he says is right. If you are in this to just make money well I suggest studying the top charts, testing and playing high grossing apps, and also developing free to play. I also suggest getting a mobile publisher or being ready to promote and market your game for hours upon hours every day. Money isn't everything when it comes to making games, but if you are striving to do this for a living then you need to come at it with a strategy to make money, and these are just a few basic tips.

    If you just want to make great games then no one is stopping you. Just don't think you are owed success any more than the next person, even if you have the most brilliant game ever made. I'm willing to bet lots of gems go undiscovered in any industry.
     
  6. Destined

    Destined Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2013
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    I suggest you aren't offering enough for a paid app. Icon, screenshots and description all leave me little desire to download. As mentioned even getting someone there is hard.

    I disagree there isn't room for just putting things on the store. I have really done little to no advertising for my apps (and they certainly lacking some things to be super popular) and each one has thousands of downloads (they all have free versions). I made my first app paid and sold like 15 copies and then made it free and had hundreds of downloads quickly. Yeah that amount of downloads isn't going to make you much but I would rather lots of people be playing than just a handful. At least you get to see if people like your game!

    Don't get me wrong you need to market every way possible but as someone who makes games for a hobby I really get lazy when it comes to that part (partly cause even if I am willing to spend it doesn't seem clear what to do).
     
  7. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    You're making very simple games with bad graphics, worse icons, with premium pricing, while doing no marketing... And wondering why you're not getting any downloads?
     
  8. justking14

    justking14 Member

    Sep 8, 2014
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    I do want to clarify something. The reason little blue and stop the midget look similar is because they are the same game. After little blue failed to sell I thought it might be because of a dozen reasons including, bad artwork, too long of a description (I shortened the description for little blue as well), bad icon, and not releasing it on Sunday so I redid all the artwork (mainly just worked from spritesheets of legend of Zelda link to the past), changed the story, and submitted it. I thought it looked a lot better than little blue when I was done, especially the icon. I don't know how I could have made the icon look any better.
     
  9. Stingman

    Stingman Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    249
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    App / Game Developer
    The Bay Area
    Based on this comment I suggest you start off trying to obtain an internship working for a game development company, particularly mobile games as that is what you are interested in. I believe you said you were student? Well I think it would do you wonders. If you don't know how to make the icon look any better then maybe you should consider hiring a graphic designer or making an effort to get into the industry in another way. Take this as constructive criticism and you might just find your calling! Obviously your presentation and marketing is very lacking.
     
  10. Stroffolino

    Stroffolino Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
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    I would add that "a few months" is not very long to work on a game.

    Unless he's got money to burn, I wouldn't advise him to hire a graphics designer.

    These days, an app really needs an Apple feature to have a chance of making money. For all this talk about "marketing" I'd love to hear examples of successful apps that didn't pull that off. There are 26,000 apps submitted to Apple every week, which is insane if you think about it.

    From what I can see with my kids and coworkers, most people just look at Apple's curated "Best New Apps" list to see what's new each week. If you don't make that cut, you're probably going to end up all but invisible, won't chart, and won't make much money. There are obviously exceptions - if you have a hit game under your belt, you may be able to leverage its audience to get downloads for a spinoff.

    I've been very fortunate with Card Shark Collection, enough to subsidize my hobby. If I manage to put out a game that catches on, great, but for me that's just a bonus on top of the pleasure I get doing game development.



     
  11. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    Marketing is vital to get Apple to the point that they notice your game to feature it. The first thing anyone at Apple will tell you is to not rely on them 100% for your game to be a success. Marketing and generating a buzz is the best way to get noticed by everyone including the Apple featuring team. This whole "I submitted an app where's my money" thing hasn't been true since about August of 2008.
     
  12. RossmanBrothersGames

    RossmanBrothersGames Well-Known Member

    Eli thanks for your insight. When you talk about marketing are you referring to paid ads and decent marketing budgets, or more putting yourself out there on social media, forums, and pursuing journalist for reviews?
     
  13. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    All of the above and more, anything in your power you can do to get people to pay attention to you and your projects.
     
  14. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Game Designer for Ludia
    Canada
    (emphasis mine)
     

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  15. justking14

    justking14 Member

    Sep 8, 2014
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    I have posted announcements of my last few apps on here with redeamable codes, hoping to get some reviews, but no luc . Can anyone recommend any other forums to give out codes on?
     
  16. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member

    If you can't get people excited giving your game away for free you need to go back to the drawing board.
     
  17. Stroffolino

    Stroffolino Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
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    Which I think is a better answer than suggesting developers should do "all of the above" including paid marketing. You don't have to go all in. In many cases, it's pointless - no amount of marketing will help a game that isn't compelling relative to the competition.

    The upcoming games thread seems a fine place to troll for feedback, and get a sense of how much effort is worth sinking into a new app relatively early in development. The amount of feedback in the upcoming games threads seems a good predictor of how well received an eventual release will be.
     
  18. NeWa_Studios

    NeWa_Studios Active Member

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Northern VA
    I honestly think it is dead due to the amount of games available in the app store. I did everything I can to market my game but there seemed to be no interest in it. I have to admit, they're really fun and the designs are amazing. I guess there's only a market for games like candy crush or Clash of Clans. Social network games :/
     
  19. Destined

    Destined Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2013
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    There plenty of other types of games which have had success, even text based games.
     
  20. coolpepper43

    coolpepper43 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Aug 31, 2012
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    On the toilet
    It's true, even I completely passed on getting it free. And that's telling you something. I'm sorry if that came out really mean, I was just trying to explain as a gamer I agree with Eli.
     

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