So many good stories. What about the bad ones?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by joelmejiaganan, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. lithiastudios

    lithiastudios Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Thanks for the insight. It does seem like if you're putting a pretty basic game out there that you're pretty much looking to take things by chance due to the # of games out there. So it sounds like even in a relatively simple game, it has to be quite polished and refined to have a reasonable shot.

    I don't mind adding extra polish to my games, I just have trouble sometimes initially figuring out what the polish should be. :) I think it helps to look at some of the top games out there and get some pointers from how they're doing things. (eye candy, sound/music, gameplay features, etc.) At least until you've got a few games under your belt.
  2. PoV

    PoV Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2008
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Yep. Look at top games. Or even better, look at games for DS, PSP, Xbox Live, PSN and Wii Ware.

    They should look like that. :D
  3. ChaoticBox

    ChaoticBox Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Toronto Canada
    I had the same problem with websites/reviewers labelling Pinch 'n Pop! a "casual puzzle" game - while at the same time complaining it was too fast and hurt their fingers :confused:

    My story is neither bad nor good (if "good" means making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month). Apple featured Pinch 'n Pop! on the "What's New" section a couple weeks after release and it brought in decent money while that lasted, but quickly fell off the radar afterwards. Getting high visibility on the device is absolutely the most important factor - Pinch 'n Pop! is still in the "New & Noteworthy" section in the Games section in iTunes (in the US and some other Countries), but that area gets little attention by users - the device is where the action is.

    Pinch 'n Pop! made enough money to pay for its development and to encourage new development, but only because I'm a one-man shop. My outlook would be different if I had to split revenue with an artist and/or sound person, or if Apple hadn't featured it for a short time.
  4. PoV

    PoV Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2008
    London, Ontario, Canada
    I'll 2nd that. My earnings could not support a 2nd person on the project. I developed Smiles entirely myself, code, art, and audio. I also have a really low burn rate. Enough for me, but it's a good thing I don't have any kids. :eek:
  5. Anders

    Anders Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2009
    Co-owner and CTO at Color Monkey
    The problem is the way the top 10 and top 100 lists work. It appears that they are only based on number on sales, which is why so many 1 or 2 star rated apps are so high. No name dropping here.

    I still don't understand why people rather buy five 1$ crap apps rather than one good and polished 5$ app. It takes time and effort ( = $$$) to make something polished.

    I wish Apple would differentiate between cheap "home made" apps and premium apps, and one way would be to have different lists for different price ranges, say one for 1$ and up, and one for $5 and up. And also base the lists on how long the apps were installed and user rating instead of just sales.
  6. joelmejiaganan

    Jul 24, 2008
    Wedding Videographer and iPhone Developer
    Santo Domingo, Rep├║blica Dominicana
    That's what I asked for !!!

    This is exactly what i was asking for. I want to know what are the worst case scenarios that you know about good or bad games, so we can know what is the worst that we can do if all goes wrong.
  7. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    Apr 19, 2008
    Worst case scenario is like a no sales to a few sales a day.

    Mouse House was down to that level before it got boosted by some reviews.

  8. lightbrush

    lightbrush Member

    Feb 6, 2009
    Project Assistant (teaching computing to the disab
    Cambridge, UK
    I'm only an independent programmer writing games in my spare time so not sure how much of interest my numbers are. I've released a few games, all of which sank without trace. My main seller is Basketball which sells about 25 copies per day on average; the others usually manage just a few sales between them.

    Admittedly though - my apps have had VERY mixed reviews - either loved by a few or hated by many!

    I'm still plugging away at it though - I'd really like to be able to give up my day job one day!

  9. jasonf

    jasonf Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2008
    Just to give some quantitative feedback to this discussion: Cryptograms and Theseus (both $3.99) sell about 5 copies each per day on average. This has been pretty consistent for the past few weeks. So I get about $28 per day from game sales. I would consider this a "bad story" in regards to the amount of time spent working on the games. Good thing it's not my day job :eek:

    Theseus Lite had zero impact on sales (neither positive or negative, it was approximately 5 sales per day before lite was released). I'm thinking about pulling it, or charging $0.99 for it.
  10. MetaNick

    MetaNick Well-Known Member

    Juggler had, at it's peak, about 20 sales a day. That quickly dropped to about 2-5. Then we did the update, got 20+ sales a day for 3 or 4 days before it bottomed out again. Then we decided to release Juggler Free for grins and giggles and now we get about 2 sales a day on Juggler, but we're getting about 1300-1500 downloads a day of Juggler Free so while we're not making much money, we're sitting at #10 in the Family Top 100 Free list which is kinda cool. :)

    Once the Flip 3 update is ready and that goes live, hopefully it will have a better tail. Otherwise I'm working on three new game ideas, and PhotoTalk just came out, so I'm hoping to make my living by aggregating a lot of small selling apps/games. :p
  11. Rohan Dalal

    Rohan Dalal Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2009
    same with zombie mansion
    it was all over the news (touch arcade), but it barely got anywhere in the appstore
  12. indyraider4

    indyraider4 Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    I can't believe it isnt doing better. I have recommended it to all my friend and we all love it. If zen bound makes a splash (which I hope it will) maybe people will begin to notice it. I rememeber reading about SPiN and thinking, that sounds weird, and a few days later it was the first app I ever put into my dock. It is really incredible and NEVER lags or crashes on me. I wish you all the best with your future development because I know you only put out the best apps.
  13. ibelongintheforums

    ibelongintheforums Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    yea, SPiN is great. it seems if your not featured by apple or in the top 100 or EA, Pangea, or gameloft or freeverse..............then you wont make tons of cash

    except if your the blimp pilots.........for some reason theres are popular
  14. Ivan001

    Ivan001 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2008
    $28 a week is a bad story? $5 a week is a good week for Dynamate ($0.99) even with getting 4-5 star reviews!

    I'd love to do another update to Dynamate but I know that unless it does get featured by Apple (unlikely) then it will only bring in another $30 or so.

    My sales so far are around the 900 mark which is unfortunately split amongst the different regions. This means that since launch in October, Apple hasn't paid me a $1 yet!

    Surely that's more of a bad story :(
  15. Morti

    Morti Well-Known Member

    #35 Morti, Feb 24, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
    Quite interesting thread. I'd like to add my numbers to it.

    Before my first 2 games I developed 5 apps in objective-c (the games are done with Unity). The best selling app (before games) I made was "The Big Red Button" which sold over weeks 100-140 copies per day. Meanwhile the sales are down to around 5-10 copies per day.

    The second-best app was "The Ultimate Sound F/X Jukebox" which sold about 30-50 per day over weeks and then dropped to 0-5 per day (a lot of similar apps appeared).

    The other apps, mostly timers of all sort do sell 0-4 per day (Chain Timer, Tea Timer, Parallel Timer).

    The games are a different beast. First game was Bubble Bang which started with around 120 copies per day and then declined slowly to 40-50 and is now around 10-20 per day.
    The Lite version of Bubble Bang had in it's peak times around 6500 downloads per day, but didn't bring a lot of conversion for the sales version. Meanwhile over 320.000 copies of BB Lite have been downloaded. I'm releasing soon a new version with Admob support in it.

    Big Fun Racing had a great start with 915 copies the first day (thanks to Arn for featuring it on TA), but declined then ultra fast to 700, 500, 300, 180, 120 and is now at 80 per day, but still declining.

    Over the month sept. to dec. I had around 3500 sales per month total, january with 2600 and feb. until now 4500 due to the release of Big Fun Racing. I would not consider this as a big success. Yes, at least it paid the investment costs for artists and software packages (Unity iPhone Advanced for example is 1499 US$) and a tiny bit left over for me, but not anywhere in a range that I could reduce day time working hours or start fulltime on games.

    I think unless you get a #10 hit app/game, it's really hard getting some money out of it, esp. on the long run. What I can currently see is a general declining sales trend. Might be specific to me, but that was what I noticed. What I often hear meanwhile of iPhone users is: "Another app/game? I have already x screens of stuff" and poeple said they look less often into the app store.

  16. ibelongintheforums

    ibelongintheforums Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    i thought id say to the devs of theuses, big fun racing, and dynamite.

    you guys did a great job with your games. im sorry they havent sold well. they are great games.
  17. tiptopworkshop

    Feb 10, 2009

    Speaking as a dev whose app has seen all sorts of traffic, I'd like to add that a little promotion goes a long way. It's easy to create a low-budget, narrowly focused Facebook or Google ad that only costs you money when someone follows it through to the app store. With 23,000 apps available now, it's hard to submit it to Apple and hope for the best.

    Try an ad for a week and set it up to charge you per click. Spend a max of 10 dollars a day. Sign up for the iTunes referral account so you can track conversions to see if it really is paying off. Perhaps not every click will lead to a sale, but at least you're getting the impressions; it can't hurt to get your app in front of the eyes of hundreds of thousands of iPhone users.
  18. joelmejiaganan

    Jul 24, 2008
    Wedding Videographer and iPhone Developer
    Santo Domingo, Rep├║blica Dominicana
    So, as we can see all we need is a good game and a little luck. Staying in the top 100 is a must in order to get good cash.

    If we see the games that have stood in the top 10, definitely the price is not that decisive, because plenty of them are around $4. They just are games that people like to play and not only hyped or good looking games. No matter how much money you invest in a game, if the game is not good enough it will sink quickly.

    We can see the case of Rolando, a very good game, hyped a lot and revolutionary, but if you see the reviews, people just say that it is not the last Coca Cola in the dessert. We can see the case of the unreleased Metal Gear Touch; The game may have the biggest budget, but people already have starting complaining about how the gameplay seems boring and if this is the case when it finally gets released, it will not sell well.

    If you want to be in thehappy side, make your game PLAYABLE AND ENJOYABLE by us.
  19. Well, Petri has never done particularly well. I think I've sold about 100 total. In retrospect, releasing it just before the holidays was a big mistake. None of the review sites were updating themselves, and, once they did, they were too backlogged to pay much attention.

    On the other hand, I have some thoughts about this: I'm a grad student in history who programmed the game mostly over long weekends, teaching myself OpenGL along the way. It was pretty fun and I learned a lot doing it.

    It got some mixed reviews, but many people who played it really like it.

    Plus, I did manage to turn my programming experience into a real job. So in that sense, it hasn't been a bad story at all.

    I still believe in Petri, and I still think its fundamental gameplay is solid. I can still say with confidence that there is nothing on the App Store quite like it, and who knows? Maybe when the next update comes out (and it will be a huge update, affecting every aspect of the play), it might get another chance to turn some heads.
  20. ravenvii

    ravenvii Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Well, yeah, the game sucked, that's why. ;)

    Hearing all the stories here, made me wonder. If exposure in the App Store is so important, how did games for the consoles become successful? Was store browsing that important, or was it their online presence, presence in news/review sites and the such?

    Basically what I'm saying is there should be an alternative in advertising than the App Store itself. Maybe think of the App Store as or or whatnot - advertise it and people'll look for it?

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