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  #1  
Old 05-06-2013, 02:12 PM
JamesAtBoxCat JamesAtBoxCat is offline
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Default Undead Postmortem - iOS Category Impact on Nameless: the Hackers RPG

Hi guys,

The second post of our postmortem series is about on Gamasutra. We went into the metrics related to categories and how it affected Nameless: the Hackers.

Here's the link to the new post:

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/JamesLiu/...ith_no_IAP.php

You can see our first post's TouchArcade thread here. DungeonPlunder was also sharing some ideas.

http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=187566

More posts are coming every few days until we finish.

Feel free to ask about anything. We're new and still learning about the industry, not promising a wealth of knowledge or anything. =P

Edit: Here's a cool image we made (you need to zoom in)
http://box-cat.com/nameless/DesignIm...goryForWeb.jpg

Kudos!

Last edited by JamesAtBoxCat; 05-06-2013 at 02:29 PM..
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2013, 02:41 PM
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DungeonPlunder DungeonPlunder is offline
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Nice article once again. You're dead on with the competitiveness of categorys.

One thing to take note: I was rpg/adventure at launch and gave a shot at rpg/casino as my game uses slots reels. That category is not competitive for paid apps since most games adopt a f2p model where you buy tokens to play.

Turns out I was excluded at least from one country following the change, South Korea, because casino games were banned in that country. Had to change it back to adventure on my next update as I didn't wanted to penalize players from their updates for an elusive chance at a couple extra sales.

Another thing to consider is that while these categorys are less competitive there might be less players checking it out as well.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:13 PM
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lazypeon lazypeon is offline
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Interesting notes on the categories -- I'd come to a similar conclusion eyeballing the top games in each category, but it's cool to see it totally laid out with that analysis of the top games.

I am really curious to what extent 'the masses' actually use category browsing as a way of browsing games. Although I can see the some value in being 'above the fold' or #1 (since your icon would show up at the category level), I'm not sure how much the rank actually matters.

Quote:
We did however find tons of articles talking about how important it is to be ranked. There is a strong co-relation between revenue and rank.
A correlation, sure, but I think this is due to the fact that if your game is new/popular, it will get a lot of downloads, rather than the rank itself being impactful in determining how many downloads you get. In other words, ranking is an indicator of success, but not a cause of it -- unless you can hit the big charts, like Top 25 games. (Just my personal theory).

Quote:
As we lost or gained position, we could dramatically see the sales change as well
Again, I'd interpret this as "as the number of sales decreased, our ranking fell very quickly".

Obviously, high rank is better and more easily attained in less competitive categories, but I question whether it's a major deciding factor in overall success. Features, reviews, continued coverage for updates, price drops, and even your title/icon/search terms probably play more of a role.

Anyway, good article. I like debate/insight on this stuff, as I think a lot about it -- what makes some apps 'sticky' on the charts, and what doesn't? Why did ABC crappy game beat out this awesome XYZ game in terms of ranking? etc... Good stuff.

Last edited by lazypeon; 05-06-2013 at 03:32 PM..
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:33 PM
Sheinfell Sheinfell is offline
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Excellent article, and a joy to read, just like your first one.

One thing struck me as odd, though:
You wrote that you did not know that competitiveness in the Roleplaying category (which translates for me into "how many new apps appear per hour/day/whatever") is quite low.

That seems a bit strange, as even I know that. Not saying this in a derogatory fashion, quite the contrary: I never looked at Appstore metrics before. My knowledge comes from simply checking categories in the Appstore. So I have nothing but "gut feeling" and my observations, which is a lousy data base for any serious investigation.
RPGs are my main interest, so I look there quite often.
Just by watching a day or two, you will notice that the turnover rate in, say, "Action" is very high (sometimes 100+ apps a day). While in the RPG category most of the time all new games of a week fit into the "What's New" slidebar.

What I am aiming at is:
In hindsight, what was the reason for you not knowing?
E.g. did you simply not think about checking these metrics beforehand, did you consider but forget it, was it due to time constraints that you didn't dig into it, etc.?

The reason why you did not do the research beforehand should be handy for other developers, to avoid similar pitfalls and raise awareness on the subject.
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  #5  
Old 05-06-2013, 05:52 PM
JamesAtBoxCat JamesAtBoxCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazypeon View Post
A correlation, sure, but I think this is due to the fact that if your game is new/popular, it will get a lot of downloads, rather than the rank itself being impactful in determining how many downloads you get. In other words, ranking is an indicator of success, but not a cause of it -- unless you can hit the big charts, like Top 25 games. (Just my personal theory).
We are not firm on this. We do recognize that our findings are limited. We're just coming up with theories too.

We have some additional data in the next post about "session play" we think this is what makes the "sticky"-ness that you mentioned. We believe more strongly in this by looking at the minecraft skin utility editor game in the RPG category.

We have metrics relative to our own App to support it without considering them though. We'll have it in 2-3 days.

Side note: We also recognize that App Ranking optimization is similar to SEO. Constant search quality (google) vs SEO marketing (products). Google keeps changing their algorithms, I imagine Apple will to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
What I am aiming at is:
In hindsight, what was the reason for you not knowing?
E.g. did you simply not think about checking these metrics beforehand, did you consider but forget it, was it due to time constraints that you didn't dig into it, etc.?

The reason why you did not do the research beforehand should be handy for other developers, to avoid similar pitfalls and raise awareness on the subject.
No worries. We're an open book. Debate is good for us. We're new and this helps us think about our own situation as well.

I agree it's a pretty obvious idea. It's more long the lines of "We did not consider/remember it in our design". Like DungeonPlunder said, he got kicked out of an entire country (South Korea) for a period of time.

For our game, it wouldn't have made an impact in design, since we're pretty good as a niche game (JRPG/Anime/Turn-based/Story). But if we were making an non-niche (Action/Adventure), perhaps we would have not remembered this obvious idea. I think making a product as that "blind love" kind of element.

Edit: As in, we can reduce scope to save some cost/production-time if we're in niche categories. End of the day we're doing this to feed families. =)

Last edited by JamesAtBoxCat; 05-06-2013 at 06:02 PM..
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2013, 08:50 PM
John Francis John Francis is offline
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That was a great article, thanks!

We had the same thing happen in our categories, puzzle and family. Puzzle was mildly competitive so we got kicked out of the top 100 within a few weeks but stayed in the top 100 in Family for the month.

Also, we are going in the opposite direction of you and adding a premium version after having a Lite (with unlock to Full). The only good thing from that experience was the user feedback through reviews, as harsh as it was, was useful for us in not only updating but preparing all the ports heading to Android (and hopefully other places!)
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:54 AM
Wizardo Wizardo is offline
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Edit: Here's a cool image we made (you need to zoom in)
http://box-cat.com/nameless/DesignIm...goryForWeb.jpg

Kudos![/QUOTE]

That is an awesome graph you made. I would have never guessed the rpg category would be so low.

Also, loving your postmortems. Your game looks really cool too. Much success to you.
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