When to release a game

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by CycloneKick, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Hello! I'm putting the finishing touches on my second iOS game, but after my experience releasing my first game last year, I'm wondering what the best way to release the game is.

    Specifically, I set a date for my first game to be made available on the app store a few days after Apple approved it--but this caused it to be buried under a bunch of games that were approved after my game but made available before or at the same time as it. Since only one relatively unknown site gave it any coverage, my game only saw a few downloads.

    This had me wondering for a while now if I should just set my new game to be available as soon as Apple approves it. Of course I'm going to try harder than ever to get the game coverage, but if that doesn't work, what do you think would be the best way to release it?
  2. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Game Designer for Ludia
    To be honest, the day you release will (probably) have very little to do with your success. It will have negligible influence on your daily sales at best.

    Option A: Release right when Apple approves you.
    Pro: Potentially higher on the new release list for about 4.8 minutes. Then get bumped by the other 100 apps releasing that day.
    Con: Unable to coordinate marketing, reviews and whatever else you may want to plan

    Option B: Release on a planned date after Apple approves your game.
    Pro: See the Con above and change 'unable' to 'able'. Plus, if you release on a Thursday, a number of 'review' sites have a weekly round up of Thursday game releases, so there could be a chance at a small amount of visibility.
    Con: See the Pro above and change 'higher' to 'lower'.
  3. Juan_Arteaga

    Juan_Arteaga Member

    Jul 13, 2012
    Maybe the day when it comes out doesn't matter (Although all the big companies seem to release their games on a Wednesday, while almost nobody releases games on the weekend and I wonder what they know that I don't.)

    But! Is there a way to control at what hour a game comes out?

    I usually like to check the app store for new stuff in the morning and games are not put into the store in the order in which they come out, but in alphabetical order on the day they came out even if they came out hours later. Sometimes when I have really nothing to do I check the previous day releases again just to find a few games that came out yesterday but where not added to the app store until hours later after I checked that day.

    This can lead to games getting buried in the App store.

    If you can't control the time when your game comes out, this means you can potentially get screwed if your game is put in the store hours after a lot of potential customers checked the new releases.
  4. Devcade

    Devcade Member

    Feb 23, 2012
    Why do you think your experience will be any different the second time around?

    Apple has only one obligation: to sell your app on the AppStore. You have to
    market it and advertise it yourself.

    If you do nothing, then your app will go straight to the graveyard in less than 3 days.
    It's your choice. Plan or no plan.
  5. David Phan

    David Phan Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2012
    President & Producer
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the popularity of the Wednesday release window is due in large part to getting featured in "New & Noteworthy" in the following week. I recall some posts stating that launching on Wednesday gave devs the best chance over the next few days to gain traction towards Apple making a call on Friday or over the weekend to identify "New & Noteworthy" candidates.

    Anyways, that's what I remember about this whole Wednesday release thing. Am I smoking crack or is this somewhat accurate?

  6. Jorge.

    Jorge. Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2012
    Game Developer/Designer
    Miraflores, Lima, PerĂº
    Hi CycloneKick,

    As mentioned above by Blackharon, you can choose when to release your app (after it has been approved).

    I did some research on what day is a good day, and this is what I found out:

    - According to this article, Sunday is the best day to release and app: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/19/sunday-is-the-best-day-to-launch-your-mobile-app/

    - Other people say that thursday is the best day, since the New & Noteworthy are announced that day (but I've heard a lot of developers mentioned that their apps were selected for N&N weeks or even months after they launched them, so probably it doesn't matter when you released your app).

    - Other people say that tuesday is the best day, because the press is more active that day (most press people don't work on the weekends and tuesdays they are free and in need of stories ... but in the age of bloggers, I don't know how true this is).

    Personally, I am planning to release my game on a Sunday (sales are 20% higher on that day), especially since my app is geared to kids/family and I assume Sunday would be the best day for them.

    What I did hear is that the first 4 days after your app is launched are the most important, and you should try to get as many downloads and reviews as you can during those days, so you are more visible to the buyers and to Apple (and have more chances of being featured).

  7. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    I wouldn't stress this too much.

    We had an amazing coordinated launch and got loads of great reviews from the press all dotted around the days immediately following the release.

    A month later we're out of the top 200 in any case, despite a metacritic of 91 for most of that month (88 now). I think it would've done more good to magically time those great reviews to one every three days spread across the entire first month.

    People make too much out of a strong launch, it's better to keep some visibility for longer instead of an explosion at the start. Think about it, a punter sees a good review on TA, he's gonne buy or avoid based on that, there's no point showing him another 5 star review. Better to catch someone else later with that second one.

    Of course how you do this is another matter entirely, I'm just saying don't stress it.
  8. PikPok

    PikPok Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    We pretty much always release on a Thursday. It makes it easy to coordinate and roll out the PR and marketing, positions titles well for possible Apple feature slots, and leverages our existing games to cross promote from most effectively given usage leading into and through the weekend is high.

    We'll be releasing another game this coming Thursday :)
  9. Balloon Loons

    Balloon Loons Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    I would say only one thing. If you know the big boys release on a wednesday or Thursday then stay away from those days. Your game will be drowned out by the big names. Imagine releasing your game on the same day as bastion? No one will even look at your game.

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