★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Developing games for iphone-profitable?

08-03-2009, 10:12 AM
#1
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 12
Developing games for iphone-profitable?

hey,

I love games and I'm thinking about developing games for the iphone platform.

Would you recommend doing so? what is your experience?

Is the appstore too crowded? what are the chances to succeed ? should I invest my money on this or is the appstore a bubble that's about to burst?

Appreciate your take on the subject..

Cheers!
08-03-2009, 10:37 AM
#2
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Posts: 106
A very generalized number: somewhere less than 5% of games are profitable.

It's going to depend a lot on what you put into it (and subsequently need to recoup to be profitable), the quality of your game, how much exposure you get, and so on. The vast majority of games make less than $500.

Air Master 3D - Retro 3D Air Combat (App Store & Lite Version)
Straight Aces - Puzzle Poker (App Store & Free Version)

Last edited by AlexN; 08-03-2009 at 10:39 AM.

08-03-2009, 11:40 AM
#3
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 9
Check out this thread. There's some great information here.

http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=20072
08-03-2009, 01:59 PM
#4
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 227
Develop the games for fun and think of the money as bonus.

I don't make much money at all on my games, but I've met a lot of cool people along the way and learned a lot of new stuff.
08-03-2009, 03:43 PM
#5
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
dont plan on quitting your day job. I'd be happy making $1 a day just to cover my expensive iphone gaming habit.
08-05-2009, 03:39 AM
#6
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 12
Hi
Thank you all for the answers..

Glomgold - thanks for the link. Great info!

I must say it all isn’t very encouraging. I still want to believe that if your app is good enough it will succeed but it appears there’s no connection between the amount of investment to the number of sales.. why one app succeeds while another fails..
08-05-2009, 03:50 AM
#7
Joined: May 2009
Location: La Coruña, Spain
Posts: 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by iphonica View Post
I still want to believe that if your app is good enough it will succeed
No, making the app/game is the easy part. marketing it well and selling well is the hardest.

Regards,

Pablo
Scoreloop ID: coolman

My game: GeoRain in the AppStore, July 1st - 0.99$
08-05-2009, 06:47 AM
#8
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 12
development costs estimation?

yeah.. from what I read, promotion and visibility seem to be big issues.
the thing is whether u(developers) believe in this platform? is it a good place to sell games?

it'll be great to get some king of an estimation on development costs:
can you please share your experience.. and i'm talking about developing a nice game with nice graphics..and good gameplay such as pocket god (my fav! simply genious ) or dinner rush/sally salon/flight control/harbor master...etc..
08-05-2009, 07:10 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by iphonica View Post
yeah.. from what I read, promotion and visibility seem to be big issues.
the thing is whether u(developers) believe in this platform? is it a good place to sell games?

it'll be great to get some king of an estimation on development costs:
can you please share your experience.. and i'm talking about developing a nice game with nice graphics..and good gameplay such as pocket god (my fav! simply genious ) or dinner rush/sally salon/flight control/harbor master...etc..


As far as I'm concerned, the iPhone is one of the best markets out there for independent game developers. An easy platform to develop for and very low monetary barriers to entry. Take a look at the top 15 list of games:

1. Price is Right
2. Bookworm
3. Ragdoll Blaster
4. Cartoon Wars
5. Doodle Jump
6. Rope'n'Fly
7. Minigore
8. Bejeweled 2
9. Deer Hunter 3D
10. Ranch Rush
11. I Dig It
12. FLight Control
13. F.A.S.T
14. Deal or No Deal
15. Scrabble

That's 11/15 from "indie" developers (Price is Right, Bejeweled, Deal or No Deal, and Scrabble being the exceptions). And 10 out of 11 are not with any major dedicated-iPhone publisher (Chillingo, ngmoco, etc.). I guarantee you will not see that for any other game market.

As far as development costs, it really depends on your skill level. If you are decent at both graphics and programming, you're development costs can pretty much be $99 dev license + time it takes to make game. If you need to hire a freelance graphics artist, programmer, or audio designer, you'll be pushing up the cost significantly since the market rate can be steep based on the talent level.

Visit us at http://www.touchsmiths.com!
Follow us on Twitter!
Tipix 1.3 is OUT NOW! Loco Moto is OUT NOW!
08-05-2009, 07:42 AM
#10
I agree, "how much does it cost to develop a game" is almost impossible to answer.

1) Are you a jack-of-all-trades?
2) Do you own a Mac?
3) Do you know how to program?
4) Do you know how to program in Objective-C?
5) Do you know how to write code for games?
6) How are your artistic skills?
7) How about your music skills?
8) What type of game are you trying to make?
9) What do you value your time at, per hour?

Some thoughts and notes about each:
#1 - The more you know how to do yourself, the less you'll need to pay others (unless you decide to pay others just to speed up the process).

#2 - Hardware (and the Dev program cost) should be factored in if you don't have a Mac already. I bought an iMac just to dabble in this stuff.

#3 - If the answer is no, it'll take you a *lot* of effort to get started. Most people crash and burn at this step.

#4 - If you've programmed in other languages, but not Objective-C, you will have a smaller learning curve, but it might still take some time to get a handle on things. I'd been programming for more than 25 years, and I still had to take time out to read up on Objective-C and play with tutorials and sample code.

#5 - "Code for games" is basically a generic catch-all meaning you have a grasp of many different concepts- Graphics (OpenGL or Quartz), Audio, Threading, user interface design, code speed optimization, memory use optimization. You could expand that to include stuff for your website and leaderboards- HTML, PHP, SQL, etc. I'd say the majority of people who know how to program already, but have never made a game previously will crash and burn here, as the variety of knowledge required to create a game is much greater than your average utility or business application.

#6 - If you cannot draw everything yourself you'll need to hire graphic designers / artists. Depending on your needs this could be quite costly. Fortunately my retro-graphic needs for Rogue Touch were easy to satisfy between some hand-drawn artwork that my wife and I did combined with some public domain tiles.

#7 - My music skills are non-existant. Automatic outsource there

#8 - The type of game you want to make (and your skill level) really dictates how long this will take. Could be tens, hundreds, or thousands of man-hours work, which ties directly into #9...

#9 - What could you be making per hour if you were doing something else besides coding this game? Most people forget to value their time and assume that the cost of making a game is the price of your Mac and the Dev program $99 fee. I'm not going to go into my hourly fees as a consultant, but despite reasonable success with Rogue Touch if I factor in what I would have made had I worked on other projects instead of RT it makes the game a huge loss for me.

Despite that, I am very glad I did it, as it was a lot of fun. I learned a new language (well actually two since I had to learn PHP for the leaderboards). I met a lot of great people too- fans of my game, other developers. I also have Rogue Touch, which was developed as the game *I* wanted to play. If nobody else liked it, at least I would have.

--- ChronoSoft ---
Support your roguelikes! Play Rogue Touch today!
Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- Work in progress! Follow us on Twitter!