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Is it even worth creating iPhone games anymore?

05-19-2012, 05:46 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
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Is it even worth creating iPhone games anymore?

First of all, I don't mean mainly from a financial perspective. Of course that does play a role too, but I don't have to survive from this and it's more like hobby for me.

I've spent a great amount of time during the last months working on a game and I (honestly) think it's a unique idea. I still have a lot of work to do before it can be released.

Yesterday, after having one of my most productive days lately (almost 10 hours coding...) I got onto TA before going to bed. Now, of course I knew that there are hundreds of apps released every day, but it still surprised me how full the Upcoming and Release sections are. And even the most polished looking games didn't get a lot of attention. If I actually finished the game I'm working on after months of hard work and all I got were 2 or 3 "Looks interesting." posts, I'd be really sad.

Now I lost my motivation, help...

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.
05-19-2012, 06:09 AM
#2
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 115
You need market your game heavily these days to make it visible - otherwise even a great game would simply go unnoticed. I guess you should spend some time thinking about PR strategy, not just coding.

05-19-2012, 06:10 AM
#3
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 127
For me I was a little bit disappointed by sales, I would have liked more but the response from the community and the feeling of having actually released an app, a product, to a live market where people are willing to pay money for it is awesome.

When I started developing I thought I was going to get rich quick, but that feeling soon passed, I worked for two years on Eve of Impact but now it's done I can say that even though response is low it's a huge personal achievement and I feel great! I had my ups and downs during development sure, what kept me going was the fact that I told everyone about my upcoming game so everyone kept asking me how far along I was, could not dissapoint all those people and had to actually finish it

Also don't forget a lot of developers underestimate marketing which also accounts for the lack of response (you need to do marketing stuff), maybe since your game is unique (I got to take your word for it) it could also be accompanied by a unique marketing plan which might just make your game the next best thing, you never know.

Check out my iOS game Eve of Impact and / or follow me on Twitter ;-)
05-19-2012, 02:48 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,143
It's worth it to me.

I'll post this sometimes when it seems someone needs encouragement. I'm a one-man-show. Designed Daredevil Dave by myself. First game I ever tried to sell anywhere.

I won't say how much it's made, but I will say that two years ago I quit my real job and have been working for myself ever since. It did well.

Now, when Dave came out the app store was a bit different. There are way more big names out there now...more competition. Whether it was luck, brilliance on my part, or whatever, I got my foot in the door, so hopefully Dave 2 gets noticed.

I believed 100% in what I was doing. I "knew" I had a great game idea and (perhaps foolishly) expected it would do okay.

The sense of accomplishment was also a big deal for me. Don't get discouraged. I don't know who you are or how old you are (so maybe this part doesn't apply to you but maybe others will see it), but even if the game doesn't sell, the experience is something you can use in the future. It looks good on a resume too. It's something you built and can show. It's not a bunch of lies and bulls#!t on a resume, it's something tangible. "Here's what I did."

That's all I got
05-19-2012, 03:39 PM
#5
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,354
I ask myself this same question every time I start a new app. I try not to poke my head out of my shell while in development. Helps to stay motivated and not get discouraged about all the amazing games coming out. Probably not a good idea but it helps me get it finished. I find it tough to convince a new user to purchase an app with so many choices out there. It seems easier to get an existing user to make a purchase. Something I try to keep in mind when considering freemium, lite versions and cross promotions... Wait what was the question again?

Developer: Doodle Army, Cannon Siege, Pocket Kite, Globs, Zombie Road Rage, and Flip the Bird
Check Doodle Army thread for updates on the next Doodle Army game!
New Game: Crash Cart
05-19-2012, 03:55 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 195
Is it worth creating iPhone games just as a hobby or for fun? Probably not

What about for a living? I wouldn't recommend it

But is it worth making iPhone games because you know you can make somewhat decent games?
Hell yeah


Sure, the market is incredibly competitive and a game without a halfdecent attempt at PR and marketing is likely to get nowhere

and also true, that usually what a developer might think is a good game idea turns out to be a pile of trash (games like my "Z! Checkers" for example)


But dont let that stop you from continuing to make games if that is what you're good at doing

I dont know about other devs, but I enjoy making games.
Ofcourse it sucks when we dont earn anything back from them, but that wont stop me from trying
05-19-2012, 05:30 PM
#7
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 22
Definitely, it is always worth creating new games.

The iPhone market is constantly evolving and users are looking for a change all the time. How long can you play Angry Birds or Jetpack Joyride for? You get bored? So users look for change.

You should do it becuase it would your very own invention, something that you've produced. Doesn't that feel great? :-)

As a user above said, you should also have a plan about PR and marketing instead of just coding all the time.

AppVersal is App Marketing that "Just Works"
http://appversal.com
05-19-2012, 06:42 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
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Thanks for the encouragement! This is a great community!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rikschennink View Post
When I started developing I thought I was going to get rich quick, but that feeling soon passed, I worked for two years on Eve of Impact but now it's done I can say that even though response is low it's a huge personal achievement and I feel great! I had my ups and downs during development sure, what kept me going was the fact that I told everyone about my upcoming game so everyone kept asking me how far along I was, could not dissapoint all those people and had to actually finish it
This is a good idea. For some reason I tend to keep my ideas to myself. I prefer not to show a half baken product or concept to have a bigger effect once it's done. This worked out fine for me, except my projects have a big chance of being put on hold when I'm not fascinated by the idea anymore or find something more interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rikschennink View Post
Also don't forget a lot of developers underestimate marketing which also accounts for the lack of response (you need to do marketing stuff), maybe since your game is unique (I got to take your word for it) it could also be accompanied by a unique marketing plan which might just make your game the next best thing, you never know.
I'd like not to ask about marketing tips here (as there are a lot of other threads about this), but I think there is only so much an individual developer with almost no budget can do in marketing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by schplurg View Post
The sense of accomplishment was also a big deal for me. Don't get discouraged. I don't know who you are or how old you are (so maybe this part doesn't apply to you but maybe others will see it), but even if the game doesn't sell, the experience is something you can use in the future. It looks good on a resume too. It's something you built and can show. It's not a bunch of lies and bulls#!t on a resume, it's something tangible. "Here's what I did."

That's all I got
Thanks, that's actually a good point . Having some apps with high reviews on the app store already got me a few freelancer jobs. And you're right, you never stop learning. Even though I feel like I know the iOS APIs in and out and I've been around iOS development since 2008, there's always something new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhoneGlobs View Post
I ask myself this same question every time I start a new app. I try not to poke my head out of my shell while in development. Helps to stay motivated and not get discouraged about all the amazing games coming out. Probably not a good idea but it helps me get it finished.
Haha, I know that! Sometimes it's really hard to focus on coding, but other times I feel like every minute spent playing games is a minute wasted. I successfully resisted to Diablo 3 until now even though the whole internet is full of it. I think that's quite an achievement

Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhoneGlobs View Post
I find it tough to convince a new user to purchase an app with so many choices out there. It seems easier to get an existing user to make a purchase. Something I try to keep in mind when considering freemium, lite versions and cross promotions... Wait what was the question again?
I've always wondered how one can build a reasonable size following or community. If you got one, that's a huge help when releasing something new. But to build a following, you have to release a successful app. It's like vicious circle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvx View Post
What about for a living? I wouldn't recommend it.
I wouldn't do that, too risky. Maybe as a freelancer. But that's only half the fun... No risk no fun, I guess

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvx View Post
And also true, that usually what a developer might think is a good game idea turns out to be a pile of trash (games like my "Z! Checkers" for example)
I know most (all?) developers think their idea is great, otherwise they wouldn't bother working on it. It's really difficult to stay objective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvx View Post
But dont let that stop you from continuing to make games if that is what you're good at doing.
I don't know what else I could do This is what I like to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppVersal View Post
The iPhone market is constantly evolving and users are looking for a change all the time. How long can you play Angry Birds or Jetpack Joyride for? You get bored? So users look for change.
According to the App Store Top list, you can play Angry Birds for ever and you'll never be bored

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.

Last edited by DrummerB; 05-19-2012 at 06:49 PM.
05-19-2012, 08:05 PM
#9
Joined: May 2012
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrummerB View Post
I'd like not to ask about marketing tips here (as there are a lot of other threads about this), but I think there is only so much an individual developer with almost no budget can do in marketing.
Well I do have a response to this one! This is not true at all. Having no budget as a developer does not necessarily limit what you can do with marketing, in fact it probably makes what marketing you end up doing much more effective.

Instead of just throwing tons of money down the drain with useless banners and mis-targeted advertising campaigns, you have to be a lot more careful about how you spend your time and money.

There is a ton of stuff anybody can do to to market their app, even on a bootstrap budget. In part, that's why we have started our little marketing business for indie developers.

It does take a good deal of creativity and dedication and work, but it can absolutely be done.

What we can do for you
AppRockeeter Official Site - Professional iOS App Marketing at an Indie Budget!
05-20-2012, 07:31 AM
#10
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: ΖΞN
Posts: 304
I have had this precise feeling just 1 month back. Basically an overwhelming feeling of "it's not what you know, it's who you know". But I no longer believe this as a coder. I now believe that if you make something undeniable then a following will find it.

The biggest lesson I've learned here is like you say, we need *genuine* interest from the community in our upcoming threads. Thus in turn attracting the interest of review teams and others. The "2 or 3 forum replies" we all fear are a harsh reality, and why I say that an app needs to be undeniable if you want to even begin to expect some form of interest from others.

People like you and I were born to be coders. We will hang in there regardless year in year out. Just give it your best shot, and don't let marketing get to you as it really requires someone to do it full-time just like the coding does. I'm rubbish at marketing, better for me as a coder to use the energy to polish my other efforts. Sure you can polish a video or press-release, but stuff like retweets etc. is a mugs game which I opted out from.

Do what you do best for most of the time. We spend decades learning to code. What's the point trying to compete with marketers? Let your code do the marketing- one way or the other. That is our speciality and is under our control via thought-power!

BubbleSand - "the best sand app"
Tetroms

Last edited by blitter; 05-20-2012 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Forum "emoticon" bug.