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Lessons Learned from developing and releasing Apps?

04-19-2012, 07:17 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 162
Lessons Learned from developing and releasing Apps?

Hi, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share some of the most important lessons they've learned from developing and releasing their apps? What would you have done differently if you could travel back in time? Well, aside from buying the Mega Millions ticket with all the right numbers
04-19-2012, 10:13 AM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
Send a message via AIM to DrummerB Send a message via MSN to DrummerB
The most important lesson about the AppStore?

It's a lottery.

If you're looking for a safe income, you'll have to look elsewhere. Except maybe if you have thousands of $ to invest in marketing.

If you're here just for the fun and experience, then you're in for a hell of a ride. Good luck.

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.

04-19-2012, 11:37 AM
#3
There's so many lessons to learn, and a lot of them you just learn by doing and making mistakes. We learned a ton of hard lessons from releasing RoboHero, and are carrying all that experience into our next game which is going to be far far better.

Here are our top suggestions:
  1. Don't go it alone! It's too hard to do this job alone and a team just makes everything so much more fun.
  2. Study study study game design. There's so much that goes into designing a real game that's actually fun, so learn it!
  3. Tell your game idea to everybody. If you can't tell them about it in 15 seconds and if it doesn't inspire excitement in their eyes, you need a better idea.
  4. Cut every single feature out of your game except the bare essentials to make it fun. Release that and iterate.
  5. Test your game on everybody and watch how they interact with it without your interference.
  6. Cut unnecessary features, but don't cut your social and viral channels. Your goal with the initial release is to build a huge user base, so make sure you have social media creatively integrated and let people sell it for you.
  7. Have a plan to monetize, but focus on fun first. If your game ain't fun, you're not going to make money no matter what.
  8. Roar the gospel everywhere you can as soon as you start the project. Have a website, be active on twitter, be friendly with developers and bloggers, make waves.
  9. Polish polish polish.
  10. Have fun and don't expect success on your 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd try.

There's a ton more, but that should get you started.

Ember Conflict name: Porthos
04-19-2012, 12:03 PM
#4
If I can only tell you 1 thing which I've learned so far... never ever neglect marketing. Do not spend 4 months developing the game and only on the last few days towards the end of development and start going "ok, so how are we going to market this?" <--- don't do that.

Market early, collect feedback early, spread the words of your game early.

If you're afraid of your top secret multi million dollar idea would be copied before you're done because of early marketing, then I would say the chances of failing because of lack of exposure would probably be way higher.

Do you love pigeon droppings? Yes / No
Do you enjoy retro carnival coin games? Yes / No
Do you have fast fingers? Yes / No
04-19-2012, 03:28 PM
#5
What ever you do, stay away from the seasonal apps... Easter, halloween, xmas ,etc

But doing a seasonal theme to your already successful app is another story of course...

Pixel Envision - Creating fun apps for iOS & Android

Twitter / Facebook / YouTube
04-20-2012, 07:50 AM
#6
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 343
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrummerB View Post
The most important lesson about the AppStore?

It's a lottery.

If you're looking for a safe income, you'll have to look elsewhere. Except maybe if you have thousands of $ to invest in marketing.

If you're here just for the fun and experience, then you're in for a hell of a ride. Good luck.
I wouldn't call it a lottery. Everyone has an equal chance in a lottery.

With the App Store you can stack the odds in your favour. You need to market it so that people will see it. You need good icons, screenshots and description so that when people see it, they are more likely to buy it. You need a good game so that people will give it good reviews and spread the word. You still need luck, but you will be in a much smaller pool of contenders if you get everything right.
04-20-2012, 10:43 AM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonjump View Post
I wouldn't call it a lottery. Everyone has an equal chance in a lottery.

With the App Store you can stack the odds in your favour. You need to market it so that people will see it. You need good icons, screenshots and description so that when people see it, they are more likely to buy it. You need a good game so that people will give it good reviews and spread the word. You still need luck, but you will be in a much smaller pool of contenders if you get everything right.
I would have to agree, but somehow it just felt like the luck factor is too huge at times. You see for lottery, you could buy many tickets and it won't cost too much. But for developing games, sometimes 1 - 2 failed titles would mean bankruptcy especially for indie developers...

Do you love pigeon droppings? Yes / No
Do you enjoy retro carnival coin games? Yes / No
Do you have fast fingers? Yes / No
04-20-2012, 11:21 AM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
Send a message via AIM to DrummerB Send a message via MSN to DrummerB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonjump View Post
I wouldn't call it a lottery. Everyone has an equal chance in a lottery.
Every ticket has an equal chance, but not every participant. Buying more tickets will raise your odds. Similarly, polishing your app increases your odds of success. In both cases you invest time and/or money to raise your chances. But no matter what, luck is still the most important factor in the game.

There are tons of great apps not receiving the recognition they would deserve. And there is total crap that is downloaded by millions (fart apps anyone?).

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.
04-20-2012, 01:11 PM
#9
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 5,154
What I have learned.

1)Hard to get noticed when your App drops ten pages back the first day it is released.

2)Having your game reviewed is huge but I wouldn't know since it seems like the reviewers shred my codes.

3)I make much better games now than I did a year ago but I don't really see much of difference in sales.

4)People expect a lot for a dollar.

5)Updating content doesn't always add value. My best selling game is Slide Golf Mini. I doubled the content, added a shop and my sales declined.

I am sure there is more that I have just blocked out.
04-21-2012, 08:53 PM
#10
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,870
- Don't expect Apple (or any market really) to market/sell your game. New and Noteworthy, What's Hot, etc. And even if you make it there, you might still see poor sales.

- Bigger projects = bigger headaches. More that can go wrong. It's a good rule of thumb.. even smaller projects can wind up more work than you'd originally anticipated. Try to start with something smaller 1st and then go from there after you've learned the process.

- Hookups in the media (websites, bloggers, etc) are all well and good, but still might not mean anything for your sales. They might blow you off if other news is more interesting.

- Expect the unexpected! Lots of things can go awry, that you may never have expected. When I launched 180, I sent promocodes to many websites and big-name social sites, podcasts, etc. For some reason Apple's system malfunctioned and many of the codes were "duds." Apple fixed it some months later, but by then it was irrelevant of course.