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Devs behind Gasketball, Solipskier broke and homeless (Penny Arcade article).

08-16-2012, 12:53 AM
#1
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Devs behind Gasketball, Solipskier broke and homeless (Penny Arcade article).

http://penny-arcade.com/report/edito...s-led-to-devel

Quote:
Michael Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend are the two men behind Mikengreg, an Iowa-based studio that spent two years working on the iPad title Gasketball. Their inspired take on H.O.R.S.E. features a system that allows you to set up trick shots and share them with your friends, and the asynchronous multiplayer has already helped to make the game a hit: It has been downloaded around 200,000 times, and for a time enjoyed a choice spot near the top of the iTunes games charts.

This may seem like one of the happy success stories on the iOS platform, but the reality of the situation is more grim than it may at first appear. Gasketball was released for free, with a one-time in-app purchase that unlocks the rest of the game offered for $2.99. The conversion rate to the paid version of the game sits at 0.67%.

...

Boxleiter and Wohlwend lived off the profits from their first game, Solipskier, during the development of Gasketball. “We didn’t get anywhere close to rich from it, but we did make enough to live on in Iowa, about $20-25,000 a year each for two years,” Boxleiter explained. “Greg has had a little more income than me by finding other developers to collaborate with, like Asher Vollmer on Puzzlejuice. He’s shared his earnings with me so we wouldn’t have to stop development and take contract work, which always kills momentum.”

That money has since dried up, and Boxleiter was forced to take out a loan from his parents due to the lack of revenue coming from the success of Gasketball. Both men are now homeless, floating around and sleeping on the couches of friends until their financial situations improve.

...
Read more at the link.

Currently learning iMaschine and Garage Band.
08-16-2012, 01:36 AM
#2
Joined: May 2012
Location: In the Chatroom
Posts: 15,520
Sad to read the article. But if they made $20-$25k a year, why are they homeless? The cost of living in Iowa couldn't be that high. After the second year, they would be able to start their next project right? The first two years, they must have had some money to survive when they were making the game, unless they took out loans with high interest maybe.

I think too, just recently, there seems to be a big push by developers to go freemium, and I sort of think gamers are kind of getting fed up with it. I know I am, and I am buying a lot less games on release, and for the first time ever for me, am looking at the inapp purchases in the itunes descriptions.

Kind of don't understand why developers are going away from doing lite versions either. Don't know if it would have made a difference in their sales, but it is sad to hear the plight of some small developers, and I symphasize for them. Hopefully things will turn around for them.

08-16-2012, 10:21 AM
#3
Whaaaaat
I thought these guys were making millions by now, since I see Gasketball everywhere

Quote:
Sad to read the article. But if they made $20-$25k a year, why are they homeless? The cost of living in Iowa couldn't be that high. After the second year, they would be able to start their next project right? The first two years, they must have had some money to survive when they were making the game, unless they took out loans with high interest maybe.
They don't have a steady income. They earned money from selling their first game(s), but sales on appstore always decline after a while.
08-16-2012, 05:05 PM
#4
Joined: May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HernanZh View Post
Whaaaaat
I thought these guys were making millions by now, since I see Gasketball everywhere


They don't have a steady income. They earned money from selling their first game(s), but sales on appstore always decline after a while.
Yeah, too bad to hear. It's hard being homeless, but I hope they have some family support so they can rebound and work on some more games again in the future.
08-16-2012, 06:24 PM
#5
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Noosa, Australia
Posts: 33
There's something I fail to understand, maybe my figures are way off or there's a bit of information that I'm missing but...

The developers made a few thousand dollars in their first week. Then they get an interview with the PA Report about how they're now broke and homeless. So how did earning a good wage in their first week end up with them on the streets? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that a few thousand dollars for the peak earning period of a game with that many downloads doesn't bode well for the future, but how did it instantly render them homeless?

Jason Stark
Disparity Games
08-16-2012, 08:45 PM
#6
Poor decision making it free imo...
08-16-2012, 09:00 PM
#7
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 712
Quote:
Originally Posted by kendahlj View Post
Poor decision making it free imo...
Agreed. I would have bought it outright for 0.99-2.99

GC- banger1103
08-17-2012, 03:29 PM
#8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendahlj View Post
Poor decision making it free imo...
Maybe they were thinking it would catch fire like Temple Run did?

Currently learning iMaschine and Garage Band.
08-17-2012, 03:49 PM
#9
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 2,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by arta View Post
Maybe they were thinking it would catch fire like Temple Run did?
The problem is the developers need to look at games at a unisex stand point. I don't think I would see any girl caught dead playing anything that had to do with basketball or really any sport on her idevice. Popular games like Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, and Temple Run all gained there popularity by creating a game that was appealing to both genders. The other big no no they did was not make the game universal. I know maybe, 10, maybe 20 people at school with iPads and over 400 with an iphone/ipod touch.

Add Me on Gamecenter/Steam: Fireball926
08-17-2012, 11:58 PM
#10
I hate it for them, very sad.

Needed to not be free, needed to be universal, and needed a easy way to BUY the game! Most of the reviews I read said, they had to go looking for the "buy" button. Even then it was not really clear on "what" you're going to get since so much of the game was free.... I'm just guessing most people didn't even know you could "buy" it and get the full game.

Still sad, I'd love to have in on my iPhone!