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  #11  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:13 AM
willzeng willzeng is offline
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My lesson is do not start it as free if you do a paid app. First several days have the best exposure and downloads. But I doubt whether it is a lesson if the exposure fades anyway...
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2012, 01:00 AM
KelvinZhao KelvinZhao is offline
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iPhone 4S, iOS 5.x
 
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Marketing before launch, during launch, after launch.
No matter how good your game is, it is nothing if it is not seen. Considering the 20k new apps that are released every week, you need the visibility to sell. Best to be able to invest some cash into that. Or have really good contacts to spread the news.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2012, 03:20 AM
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BlueSpiral BlueSpiral is offline
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Location: Edmonton, Canada
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Few more to add:

- You only get one chance for a first impression, so make the most of it.
- Free game and then either iAP's or possibly to a lesser extent advertising might be the best way to go / start out when you're an indie.
- Quality and frequent updates make an impact but can be short lived.
- Knowing when to move on to something else and utilize your time for small teams is all part of the process when starting out.
- Don't except lots of people to write reviews for your game, even if you ask them nicely :-)
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  #14  
Old 04-25-2012, 05:23 AM
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PixelEnvision PixelEnvision is offline
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If your app is not picked up by the community at the release and you're unable to revive it with marketing, etc. Do not loose any more time on it, accept the fact and move on...
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  #15  
Old 04-27-2012, 09:32 AM
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Rainier Rainier is offline
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It sounds like marketing has been a fairly common theme among developers. Have you found any particular approaches to be more effective than others? Press releases, review sites, youtube trailers, what else is there?

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
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  #16  
Old 04-28-2012, 06:44 AM
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PixelEnvision PixelEnvision is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainier View Post
It sounds like marketing has been a fairly common theme among developers. Have you found any particular approaches to be more effective than others? Press releases, review sites, youtube trailers, what else is there?

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
I believe press releases far more efficent to get media attention instead of emailing individual review sites... If your app is interesting enough, they will contact you... You tube videos are important as a part of the press release, including one will be a big plus...
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  #17  
Old 04-28-2012, 12:41 PM
IrishRed IrishRed is offline
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These are all good tips. A lot of us talk about marketing often because discovery is a really huge issue in the iOS app store: odds are that many of the people who might most enjoy your game are likely never even to discover it at all.

Here are a few more marketing things I've seen:

-- Release: Although you can add amazing post-release content after the 1.0 to transform your game, most of your initial reviews in the major media will still be based on your 1.0 version, and most review sites don't cover your updates at all (TA does occasionally, but usually only for games they already covered as a 1.0). So in most cases your 1.0 features will sit on the Web as the definitive reviews forever even if you make them inaccurate, and if a reviewer happens to miss you altogether when you release, you probably won't get a second chance even if they do discover you later. Marketing the 1.0 vs. all the post-release content updates is an interesting marketing problem that most kinds of creative media businesses (film, music, books) don't face.

-- You can't really fake grassroots/social/etc. marketing even though people try constantly. For example, if you get on Twitter only to tweet about your own games and promote yourself, your Twitter marketing will be a lot less successful than if you are an actual Twitter user, engage with other devs and players, help them promote their stuff, and just generally contribute to the conversation at large and then occasionally mention your stuff.

-- Same with your blog or website: posting articles, code howto's, concept art, audio, game design discussions, etc. is a lot more effective as a way to spread the word and gather an audience than posting just traditional advertising and product announcements, since it's a genuine attempt to connect with people through your work instead of just hawking your wares.

-- In-person is important if you can swing it, whether that's showing up at conferences, local game dev meetings in your area, or whatever it may be and speaking to a people instead of just relying on the Interwebz. People you speak to will remember (assuming you're not an ass!), maybe intro you to others, post online for you, retweet for you, etc., and you will probably want to do the same for them.

-- For reaching reviewers, in-person is actually the best way I found, but aside from that it's best to remember they're journalists and they want a good story to tell in a very small period of time. So if you come up with at least 1 thing that is different or story-worthy about your game and can tell that thing very quickly in a way that grabs their attention away from the gazillion other stories they see every day, that makes the game worth covering, and that should probably be the lead of your press release. Execution is not usually a story, btw, so saying you have built an even better or more addicting [insert game genre] isn't a good enough story regardless of whether it's true. Oh, and also don't use the word "addicting" and other overused cliches. Just be a person with an interesting game.

I learned a whole set of things about iTunes marketing and Apple as well (like managing the enormous drop-off from being featured to being buried down in the category lists), but this is turning into a really long note, so I'll stop typing now and get back to work. I hope you make great games!

Cheers,
Sean
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  #18  
Old 04-28-2012, 02:58 PM
David Phan David Phan is offline
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Awesome and well written post Sean! Thank you for sharing this goodness with the rest of us.

DP

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRed View Post
These are all good tips. A lot of us talk about marketing often because discovery is a really huge issue in the iOS app store: odds are that many of the people who might most enjoy your game are likely never even to discover it at all.

Here are a few more marketing things I've seen:

-- Release: Although you can add amazing post-release content after the 1.0 to transform your game, most of your initial reviews in the major media will still be based on your 1.0 version, and most review sites don't cover your updates at all (TA does occasionally, but usually only for games they already covered as a 1.0). So in most cases your 1.0 features will sit on the Web as the definitive reviews forever even if you make them inaccurate, and if a reviewer happens to miss you altogether when you release, you probably won't get a second chance even if they do discover you later. Marketing the 1.0 vs. all the post-release content updates is an interesting marketing problem that most kinds of creative media businesses (film, music, books) don't face.

-- You can't really fake grassroots/social/etc. marketing even though people try constantly. For example, if you get on Twitter only to tweet about your own games and promote yourself, your Twitter marketing will be a lot less successful than if you are an actual Twitter user, engage with other devs and players, help them promote their stuff, and just generally contribute to the conversation at large and then occasionally mention your stuff.

-- Same with your blog or website: posting articles, code howto's, concept art, audio, game design discussions, etc. is a lot more effective as a way to spread the word and gather an audience than posting just traditional advertising and product announcements, since it's a genuine attempt to connect with people through your work instead of just hawking your wares.

-- In-person is important if you can swing it, whether that's showing up at conferences, local game dev meetings in your area, or whatever it may be and speaking to a people instead of just relying on the Interwebz. People you speak to will remember (assuming you're not an ass!), maybe intro you to others, post online for you, retweet for you, etc., and you will probably want to do the same for them.

-- For reaching reviewers, in-person is actually the best way I found, but aside from that it's best to remember they're journalists and they want a good story to tell in a very small period of time. So if you come up with at least 1 thing that is different or story-worthy about your game and can tell that thing very quickly in a way that grabs their attention away from the gazillion other stories they see every day, that makes the game worth covering, and that should probably be the lead of your press release. Execution is not usually a story, btw, so saying you have built an even better or more addicting [insert game genre] isn't a good enough story regardless of whether it's true. Oh, and also don't use the word "addicting" and other overused cliches. Just be a person with an interesting game.

I learned a whole set of things about iTunes marketing and Apple as well (like managing the enormous drop-off from being featured to being buried down in the category lists), but this is turning into a really long note, so I'll stop typing now and get back to work. I hope you make great games!

Cheers,
Sean
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  #19  
Old 04-29-2012, 07:16 AM
Ebreeze Ebreeze is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
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My lesson learned is everything said above but also learning that the type of app game has a huge factor too. There is an endless wave of 2d side scroller arcade games. I know of mystery games that make fortunes. There are new music games that are great.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2012, 03:03 PM
RevolvingDoor RevolvingDoor is offline
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Posts: 197
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1) Good reviews are an amazing thing to have, but they won't make your game. I released my title, Towers (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/towers/id509478507?mt=8) earlier this month. We had a lot of positive feedback. iFanzine, for example, gave us a 4.5/5, saying wonderful things like "This is the kind of game design ingenuity that makes you stand back and remember what indie development is supposed to be all about!" Unfortunately, we ran right into some heavy competition, and a few good reviews aside, we didn't get much recognition.

2) A good release does not mean success. I've watched a lot of good games release this month, and most started on a very steady decline after a week or two, even if they posted very good numbers initially. You're always fighting against hundreds of games that have become entrenched in the top 200 of your categories by virtue of having gotten there first, or being backed by a big company with a solid advertising budget, etc. Don't count on your release to make your game a long-term success.

3) You can't always afford to make the games you want to make. The stuff that sticks to the tops of the charts? Very casual games, games driven by social interaction, and "high-end" games that draw people in with the kind of 3D eye-candy that no one could imagine running on a phone a mere 5 years ago. If you have an itch to make something truly revolutionary, be prepared for the possibility that very few people in this market may appreciate it.

4) Crap sells. Sad but true -- you can see any number of apps that seem to promise some sort of sexual gratification posting unimpressive but steady numbers, despite tons of 1 star reviews.

5) Now for some good news. Freemium is kicking butt and taking names. I really do think that everything aside, this is the way for an indie developer to go. Consider two recent releases: Ember Entertainment's Towers and Trolls vs Dogbyte Games' 8bit Ninja. I'd bet my hat that Towers and Trolls had a much bigger budget, took more time to develop, etc... Yet 8Bit Ninja, a ridiculously simple but enjoyable game, looks to have generated a whole lot more revenue. (I think that's a pretty safe assumption to make, after looking at the grossing ranks history of both games on AppAnnie.) I simply love 8Bit Ninja's low-key IAP strategy. You never feel forced to purchase IAP -- you earn in-game currency at a relatively good rate, but there are a lot of tiny, enjoyable extras to buy with it.
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