Why bother making updates?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by lazypeon, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. lazypeon

    lazypeon Well-Known Member
    Patreon Bronze

    I was reading an article today on ReadWriteWeb:

    "But even still, refreshes provided by updates may not be enough. Flurry is seeing a trend that, to be honest, was surprising: only 10% of users are updating their applications after download. That means new features pushed out via an update aren't being seen by a large group of the app's users. "


    I believe it. Looking at my iPod Touch right now, I have 25 updates available that I haven't downloaded. There are a few reasons I don't:

    a) The update is for an application I don't use or rarely use
    b) The update says it will erase data (high scores / progress)
    c) The update is for 'bug fixes' and I haven't had any problems

    There's probably a few more reasons too. Point is, if people aren't downloading updates, what's the point? The best reason I can think of (and I don't fully understand how this works) is that updates boost your application's visibility in search. I assume it causes your app to show up as 'new' in some lists, which drives sales from new customers.

    I certainly appreciate free updates, but I'd say I upgrade less than 25% of the applications I have, including those I paid for.

    Any thoughts / anecdotes?
  2. WellSpentYouth

    WellSpentYouth Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    iPhone programmer
    App Tech Studios, USA
    Here are the reasons that I update:

    1. It is fun :p
    2. It gets it to the new list
    3. people like it
    4. when new people buy it, they are buying the version, so in a way, all of the new users get the update
  3. Well yes, from a developer point of view, the update will show up in the RSS feeds such as AppShopper etc, which will help sales- especially if the update is listed as something substantial.
    There have been comments in the past on here, that certain devs have took the pee, and constantly released "bug fixes" updates just to stay in the RSS spotlight so to speak.
    Me? I will update mine, but I will make sure the updates are worthwhile. That way people will look at the update and know it will be worth updating for. However, I can also see why updates come out that just show "improved performance" "reduced memory usage" etc, because we as devs want to make sure our app has the best chance to play properly on everyones device.
    What's also good about updates is certain devs, such as myself and many others on this forum, listen to feedback and respond to that feedback by perhaps incorporating those ideas in the update.
  4. allenp

    allenp Member

    Mar 8, 2009
    Information Architecture
    Hanover, NH
    I was just thinking about updates this last weekend, so I have some small things to share - I think the primary reason a developer would release updates is to create additional awareness of their product via the newest released list and the sites/rss feeds that list those updates. I do think getting on top of those lists drives more sales, and I'm actually working on a new update to my game this week for that reason.

    From a user's perspective updates are risky - we can't rollback to a previous version and if something is wrong it will take another week before a fix is released. I think for people to want to update there is going to need to be new content and not just bug fixes. I have seen at least a few reviews of other apps where people complained about not enough updates - so I'm not sure if they bought something with the expectation that they were getting in at the ground level cheap and more would be coming to that game/app?

    It would be interesting to know how many of those updating/not updating were free vs paid as there might be a different level of interest for those two groups. Ultimately when people download a game they are asking us to entertain them - and unless the update is going to do that they will pass.
  5. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5 Well-Known Member

    Actually you can...just keep a backup of your iTunes library. If the update is fubar, then delete it, copy over the old version, and resync.

  6. grid

    grid Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    iPhone Game Dev
    Minneapolis, MN
    Wow. I'm totally the exact opposite. It honestly hadn't even occurred to me that anyone would NOT update their applications. Don't you get a perverse sense of satisfaction from making that red flag (the number of updates you have pending) go away? I keep my app store icon in the dock, so it would probably be even more annoying for me if it always had the red number next to it.

    There is absolutely no reason for b) to ever happen. If an app says that in the update notes, it's just lazy programming as far as I'm concerned. I've actually never seen that, although I've heard rumor that early on there was actually a bug where NSUserDefaults would get reset on app update, so at least a few of the programmers who started in the app store from day one had this happen to their apps.

    As for b), just because you haven't noticed a bug, doesn't mean it isn't totally crippling. You might play to the next level and suddenly find the game doesn't work! (or something.)

    So, in my opinion, a) is the only valid reason in your list above. Again, my desire to keep everything updated overrides a lack of interest in apps I don't use that often. (Also, I run into the 148 app limit about once a week, so I'm usually deleting things I haven't used in a long time on a fairly regular basis.)
  7. I love updates, especially when the dev puts in more features. I think it's a great way to increase the life of an app and keep people interested in it. It also fosters good will among purchasers. I've bought some apps that aren't worth it, and haven't been updated with any improvements, and now I'll never buy another app from those devs. I've also bought some sub-standard apps that were improved significantly by updates, and now I'm willing to support those devs in the future.
  8. mrkgoo

    mrkgoo Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    An app that has a strong (not necessarily super frequent) update history shows that the developer is interested in their own app, and helps convince me.
  9. Vester

    Vester Well-Known Member

    so people wont play ur game for like 2 mins and regret the purchase and give it 1 star >:l
  10. coconutbowling

    coconutbowling Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2008
    There are some people who update just becuase they are annoyed of the red bubble at the corner of the app store. Isn't that a good enough reason?
  11. LBG

    LBG SeƱor Member

    Apr 19, 2009
    nada ilegal
    31.560499, -111.904128
    The a huge part of the beauty of the app store is the update feature. No other system allows you to update apps se easily and effortlessly. Whenever I get a load of updates, I simply hit the 'update all button' regardless of what is in the update and all of the updates are downloaded. Well, for good games, sometimes I look at the update features on the app page so that I know what is new or different (sometimes it can be less obvious if you don't look).

    I have never come across a paid update (I didn't even know they existed).

    I have never had any trouble downloading apps.

    App downloads can add cool new features, new leves etc, so why dont download?

    Bug fixes - I never have any problems with bugs, even on the biggest 3D games. But I still download the updates, why not?

    So I don't see what the big problem is? The ability to download updates is what makes th app store so good and original. I mean, if you went and bought a console game, that's the end of it, you can only play what is on the game (unless you buy another game). But with the app store, games can be updated and have new features and levels added, which I really like.

    And about the paid updates, is that only with the iPod Touch? Or are the developers/publishers responsible for them? Because I have never come across an update that costs money.
  12. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5 Well-Known Member

    Any minor version updates (1.0 -> 1.1, etc.) are free. Any major version updates (1.x -> 2.0) aren't free. Or at least not necessarily free...I'm not really clear on what exactly happens with major updates.

  13. Mew2468

    Mew2468 Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I've never, ever, ever, ever, ever had a paid update. Devs, is there an option to choose if you want to make your update free? I personally think it just says free because the iTunes Store/App Store needs something to put on the button that normally says "Buy", and free makes you feel good :).
  14. Shocked

    Shocked Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2009
    Well, I'm not a developer, but I for one LOVE getting updates. So what if it fixes bugs and I don't need it, it's something new bright and SHINY. especially pg.

    I mean, I walk home from school, and as soon as I hit my wifi zone, APP STORE CHECK UPDATES. It is the FIRST thing i do when i get home.

    Also, if you look at it from a developer point of view, it increases popularity, and maybe boosts sales for future apps.
  15. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5 Well-Known Member

    Like I said, minor version updates are free (no choice there). The docs say major version updates are not free by default. I'm guessing this means you have the choice to make it free if you want.

  16. Little White Bear Studios

    Little White Bear Studios Well-Known Member
    Patreon Silver

    Aug 27, 2008
    All updates are free. We do not have a choice in the matter. The only way to charge more money is to make it an entirely different app. Whether that app is just a newer version of the old game, or an entirely new game, it is considered a new app by Apple. Version 3.0 will give developers the ability to offer paid upgrades within their own apps. Some will abuse it, and many will not.
  17. Mew2468

    Mew2468 Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Same here! :D
  18. kcaz

    kcaz Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    I used to just update farley, because I would look at the list, and it would have a lot of the apps I don't use. Also the major majority of the updates say bug fixes/improved proformance.
  19. NickFalk

    NickFalk Well-Known Member

    While the "...only 10% of users are updating their applications after download..." might suggest updating is a lot of work for very little reward, there are a few things to keep in mind:

    Most apps are actually not used that much. A lot of people buy an app for a buck plays with it a couple of times and then simply deletes it. Naturally they won't bother about updates.

    The people who do update is the people who actually use your app. They are then likely to be more vocal about the apps qualities (or lack thereof).

    Building a reputation. I dare say "Pocket God's" success is to a large part the result of the constant updates. The users appreciate it, talk about it to their friends and rave about it on the web. This makes people more likely to buy the game themselves and Bolt's reputation as developers who care is increased.

    On the other hand, if I as a buyer bought a game from a developer only to find that it crashed constantly and the developer couldn't care less, then I would certainly think twice before buying another game from them.
    And if none of the above is enough of an incentive to upgrade your apps there's always the good old "pride" thing. I guess most of us want to be appreciated (as well as becoming stinking-rich). ;)
  20. ImNotWorking

    ImNotWorking Member

    Apr 29, 2009
    I always download updates and I think developers should always support paid apps with free downloads / updates.

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