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How do you get reviewers to take notice?

11-02-2011, 10:57 AM
#1
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
How do you get reviewers to take notice?

We have three games out.
Hungry Birdz with a worldwide average rating of 3.5 stars.
Stacked Sevens with an average worldwide rating of 4.5 stars and Jab A Jelly with an average worldwide rating of 5 stars.

Excellent reviews as well from users like:-
Hungry Birdz - This game is so much fun, the baby birds are just adorable, and its really addicting! Buy it!

Stacked Sevens - It's hard to believe this has been out for a year without a review.

Jab A Jelly - This game is action packed and really fun. ...it's just so amazing!!!

That last game is New and Noteworthy in 7 countries so far and also in those short lists of 20 apps in other countries as well.

Yet out of probably 50 or more review sites we have contacted personally, not one has reviewed it.

None of this has resulted in any notable sales of the apps in question. Being in New & Noteworthy apparently has zero effect on sales.
Good ratings has had zero effect on sales.
Enthusiastic reviews on the appstore has had zero effect on sales.
Will actual reviews on review sites translate to any effect even if we could get them to respond?

I suppose the most important question is, how do two independent guys without a budget get eyes on?
(We do have the advantage of very understanding partners who pay the bills and the like while we have some fun attempting to build apps and games.)

We don't think there's a problem with the games, because when we can convince people to play them, they usually love them, and in a a lot of cases, play them to death! (not saying they're perfect, by any means, but they're good, fun games that hold their own against many of the others on the appstore.)

We just clearly are not getting anywhere with our marketing.

Not trying to sound like I'm whining. We're just in a bit of a reflective mood at the moment, because our developer license is coming up for renewal and honestly, it just doesn't seem worth it right now.

Thanks in advance.

Mike

Last edited by Mykyl66; 11-02-2011 at 11:06 AM.
11-02-2011, 11:08 AM
#2
http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=102002

This thread has a lot of good ideas and info. Hope it helps

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11-02-2011, 04:03 PM
#3
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 5,244
Honestly I think it is part luck and part the reviewer's personal preference on what type of games they like to play. There are so many games released every week there is just no way the majority of them will be reviewed.

Out of the 100 plus promo codes I sent out (all games) I received one review.
11-02-2011, 04:16 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by BazookaTime View Post
Honestly I think it is part luck and part the reviewer's personal preference on what type of games they like to play.
+1

The best we can do is to create games that look appealing enough to play, not only appealing to the target market but also appealing in a general sense.

Gameplay videos help
Pumping money towards PR and advertising can also do wonders, though mileage can vary
11-02-2011, 07:18 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by BazookaTime View Post
Honestly I think it is part luck and part the reviewer's personal preference on what type of games they like to play. There are so many games released every week there is just no way the majority of them will be reviewed.

Out of the 100 plus promo codes I sent out (all games) I received one review.
I've got limited experience having only released one game, but I'd agree, there are so many apps available that unless yours is already recognizable by name, it probably takes a bit of luck to get your message to a major review site read or taken seriously. From there though it's up to having created a quality product that someone actually wants to take the time to review. Results wise on our game, we've sent out most of our allotted 50 codes and got 1 review which seems more or less in line with the results others have had.

Last edited by Red1; 11-02-2011 at 08:47 PM.
11-02-2011, 07:28 PM
#6
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
I am not bothered really. I enjoy what I do. I am sure my wife wouldn't quite see it that way mind you.

We are about to do something that may either spectacularly fail big time or intrigue folks so much that who knows what may happen.

I look at the first 4 apps as being my apprenticeship apps.

Mike
11-02-2011, 09:15 PM
#7
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
it's been awhile since we've had this thread!

same things apply as usual.. so many indie mobile developers enjoy making games, yet have no idea how to market/promote them, just because you make something/make a website/make a twitter/make a forum thread doesn't mean anything anymore, the days when there were a fairly constant stream of apps being steadily released are long gone and replaced by the days of NOW where there is an unbelievably overwhelming stream of apps, many of which are getting to be higher and higher quality, and therefore if you haven't taken the hint, then seriously - learn how to do some marketing, or just keep repeating the same cycle.

There's so much you can do to get noticed (now I am talking about by reviewers, not even customers anymore). Seriously, come with your A game. Know what you are up against. Look at what typically dominates the headlines on TA, Pocketgamer, slide to play, etc. At this point anything they are writing about is typically the very least of what they would be interested to see more of, regarding scope and quality level of a game. No more match puzzlers, no more card games, no more physics toys. If you have something unique and polished and looking like it would not be out of place running on a SNES or PS1 then it's a good start. You have got to cover all the bases too - compelling screen shots, compelling icon/app name, etc. On top of that, you really need to get a good notion of how to assemble a proper media kit. Retro Dreamer have written a very nice blog post detailing their method here.

Sorry to be a little blunt, it's tough love If you are going to spend so much time and energy developing apps and want a chance to get them seen and talked about, you need to consider that "your job isn't done when you've finished making art, writing code, testing gameplay, and passing submission" - that's half the job right there.
11-02-2011, 10:01 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
Interesting link. Except a few never actually tell you what they want so you have to guess based on previous games. That's what I did.

For those that actually state what they want I gave them what they want although instead of a large email attachment I assumed it would be better to give them links to download. (perhaps wrong.)

Our server is very reliable. I cannot think of any time it has ever gone down in... I don't remember how many years.

As you say there is plenty we can do and its 3:21 am here in the UK and I am still working even though my year old son will be up and about in a couple of hours so I will have yet another night with no sleep. Hard work does not phase me.

Mike

Last edited by Mykyl66; 11-02-2011 at 10:30 PM.
11-02-2011, 10:48 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mykyl66 View Post
I am not bothered really. I enjoy what I do. I am sure my wife wouldn't quite see it that way mind you.

We are about to do something that may either spectacularly fail big time or intrigue folks so much that who knows what may happen.

I look at the first 4 apps as being my apprenticeship apps.

Mike
That's a bit how I look at it too. While it would be awesome if our first game was a massive hit, I'm also willing to take it as a small step towards future success. I was able to have a good time working on, completing, and releasing a game with a few friends that so far has gotten positive feedback. That seems like a good first step, beyond that it's going to be a learning experience trying things out and seeing what works. Already from this thread I have a few good places to start with learning how better to approach things next time.
11-07-2011, 05:21 PM
#10
Thanks to everybody for your advice. I've bookmarked everything and plan to pour over it soon.
I gotta say some of this stuff is a little scary for small-time guys like us still working on our first game. It seems like you get better odds in Vegas!

My question is how important do you think it is to market your game before it comes out? I figure we all have to work 10+ hours a day to finish the game by January (our goal). That doesn't leave a lot of time for marketing. Our game is kinda a niche product, and I don't expect it to blow up on the charts on launch date. I was kinda hoping to spend a lot of time marketing once we're done with the game. My hope is that the quality of the title and word of mouth will help us build a fan base once our game is out. Is this stupid? Should I make marketing a major focus even if it means delaying the game by a month or two?