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First impressions. The change is on!

01-15-2012, 02:58 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
First impressions. The change is on!

We have a limited amount of tools given to use to make a first impression. That impression we need to make has changed in the last two months.

App Name

Right now the danger of naming your app with a letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet is a huge temptation. The issue with that is you might be instantly classified as a AAA company that is just trying to make a quick buck. ( misusing the system). The app name has never been more important because the names are running out and anything starting with the letter D puts you on page three of new releases in almost any category daily.

App Icon

The trend at the moment is for more polish! Best object to compare icons too right now is a fishing lure. Shiny metal frames as the outer edge (iPhone look) and bright detailed colours and to the point with the image showing off the functionality. (Yes functionality!) People want value added apps right now.

Screenshots

The app icon has to transfer directly over to the screenshots. The polish of screenshots has never been as important as today. If your screenshots aren't 3 dimensional it will be tough to compete. Screenshots are now sales sheets that have to look expensive and you need to emphasis the value added aspect of your app. What makes your app worth the price tag you are charging? Apps that do well are almost phony looking. The screenshots always look better than the actual app.(phoney= phony)

Initial Reviews

Reviews are harder to come by now. If your app starts off with a few condemning reviews that trend will probably follow with subsequent reviews.
Follow the leader mentality. A nasty new trend that has emerged is competitors systematically placing nasty one star reviews on competing products. (a one star review by someone who has only written a single review) So the secret is to have a loyal fan base that will buy and review your product quickly.

Many apps have 50 condemning reviews ( Example: all the 9 dot apps that don't lock your phone as promised) but still make it into the top 10 of many categories because the polish is so shiny people still buy the app for the imagery. So the functionality is outweighed by the look the app initially portrays.

Updates

This is a precious gift given to us by Apple. If people constantly update the same app immediately after it has been updated we will get shutdown. A lot of people dislike the equal treatment of new releases and updates but for some reason this time around it has been working really well, allowing forgotten apps to resurface again. Reminds me a little bit of a composting toilet where you turn on a churning device and the entire content (App Store)
is moving and improving the speed at which a larger quantity of Apps are being digested.

This has been my experience with iLifeTouch in the last two months. Would love to hear from others if I have missed something or if I am flat out wrong.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,
01-15-2012, 04:23 PM
#2
This should be a sticky on the dev forum. I'm surprised by how many games are released that get these basics wrong! You are spot on for everything as far as I can see.

This is exactly the route we took for our game. We just released RoboHero and had a big push to our existing fan base from Kickstarter and BoardGameGeek to download it and leave some honest reviews. Our app has a metallic border with plenty of shiny primary colors. Our screenshots are bright and polished and (hopefully) show plenty of enticing game play.

The only thing we didn't do was name it with an early letter in the alphabet. This is an error we will fix with our next game "A Aardvark Adventure" (just kidding )

01-15-2012, 04:35 PM
#3
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Yep, BravadoWaffle RoboHero checked all the boxes to make a great first impression.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,
01-15-2012, 11:04 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
No offense, but 15 reviews on day 1, all 5 star for a first time developer seems amazingly fishy to me.

And some of the reviews are touting "free to download", "waiting to explode", "super addicting"(in one day?).

Looks like shill central to me.
01-16-2012, 12:25 AM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Ops View Post
No offense, but 15 reviews on day 1, all 5 star for a first time developer seems amazingly fishy to me.

And some of the reviews are touting "free to download", "waiting to explode", "super addicting"(in one day?).

Looks like shill central to me.
Ouch! Guess we gotta get used to people saying mean things in this industry.

It couldn't possibly be that we have been building a community for over a year of fans and people interested in the game through kickstarter campaigns, previews, beta tests, and sneak peaks! That would be preposterous!
01-23-2012, 09:47 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by BravadoWaffle View Post
It couldn't possibly be that we have been building a community for over a year of fans and people interested in the game through kickstarter campaigns, previews, beta tests, and sneak peaks! That would be preposterous!
That must be what it is. No other game developers have ever thought of such cutting edge tactics.

But since you have an answer for everything perhaps you could answer how it is you started with 30+ 5 star reviews in 48 hours within release and now you have
43 *****
5 ****
5 ***
3 **
20 *

Any mathematician will tell you that is not a normal distribution going from overwhelmingly 5 star to overwhelmingly 1 star, but I am sure you have some wizardry to explain that as well.

And lets not overlook your recent Five Star ones you are paying for still sound like Shill of the year candidates:
"..Heard rumors of a board game..."
"If you purchase this game you won't be disappointed"


The only problem seems to be now you cant buy the Five Star reviews fast enough to offset all the One star reviews you are earning by releasing a game that crashes all the time while attempting to deceive people with your bogus reviews.

I do wish you success with your game as you are local to me, our apps would never compete against each other, and who doesn't want to see other developers succeed. But I am sure even you would have to admit that everyone loving it within hours of release, and everyone hating it from day 3 on with no release in between would seem to be a very odd natural occurrence.
01-23-2012, 10:25 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
You might be careful with your accusations kiddo..

first of all how the hell is anyone to prove real reviews.. wtf ?

just because you seems to dislike that the game got 43 x 5 star reviews that does not make them a shill.. it makes you a crying competitor.

if you even bothered to think about what bravado wrote you might noticed the hint of fans the game had before the very release.. you know people who where liking the game before the release?

and what do you think who writes the first reviews? right.. fans.. people who LIKE the game..

as for crashing.. it seems that issue is only there for older devices with only 256mb ram.. i see ipod touch and ipad1 mentioned.. so its surely a memory issue that will be solved in one of the upcoming updates..

so maybe you should back off with your "shill or not shill" guessing game and stop badmouthing an innocent developer and go back to your own game charles.
01-23-2012, 11:26 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
How is my hypothesis that, mathematically speaking, the distribution of his reviews is not normal any different from your hypothesis that they are legit?

You don't address any facts you simply blindly support Bravado. There is a thread on here specifically detailing how rare reviews are per 1000's of downloads and this one had thirty 5 star reviews within hours of release for a game that didnt work on half the devices.

As I stated, I am about about 20 miles from Bravado Waffle, we are not in competition in any manner, and of course I would want to see another Philadelphia based developer succeed.

When he first posted I made the observation that having so many 5 star reviews within hours of releasing had the appearance of shill reviews. I accused him of nothing, I just mentioned it was very unusual (which it is), and due to the actual comments within the reviews, very shill-like.

He decided to take it personally & come back on and state it was all the work of marketing beyond my comprehension.

Now that the statistical evidence backs up what was purely an off hand observation made by me, you want to attack me for what math is saying is statistically improbable?

That game went from an average of 4.9 in its first 35 reviews, to like 2 stars in its past 40. Where were the 1 star reviews in the first 35 from the ipad/ipod people in the first few days? Or perhaps you believe no one with ipad or ipod downloaded until the 4th day and from then on overwhelmingly the people downloading are all ipad/ipod? Where are all the 5 star reviews from day 4 on that dont read like an advertisement.

Come on mate. Even if you believe that I am Mr Evil Jealous Developer who simply sits around plotting ways to discredit Bravado Waffle, you have to admit that at least mathematically speaking, their review distribution is, shall we say, skewed? And I backed up what I said with facts, you chiding me about badmouthing someone would seem to be the pot calling the kettle black except the pot came with no facts at all.
01-24-2012, 12:17 AM
#9
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
crap I tried to edit my post and it timed out.....
Here is my addendum

I downloaded Robohero and one of the 4 star reviews is mine(I didnt write anything just gave it 4 stars). I love turn based strategy games. The only issues I had with it are some UI niggles and that it wont work on the old ipad i have. But I am not going to bang any developer over a bug in the first release when I am on my seventh or eighth version and I still have not gotten 2 player to work correctly(which you would think would be a 1st release kind of thing). When Bravado Waffle goes through their first 6 shooter, reloads, and starts firing off a 7th shoot, then and only then, will they be a match for my incompetence.

Let's address the competition argument you have:

My game is less polished, less graphically pleasing, and less complex in almost every major area compared to Robohero. My app is a mud hovel next to their modern Colonial house. Bad mouthing their app would have no positive effect on my app and no negative effect on their app. I dont have that much clout. While in USA my reviews are ok, in Austrailia I have one review and its a classic, "Even for free this game is boring." haha Thats the chance you take when you make a game with the excitement levels of chess....

The problem is that I come from an analytics and math background, and from that background the idea that a newly released app could have so much overwhelmingly positive reviews in such a short time with no undue influence is highly improbable. Upon seeing the current review totals, it continues to look improbable.

Now am I a jerk for pointing this out? Maybe, perhaps leaning towards definitely.

Did Bravado Waffle deserve to be questioned? Maybe not, but his sanctimonious comments didn't help.

However is it a good lesson for other developers not to prop up a brand new app with too many "garnered" positive reviews on its initial release? I would say yes.

I am not saying dont have friends and family review your app. I am quite certain this is what happened in Bravado's case and it was just extremely unfortunate that their release had a major bug in it. I am sure some of these 1 star reviews are just kids piling on who never even tried to play it on iphone where it seems to work.

I can't give it another review but I would be willing to promote a stable release using an house ad on my app for free as my fill rate is only 50-60%. I have one app so showing a banner for an app you are playing is kind of pointless so until i can get 100% fill I wouldn't mind helping a local developer.

Perhaps in that way I can apologize for being mathematically harsh on him.
01-24-2012, 02:14 AM
#10
Holy smokes, I thought my ears were burning.

I guess it doesn't hurt to explain... The initial batch of reviews came from fans of the game who had already invested in the Kickstarter campaign we ran. There were ready and excited for the release, so they posted reviews of it when it came out. We didn't ask for anything other than that they take a moment to rate and review the app.

It is funny though, since we have released the app we have been approached by a good number of "services" who sell 5 star reviews for very "reasonable" rates. Morality aside, I honestly don't see the point. If you can't put out an app that can get good reviews on it's own, then paying for fake ones isn't going to make much of a difference in the long run.

The 1 star reviews are partially from the fact that it does have a hard time running in the iPad 1. It was the one device we didn't test it on, and a mistake we learned the hard way. Although thankfully the issue is almost always cleared up with restarting the iPad 1. Problem is, most kids who leave 1 star reviews aren't interested in trying to restart a device.

The bug will be cleared up hopefully in the next release if we can find somebody who has an iPad 1 so we can test it on. That is proving problematic though...

I don't take offense to much, but I do take offense to being called a cheat. I'm sure you can understand that. Apology accepted, no harm done, and I'm far to lazy to hold a grudge. Best of luck with your app!