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Paid to Free trial (BubbleSand)

08-19-2011, 10:37 AM
#1
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: ΖΞN
Posts: 304
Paid to Free trial (BubbleSand)

During the development of my new game I've been in two minds about pricing, paid or free. The plan revolves around cross-promotion, but as I will only have a total of two apps on the store it seems logical that one should be free and one paid.

A few days ago I decided to test the water, and made the first app free (until the end of August, a duration of ~2 weeks). I only have 2 days of data so far, but already things are starting to make me think differently than before.

Day 1 - half o' day - 634 downloads
Day 2 - 1417 downloads
On average that's over 1000 downloads/day. But that is nothing in the free category! Not even enough to make the top 200 iPad *Entertainment* chart (don't ask about iPhone!).
It's early days, and I'll update this thread if anything more interesting happens, but it's all too familiar where I can almost predict the pattern...the old paid chart looks like a Tour de France altitude cross section, where the riders go over 2 mountains and then lots of tiny sea-level hump-back bridges :-D

It's true that the ratio from paid to full is 500x, infact slightly more in this case of a niche app. And I didn't even promote except for a thread on these forums, and a tweet which has never been RT. Quite a few sites have automatically picked up the price-drop, so I'm putting that down to the bulk of increase.

Being a test I had no expectations at all. There are no ads or cross-promotion. But what there is, is a much larger user base to provide an update for. And of course, direct access to the fans (thanks!!).

The future: well I'm one of those coders who couldn't care for promotion. I don't mind putting a few days aside at the end of a project, but it's such a mission pushing through the (sometimes ruthless) competition that I just can't be doing with it, I do this shit for fun! Publishers have also been of no use - "it's too early, blah blah" - well their loss! I've already decided that if they can't back me now then they can't later. I'm happy to go with the flow, as a one-man-band it's just not worth stressing over. And counter-creative to be dealing with the sharks. Better to ommmmmmmmmmmmm around ;-)

So there it is, looks like for me the free market is good for my old app but I can't see it working for the new app. This does mean that I have to go the extra mile each day to make the new game better still. I think it will be worth it (the game is really cool btw haha)...in a world where you can hardly give things away!

(btw: go grab and rate! it will ask you to rate after a couple of hours, and even then I allow you to at least load the app for 15 minutes before bothering you! In fact, I then decided to wait a further 15 seconds of re-entering the main menu...total = hardly any ratings, now I know why games are so in-your-face with these things, sad but true ho-hum...rate me, rate me now!) http://bit.ly/dSMQq9

BubbleSand - "the best sand app"
Tetroms
08-19-2011, 11:59 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitter View Post
Being a test I had no expectations at all. There are no ads or cross-promotion. But what there is, is a much larger user base to provide an update for. And of course, direct access to the fans (thanks!!).

i hope you put into your equation that downloads =! userbase ...

i would suggest you take a look at flurry and the ways it will help you get a good picture of your actual active userbase.. you won't even believe how many people just download free stuff just to start it once fiddle around and delete it right away..
08-19-2011, 05:09 PM
#3
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: ΖΞN
Posts: 304
That is a good point, though I would only agree that it != userbase rather than the more positive sounding =! But this is an exception slightly at least, because of a few reasons...virtually all owners were iPad, and iPad owners who download paint programs do tend to keep them on device. Also, the file is 64MB which puts off some types when they're not sure if they will like the app.

Flurry is an excellent suggestion, thanks for pointing that out! I had no idea that it was a free service. Do you know if I can use it with a C++ app, or will I have to get my hands (finally) dirty with Xcode and make an extension?

I do believe that you are right, mr.Ugly, that I will be somewhat shocked at the activities of the users. And I expect further to refine the plan for the new game.

Hey I just re-charted...185 Entertainment (US), those apps in top 10 must get huge downloads measured a few factors higher!

BubbleSand - "the best sand app"
Tetroms