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Big budget iPad Games

02-29-2012, 09:15 AM
#1
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Big budget iPad Games

Hi everyone,

I represent a small dev studio from Europe. We have some good PC titles in our portfolio, but since the prices for bigger PC game development are rising (we're not targeting indie scene, although it could be an option), we are thinking about moving to iPad's, since it doesn't require investing 100.000 EUR for rendered cutscenes.

Since we made two FPS shooters in the past, we came up with a concept for an adult (blooood!) rail-shooter. Our skilled graphic designers would give the game a proper visual boost and we also could raise quite a nice budget (speaking of 50.000+ EUR). And not speaking of quite a few unique selling points, which we don't want to give off

But - seeing the Top Paid games on iPhone, we're sceptical. Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds,... all those way too "simple" games with kiddie graphics, cute fluffy animals and bright colours.

I'd like to know your opinion regarding this matter. Does an adult game (shooting, blood, horror themes, but no zombies!) have a chance on the Appstore at all? Are people willing to pay more money for game with better graphics and an interesting storry/settings? Or is everyone happy with 0.99 variations on Angry Birds? (no offense!)

I know the market is extremely unpredictable, but investing i.e. 60.000 EUR in the game that will be sold for 2EUR (maybe the price is too low? Not sure if people would pay i.e. 4EUR) would need around 35.000 units sold, which is a risky business, even though we would prepare a demo and run a 75% off launch week etc.

I'll be very happy for any input

Cheers guys!

Last edited by jnscz; 02-29-2012 at 12:30 PM.
02-29-2012, 01:06 PM
#2
I personally think there will be a market but what I do not know is whether such games will make it past the Apple Censors even if properly rated for content. Check if there are any games (however poorly done) in the App Store that have the level of blood and gore you intend to include. If there aren't then either Apple is not allowing such content or you may be taking all the risk to test it as the first one. Why isn't EA bringing all their non-casual games to the iPad? That is what I would try to research.

Serious gamers don't bother with iDevices because they don't like the games that are available on them. Assuming the hardware limitations of the iPad aren't a problem for the non-casual games, I would suspect there is a decent market for them and you might even get some casual gamers convert if you have dazzling scenes and immersive experience.

Here is something to think about. If you come out with games that have a high barrier to entry (for example, investment) and clearly a cut above casual games, then you can price it higher (> 5 euros/dollars). Part of the problem with casual games is that they are relatively easy to make for the garage developer that it depresses prices as developers try to get penetration with the lowest price.

02-29-2012, 03:20 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
it's tough to say. Games like Rage and Infinity Blade do quite well, for obvious reasons - but of course their pedigree doesn't hurt. Personally if you have the horsepower, I'd suggest to go for a really nice hi-quality game as you describe but downplay the adult content (some degree of blood can be in there, but maybe not oceans of it...!) and of course be willing to downplay it even more if Apple blocks you.

I think the iPad is being groomed for more of the type of experiences you are describing, but it will take some time yet for that to be clear/acceptable. In the meantime, better to hedge your bets and make something that is available to a larger market without being too niche. As long as it plays by the same rule as GTA or Modern Combat/etc, I would assume you are in the clear (and most modern gamers would be more than satisfied with that level of violence anyway).

Overall I suggest for Joe Schmoe that they shy away from building this type of game for these devices - but again, if you have the knowhow/budget and are willing to go for broke a bit (literally!) then you are probably looking at having a nice little slice of the market with little competition.. for the short term, anyway. (likewise, and very importantly, with particularly good quality of such a game you can command some decent media coverage and word of mouth, provided you are a bit savvy)

As for price, you'll still want to keep it low, maybe if you build up a name for yourself (or if you have some gorgeous Unreal-level visuals) then you can shoot for a premium; otherwise lower=better (not bottom-barrel, but you know) and maybe a bit of DLC or something to monetize it a little better, if you can balance it fairly enough. Although some people will thumb their nose at the idea, it's probably one of the more sensible ways to go about things so long as you don't make the user feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed for content, so be careful!

Last edited by headcaseGames; 02-29-2012 at 03:22 PM.
02-29-2012, 03:35 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
i would say an ipad only project is a no go.. it should be for iphone and ipad.

as for target audience.. usually with gore, horror & stuff you target teenagers and not mature audience.. at least unofficial

as for art style.. if you can compete with infinity blade or rage go for it..

if not i would try to make it more cartoony & cute.. which still can be more than bloody themed ...

overall before jumping into the appstore with a big project i would rather suggest to make a smaller projects to see how the market works, how you can push into marketing channels and try to gather at least a small fan base..

this offering surely would need to be as high quality and polished like the big project you planed..

can you tell us what you've been workin on before so we can see what the pc projects look like and what can be "expected" from you in terms of quality?

this would make it easier to comment.

cheers
02-29-2012, 04:29 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.Ugly View Post
overall before jumping into the appstore with a big project i would rather suggest to make a smaller projects to see how the market works, how you can push into marketing channels and try to gather at least a small fan base..
<-- agree X1000
03-01-2012, 01:27 AM
#6
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 41
I agree with all the comments so far.

My only added advice would be to take the core elements of your proposed game and simplify it down to the point where you have a very simple, but visceral game like the one you want. Keep the essential game mechanics and whatever emotional/contextual elements are required to give that special "railgun-awesomeness" feeling. See if there's a market out there for such a game first, then spend a ton of money making the really high-graphics polished version.

That would reduce the risk, and allow you to prove out the concept. Plus, if you get rejected from Apple, you wouldn't have spent tons of money already. And you can discover how far you can go with Apple in terms of violence or gore.

Plus, you might find that after you simplify the game, you might not even want to do a high-graphics version. That the gameplay is addicting enough and is bringing in enough revenue already.

Good luck!
03-01-2012, 03:21 AM
#7
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Hi guys,

thank you so much for your input!

Quote:
make the game for both iPad and iPhone
We might, thing is - since you would shoot by tapping the enemy, iPhone would have a much higher hit ratio due to its small screen. But this is something we're still working on. Once we reach some playable pre-alpha, we'll start tweaking the shooting.

Quote:
if you can compete with infinity blade or rage go for it..
Rage and IB are let's say level 9 We could reach something like level 8 depending on the final budget

Quote:
what you've been workin on before
Can't say at the moment (due to NDAs and the project not being officialy announced), but we prepared i.e. in-game content for Two Worlds 2. Also, we have experience with ace-combat style games for handhelds and several logic games (bejeweled-style).

Quote:
simplify it down to the point where you have a very simple, but visceral game
That's what we're trying to do - something you can just start and enjoy right from the start. Not a long game, but certainly a game with high replayability (alternative routes, easter eggs, score system)

Quote:
i would rather suggest to make a smaller projects to see how the market works
Of course that's a great idea. We are already working on a port of one of our older games (point and click adventure with kinda surrealistic hand-drawn graphics) and we'll use it to see how the market works.


Again, thank you very much for your input, fellas! It helps a lot!
03-01-2012, 05:32 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 114
iPad market too small

I agree you should target iPhone and iPad if you can, the iPad game market is too small, and the store too competitive. From our experience game sales are typically

95% iphone/ipod touch
5% iPad

Perhaps other developers have had a different experience.

Some companies have launched games at a higher cost per unit for iPad, but given the nature of the store anything set above the base price will drop off quickly unless it is an already successful title or unless it has exclusive licensed content.
03-01-2012, 07:44 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGreatWhiteApe View Post
I agree you should target iPhone and iPad if you can, the iPad game market is too small, and the store too competitive. From our experience game sales are typically

95% iphone/ipod touch
5% iPad

Perhaps other developers have had a different experience.

Some companies have launched games at a higher cost per unit for iPad, but given the nature of the store anything set above the base price will drop off quickly unless it is an already successful title or unless it has exclusive licensed content.
I think you find more casual gamers on the iPad as a percentage of the whole, because it tends to be a more mature audience. Of course there are teens and young guys (the majority of the FPS audience) who will own iPads, but there are a lot of 30/40/50-somethings with iPads who want brain puzzles, hidden object games, casual adventure titles etc.

If you're thinking of producing a game that's likely to appeal to teens, you need to do 2 things:

1. Make it free to play (or very low cost), or be willing to put up with constant requests for your game to be free.
2. Make it available for the iPod touch.

For 1. is there a way of making some of the game free to play, but having additional elements in-app purchase? For example, have the game and one whole area/map/landscape free which is a game in itself, but then extend the play with new maps/areas etc which require a purchase? That way everyone can play something for free, but people who are willing to pay and like the game will pay for the extra content.
03-01-2012, 08:23 AM
#10
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astraware View Post
For 1. is there a way of making some of the game free to play, but having additional elements in-app purchase? For example, have the game and one whole area/map/landscape free which is a game in itself, but then extend the play with new maps/areas etc which require a purchase? That way everyone can play something for free, but people who are willing to pay and like the game will pay for the extra content.
We're planning a demo (i.e. one normal map, one bossfight) for free. Also a 75% off during the first weekend and a lot of promos etc.

I'm not convinced that DLCs are the right way, as many players feel ripped off.

We really don't want to sell it for i.e. 5 bucks, that's too much. We believe that 1.99 or 2.99 would be the proper price tag for the game of high graphical quality, polished gameplay and interesting story, which should appeal to teenagers (or basically the usual 17-25 group). Also, it's a price tag we can work with - it's easier to make i.e. a 50% discount and the change of price is also a lot more visible.

Currently, we are researching how to make the shooting fun and rewarding, so the game will work even with placeholders and without proper graphics. Then we will attempt to pitch it.