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Need Developers' Advice Plz (New Game or Updates?)

08-22-2011, 04:33 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 463
Need Developers' Advice Plz (New Game or Updates?)

Hello everyone,

My name is Peter and I am the producer of a recently launched new game called DEO (as some of you may already have seen/heard of).

The game was released this past Thur with what I'd consider, great success. We've gotten covered from smallest blogs to some of the largest ones out there including TA - dozens and dozens of posts. Apple also picked us up and featured DEO on the release date (still being featured). We've hit top 100 all games, top 25 under Adventure and top 25 under Strategy in just over a day. Anyway, with that being said, I have one major concern.

First of all, we are very thankful for everyone that supported us and still does and we are very grateful for the success we've had so far! More than we could have ever expected!

Here's my question though: Do we focus on our next game and make it even better than DEO (using principles we've learned while developing DEO) or do we focus on DEO updates and make DEO much better than what it is now?

While it may seem like a no brainer to pursue DEO, I'm a little concerned that our current success is all due to a sudden wave of exposure and when it goes away, it all goes away.

I would love to hear from you guys, if you've had any kind of experience in this area.

Thank you

Twitter: @PeterBabiy
Site: www.strappedtoameteor.com
Games: Go Go Giraffe | DEO | Mr. Dreamer
08-22-2011, 04:50 PM
#2
Congratulations on the success of DEO! I don't have any experience in the area, however I can offer some advice, more the less my opinion. Your concern that DEO will only stay popular for so long is a valid one. In my opinion, thats probably where it's heading. It's going to eventually die down, sure a update would help. I don't see a point though, unless you really enjoy working on DEO and would love to expand on it, then I'd do so. I think that from your point of veiw, it would be better to start developing a new game.

08-22-2011, 05:45 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 378
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImStrapped View Post
Here's my question though: Do we focus on our next game and make it even better than DEO (using principles we've learned while developing DEO) or do we focus on DEO updates and make DEO much better than what it is now?
Why choose? It looks like you should be doing both!

http://www.appannie.com/452167352/ranking/history/

DEO is ranking well. I think that at least in the short-term, it makes sense to update your game. The game is brand new. Why abandon it now?

Typically, the ranking starts to drop. That's when a new project is needed. It's very tough to revive an app once it starts to fall. You can already see the start of a downward trend happening with DEO, but I think that's irrelevant right now. Something like DEO can help build a brand. So if lots of people know that you're going to support your current game library, then that might make them more likely to be interested in your apps in the future.

I think a good example is Doodle Jump...
http://appshopper.com/games/doodle-jump

Even though that game is over two years old, it has been updated dozens of times.

Michael Garofalo - App Developer and author of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook.
08-22-2011, 06:18 PM
#4
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 463
Quote:
Originally Posted by Photics View Post
Why choose? It looks like you should be doing both!

http://www.appannie.com/452167352/ranking/history/

DEO is ranking well. I think that at least in the short-term, it makes sense to update your game. The game is brand new. Why abandon it now?

Typically, the ranking starts to drop. That's when a new project is needed. It's very tough to revive an app once it starts to fall. You can already see the start of a downward trend happening with DEO, but I think that's irrelevant right now. Something like DEO can help build a brand. So if lots of people know that you're going to support your current game library, then that might make them more likely to be interested in your apps in the future.

I think a good example is Doodle Jump...
http://appshopper.com/games/doodle-jump

Even though that game is over two years old, it has been updated dozens of times.
It would be extremely hard for us to pull it off. I'm talking about doing both at the same time. Lack of resources. I wonder at what point did Doodle Jump decide to release an update though. Was it after seeing a constant, sustained ranking after several weeks of release?

Twitter: @PeterBabiy
Site: www.strappedtoameteor.com
Games: Go Go Giraffe | DEO | Mr. Dreamer
08-22-2011, 06:27 PM
#5
http://www.appannie.com/doodle-jump-...ate=2011-08-21

The past 30 days for doodle jump have been very stable, they keep there position in the top 20. I can't get you there all-time rankings, but since there really stable I can assume that they had a steady start and were keeping there position, thats why LimaSky ran with the idea to secure their spot. If you can turn DEO into this, then do so. I don't think you have much of a chance however, unless you can get DEO higher in the rankings, if not I'd make a new game.
08-22-2011, 06:38 PM
#6
First, support your new game. That way players know you're serious about what you create. Fix bugs, inconsistencies and expand it a little. Don't abandon it right away. Find out what your users are clamoring for and give that to them.

Your game is gorgeous. Add some levels and think about game center scoring. Strike while the iron is hot and you should be able to keep it going for a bit longer.

Once it starts to dive (a REAL dive, you'll know it when you see it), start the next project, but every now and then, throw an update to it.
08-22-2011, 07:03 PM
#7
This is a tough call. For RoboHero we have a series of planned major updates for the game. Partly to get the game out sooner rather than later, and partly to keep the game on people's radars for longer.

Small updates don't get much press, but major updates do, especially with the sites that have covered you before. So you could maximize your press exposure and sales for this game by releasing a major update every couple months, and emailing the sites that have covered you already to show them the new features.

This is our plan.Updates are much easier to do than new games. In the meantime the rest of our team will be working on fully designing the next game on paper and getting the graphical assets lined up.

The fact is though that most all iOS apps have pretty short life cycles, so unless one attains hall of fame status, eventually sales will drop. You might want to think long term about ways you could turn DEO F2P once that happens to get the most life out of your game.
08-22-2011, 08:09 PM
#8
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 463
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelized View Post
http://www.appannie.com/doodle-jump-...ate=2011-08-21

The past 30 days for doodle jump have been very stable, they keep there position in the top 20. I can't get you there all-time rankings, but since there really stable I can assume that they had a steady start and were keeping there position, thats why LimaSky ran with the idea to secure their spot. If you can turn DEO into this, then do so. I don't think you have much of a chance however, unless you can get DEO higher in the rankings, if not I'd make a new game.
I understand your argument, thank you! I think at this point its a bit too early to make such a call though. It took Angry Birds several months and several updates to even get noticed. So why there's a lot of truth in what you are saying, there are of course exceptions (not that we are one).

Quote:
Originally Posted by racingspider View Post
First, support your new game. That way players know you're serious about what you create. Fix bugs, inconsistencies and expand it a little. Don't abandon it right away. Find out what your users are clamoring for and give that to them.

Your game is gorgeous. Add some levels and think about game center scoring. Strike while the iron is hot and you should be able to keep it going for a bit longer.

Once it starts to dive (a REAL dive, you'll know it when you see it), start the next project, but every now and then, throw an update to it.
Thank you! Brand name is very important to us and I see it the same way. Best way to prove that you care about what you do is continue improving it. However, I must also agree with BravadoWaffle on this as well (please read below).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BravadoWaffle View Post
This is a tough call. For RoboHero we have a series of planned major updates for the game. Partly to get the game out sooner rather than later, and partly to keep the game on people's radars for longer.

Small updates don't get much press, but major updates do, especially with the sites that have covered you before. So you could maximize your press exposure and sales for this game by releasing a major update every couple months, and emailing the sites that have covered you already to show them the new features.

This is our plan.Updates are much easier to do than new games. In the meantime the rest of our team will be working on fully designing the next game on paper and getting the graphical assets lined up.

The fact is though that most all iOS apps have pretty short life cycles, so unless one attains hall of fame status, eventually sales will drop. You might want to think long term about ways you could turn DEO F2P once that happens to get the most life out of your game.
That's exactly what I was thinking. A small update where we add GameCenter and fix minor bugs (which we haven't had any reported yet anyway) won't get us much exposure unless we're Angry Birds. It certainly would give us the boost we'd hope for to revive the numbers. So, that leave is with either a major update or a new game. And by major update I mean, rethink the main menu screen a bit (some ppl are confused by the rewards and navigation system), improve current levels (add more excitement and reduce repetition in levels), add new levels, etc. An update like that will probably take 2 months, roughly the same amount of time it'll take us to get our 3 game into beta stage.

Ideal thing to do would be of course what you're doing - both. Not sure if we can pull that off at the moment though

Thanks everyone for great input. Please continue!!!

Twitter: @PeterBabiy
Site: www.strappedtoameteor.com
Games: Go Go Giraffe | DEO | Mr. Dreamer
08-22-2011, 09:55 PM
#9
I would love to see you explore the world building part of DEO a little more. I think that building your own little world is such a cool idea, a possible cool update could be some kind of achievement system where if you manage to achieve certain tasks (i.e. beat such and such level in 3 jumps), you get to have some wildlife on your world that will run around, or a special flower or something.

I don't think you've fully explored the world building aspect as much as you could. Might make for a cool newsworthy update!

For the record though, I'm biased. I seriously love DEO, and personally want to see lots of updates.
08-22-2011, 10:53 PM
#10
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Portland, OR, Cascadia
Posts: 332
First, congrats on your success!

We're in a similar boat with Cavorite. It peaked lower (around 50th adventure) but had a nice string of major reviews. I pushed out one small update, to fix a few tiny bugs, but haven't done a big content update. We had a solid 7 week run and then hit a wall last week -- sales dipped into that slow drip that many folks eventually experience with an app.

We've had some debate among ourselves about what to do next. In the short term, it was obvious that a Mac port was an easy "win" and that's what I'm working on. But we haven't settled on a long-term strategy. iPad? Retina? Big content addition? Etc.

I've made some of the same points you have as well -- a big content update is almost on par with a new (albeit smaller) game. And while Cavorite has netted us our fastest launch and best income, it hasn't been the highest profit or most downloaded. Those honors still go to Zombie Karts, which was just a crazy 4 week project to prove that real games could be made with the TGB Kart Kit! So I have literally debated with myself if I should do a Zombie Karts 2 (or something like that) or a Cavorite update. (I'm sure fans of the latter are gasping in horror.)

Anyway, mostly just commiserating, but sometimes that's useful for indies to do.