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Old 09-29-2012, 11:25 AM
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Hobbsicle Hobbsicle is offline
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Default Great Reviews, Bad Sales

Hey there,

Looking for some advice on what to do with my first game that has been out about 2 and a half weeks.

The game is called "The Way We Roll" and it is a puzzle adventure game. I have gotten some very positive feedback on it. iFanzine reviewed it on Day 1 and gave it 4.5 out of 5. Their only complaint we already fixed for the first update we'll be submitting in the next day or two.

Here on the forum, the feedback has also been very good, with people saying it is "one of the best puzzlers on the app store", being "surprised" at how good it is (which might be a clue?), saying it is a game that "defines what iOS gaming should be", saying they enjoyed it more than Blast-A-Way, and other comments that seem very exciting.

Trouble is, my sales are quite low, and I'm trying to figure out what I can do to encourage more sales, because I am still pretty green at the business side of the app store.

So far, we have a website (which is so-so), a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a presence here on the forums. I sent out a good bit of press kits at launch, but iFanzine is the only one that gave us coverage (aside from a few small or foreign blogs).

We're about to submit an update which addresses almost all of the complaints anyone has had so far.

Launched at 99 cents as a "launch sale". About 2 weeks in, I switched it to free for 2 days, which got it about 4,000 downloads, rising into the Top 5 Puzzle games in France, but lower ranks elsewhere. I then ended the sale, and brought the price up to $1.99. Gotten 1 download a day since then...

We didn't launch with a free version, but are about to submit one that will have fewer levels and links to buy the full version.

I'm also considering a different icon, a better main graphic, etc. but I wanted to get some outside feedback about what might be a good approach at this point...

Thanks for your help.
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2012, 11:46 AM
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BazookaTime BazookaTime is online now
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I am no expert but having a launch sale and then going free so quick only to rise the price was probably not a great idea. People are already cheap if they see you went free, they will wait for free again. The people that missed the .99 or free sale probably won't be paying 1.99.

I released a game at 1.99 and had good sales. I dropped the price to .99 and eventually free and the sales decline. now at .99 it never recovered.

Any luck with some other review sites? I will look into the game and can leave review.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:55 AM
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Hobbsicle Hobbsicle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BazookaTime View Post
I am no expert but having a launch sale and then going free so quick only to rise the price was probably not a great idea. People are already cheap if they see you went free, they will wait for free again. The people that missed the .99 or free sale probably won't be paying 1.99.

I released a game at 1.99 and had good sales. I dropped the price to .99 and eventually free and the sales decline. now at .99 it never recovered.

Any luck with some other review sites? I will look into the game and can leave review.
Thanks for the feedback. I feared that going free at all at that time was probably not a good idea. The sales had already dropped to 2-3 per day at 99 cents, so it was kind of an impulse decision that I made with the hope of keeping up some momentum. But yeah, I can see that it might not have been the best.

It was our plan all along to launch at 99 cents, then raise to 1.99, but my free promotion there in the middle was unplanned, and possibly unwise. Regardless, though, it's what happened and so now I'm looking to move forward.

Haven't had any luck with other review sites yet, but maybe I should send out a second round of requests after the update hits?
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:17 PM
mobile1up mobile1up is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BazookaTime View Post
I am no expert but having a launch sale and then going free so quick only to rise the price was probably not a great idea. People are already cheap if they see you went free, they will wait for free again. The people that missed the .99 or free sale probably won't be paying 1.99. I released a game at 1.99 and had good sales. I dropped the price to .99 and eventually free and the sales decline. now at .99 it never recovered. Any luck with some other review sites? I will look into the game and can leave review.
i agree, take your time.

you do not have to make a lot of money immediately. let it sit, give away a few promo codes to review sites and see if they will cover it. after three months (minimum), run a campaign - like with "apprewards club" - also run by a few members of the forums here. my app, caveman is currently (today) going this this.. after, it will switch back to the original price..

the app store can be a very ugly place.. you just need to learn from everyone and hope for the best.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:25 PM
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Hobbsicle Hobbsicle is offline
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Thanks, that seems good advice. I always hear these stories that you will make all the money you'll make on the game in the first couple of months, and so I think my reactions were based on the fear that waiting would kill my game.

But I know plenty of older games that I've picked up after having been released a while, so I should exercise some patience. Difficult when you're all freaked out about your first game!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobile1up View Post
i agree, take your time.

you do not have to make a lot of money immediately. let it sit, give away a few promo codes to review sites and see if they will cover it. after three months (minimum), run a campaign - like with "apprewards club" - also run by a few members of the forums here. my app, caveman is currently (today) going this this.. after, it will switch back to the original price..

the app store can be a very ugly place.. you just need to learn from everyone and hope for the best.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:41 PM
mobile1up mobile1up is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbsicle View Post
Thanks, that seems good advice. I always hear these stories that you will make all the money you'll make on the game in the first couple of months, and so I think my reactions were based on the fear that waiting would kill my game.

But I know plenty of older games that I've picked up after having been released a while, so I should exercise some patience. Difficult when you're all freaked out about your first game!
if this is your first game of many.. relax! so much more potential!
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:51 PM
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Hobbsicle Hobbsicle is offline
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I missed this earlier.

Thank you very much for your impressions. Not taken negatively at all, very constructive, and honestly the kind of thing I was looking for.

Here's the fun thing about all that. And by fun, I mean not that so much.

We DO have sound effects. And quite a few, actually. In fact, I've gotten some comments about how those sound effects really add to the ambience. Problem is, they were not implemented correctly the first time around. The sound effects were tied to the system sounds, so whatever method is used by Sanuku to create those videos does not pick up those sounds. We fixed this for the upcoming update, but a bit too late, unfortunately.

As for the variety, we released with the first world, which is most (or all) of what you see there. There is also a bonus underground world, but the green grassy place is the majority of the gameplay at this point. So that accounts for two of the survivors. Were already at work on the second world and corresponding bonus world that will introduce 2 more survivors. I think once that hits, I'll be able to design the screenshots and the trailer to include much more variety.

Finally, the vibrancy of color: I hadn't thought about that before. It seemed colorful to me, but admittedly it's more of a "realistic" scheme than a supersaturated one. But I'd be interested to see what you would think if I upped the saturation to see if that improves anything, so I'll whip up some mock screenshots to see how they look.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eoghann View Post
I saw 15 mins. of gameplay from Sanuku's video to get an idea of what the game is about. Here are a couple of personal observations (good and bad) as to why or why not, as a consumer I would consider this game.

Stark lack of sound effects, just a beautiful acoustic guitar. I know it may be soothing for some...boring for others. Soundwise there is not much going on..not much difference from playing it on mute if you're not into classical guitar.

Some sounds of leaves rustling when the ball hits the bushes, or a tapping when it hits the stones, or a hollow wooden noise when hitting a log, something to give more life to the area. The plot of the game is to rescue survivors from different areas, though it appears that the same red gentleman with big eyes needs saving. Some variety maybe?

The game indeed has color...sadly, not vibrant. When I think of vibrant colors I think Subway Surfers, Run Roo Run, Mega Run, or Lili. Maybe turn up the saturation a bit on the colors.

Lot's of humor! Really love the dialogue and the hand drawn schematics.

The puzzles look impressive and challenging. Some quite daunting even.

Upon seeing gameplay it definitely looks like a very nice game that I would be willing to try, but that's because I saw gameplay. Had I not seen that, I would have passed along this game because to me it doesn't stand out.

I hope you don't find these comments hurtful or mean spirited, I try my best to provide constructive criticism on games that have a great idea or mechanic but can use some improvements to engage the user.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:18 PM
Eoghann Eoghann is offline
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I saw 15 mins. of gameplay from Sanuku's video to get an idea of what the game is about. Here are a couple of personal observations (good and bad) as to why or why not, as a consumer I would consider this game.

Stark lack of sound effects, just a beautiful acoustic guitar. I know it may be soothing for some...boring for others. Soundwise there is not much going on..not much difference from playing it on mute if you're not into classical guitar.

Some sounds of leaves rustling when the ball hits the bushes, or a tapping when it hits the stones, or a hollow wooden noise when hitting a log, something to give more life to the area. The plot of the game is to rescue survivors from different areas, though it appears that the same red gentleman with big eyes needs saving. Some variety maybe?

The game indeed has color...sadly, not vibrant. When I think of vibrant colors I think Subway Surfers, Run Roo Run, Mega Run, or Lili. Maybe turn up the saturation a bit on the colors.

Lot's of humor! Really love the dialogue and the hand drawn schematics.

The puzzles look impressive and challenging. Some quite daunting even.

Upon seeing gameplay it definitely looks like a very nice game that I would be willing to try, but that's because I saw gameplay. Had I not seen that, I would have passed along this game because to me it doesn't stand out.

I hope you don't find these comments hurtful or mean spirited, I try my best to provide constructive criticism on games that have a great idea or mechanic but can use some improvements to engage the user.
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2012, 05:01 PM
MarcJay MarcJay is offline
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We just released our debut game, Operation Smoochy, for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad about a week ago.

The game is based on my Boston Terrier, Smoochy (my wife named him; I swear ), and the premise of the game is simple, but the levels themselves are quite challenging: Roxy and the puppies have been captured by the evil monsters. Get revenge by using Smoochy to blast your way through hordes of zombies, killer clowns and frankensteins using a combination of reflex and skill.

We have a number of solid reviews/ratings, some decent sales so far, but I agree things move frustratingly slow and you start to question if your game will ever gain traction/do I suck. Hoping some app review sites come through, but my guess is they are backed up for a bit because of all the new games and updates due to the release of the iPhone 5 (developers want there 50 new promo codes )

I think its getting harder and harder to stand out as more publishers with large budgets flee consoles for the App Store. The bar is now ridiculously high for expectations of users. Like the girl from Willy Wonka-they want the world; they want the whole world. That means app icon, gameplay, graphics, music/sfx-EVERYTHING-must be top-notch to stand out in a crowded market. If you saw the movie IndieGamer, we are the games, that if sold at Gamespot, etc, would have to be asked for by customers as we're not on the "shelves." That's a rough starting point.

Best advice is the advice I've seen here, which is stay patient, listen to the feedback and adjust from there...and pray.

IMO, $1.99 is just not where the market is these days. I'm not saying you didn't work hard or its not "worth" that, but the market is really free and 99 cents for the most part, especially as an indie.

If anyone has suggestions on my game, please let me know as well. The game can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/operation-smoochy/id555651007?mt=.

Our game trailer can be found at http://www.youtube.com/OperationSmoochy.

Because our star is a dog/boston terrier, we've been posting on all Boston Terrier sites and have stickers and tshirts with Smoochy on them that we'll hand out at Boston "meetups."

I'd love to hear people's thoughts/criticisms at marc@4allstudios.com.

Thanks and good luck to all the indie developers out there; it ain't easy, but is there anything cooler?!
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:06 PM
Misguided Misguided is offline
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I saw this thread title and immediately thought of TWWR before I clicked on it. The real shame to me is that it got no attention from TA. I know they can't review everything, but this is a fantastic app that deserves more attention than it has received.
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