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Blog Post: 10 Things Learned From Making Our First Game

12-20-2013, 10:44 PM
#1
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 215
Blog Post: 10 Things Learned From Making Our First Game

Here's a blog post I wrote about some of our experiences making and marketing The Way We Roll, and what I learned from it, in case you guys are interested.

http://www.polarbirdstudio.com/blog/?p=103

Try out our new game The Way We Roll by Polar Bird Studio!
12-21-2013, 01:53 AM
#2
Nice post! I've got some similar lessons. I wasted SO MUCH money on marketing and the only thing that worked was my Facebook friends, which is free! <sigh>

Well, I'll do better next time (if "better" means wasting less money).

12-21-2013, 06:09 AM
#3
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,003
I think the mistake you made was seeing the large difference in downloads when free and not trying to make money on that. Clearly people will download your game if free but not willing to give it a go sight unseen with price. The causal audience is the one least likely to pay IMO cause they have so many free choices.

I also don't know why you don't update the app removing the coming soon.
12-21-2013, 08:26 AM
#4
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destined View Post
I think the mistake you made was seeing the large difference in downloads when free and not trying to make money on that. Clearly people will download your game if free but not willing to give it a go sight unseen with price. The causal audience is the one least likely to pay IMO cause they have so many free choices.

I also don't know why you don't update the app removing the coming soon.
As far as making money on free, trust me, we thought about it. It was kind of a design problem, really. There wasn't really a way we could charge internally on what was already there, so we could have charged for additional levels or worlds. But that would require us to make an additional world, which takes a lot of time, given that we were hand-crafting each level, and since it seemed very few people were even getting to the end of the first world anyway, given how hard it was, so it was hard to expect that many people would pay. Similar to the problem the Zuki's Quest guys had.

We could have put in some kind of IAP for helping people get through levels that were hard for them, but we couldn't really figure out how best to implement that. I have more ideas on how that could be done now, actually, since I've seen it done in other games, and I might give it a try at some point.

We could also put in ads or something, but that's just something I didn't want to do, personally. The game had a certain level of immersive design, with ambient wind sounds, contemplative music, story, etc., so it felt like ads would really take people out of that.

Besides all that, we were just inexperienced, and figure that if we switched it back to paid, that free momentum would somehow carry over. Uh, no. And when we put another free sale on later down the road, we didn't get nearly the downloads we got during the first time.

As for updating it to take out the coming soon, perhaps we should. But it seems kind of a funny thing to do, because people would think, "hey, it's an update! Oh, they're just taking out the thing saying there will be an update. Nice." I feel like people are kind of used to seeing that kind of stuff in there, and probably don't give it a second thought.

Plus, we've toyed with the idea of updating it shortly before we release our next game. We could add in a simple additional level pack without mirroring the complex layout and design of the first world (so just kind of like bonus levels), taking out the coming soon, adding a link to the new game, and making it free. What do you think of that approach?

Last edited by Hobbsicle; 12-21-2013 at 08:32 AM.
12-23-2013, 01:44 PM
#5
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobbsicle View Post
Plus, we've toyed with the idea of updating it shortly before we release our next game. We could add in a simple additional level pack without mirroring the complex layout and design of the first world (so just kind of like bonus levels), taking out the coming soon, adding a link to the new game, and making it free. What do you think of that approach?
Good idea, but it's only going to give you as much traffic as you get. Consider 5-15% conversion rate (depending on how audiences overlap) if you'll put large banner of your own game and show it from time to time.

So, if you'll get 10 000 downloads for an old one, it'll give you another 500-1500 for a new one.
12-23-2013, 05:15 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,003
Thats a good idea as previous poster mentioned.


I tend to think the easiest way to handle F2P is just put the ads in and charge to remove the ads. I guess my point of view is I want the maximum number of people possible playing the game/app. I wouldn't make anything free without ads because I have seen the conversion rates to buying a level pack or full version as being very low.

My next puzzle game I have been writing on the train the last few days will just be ad supported. I can't see me getting enough traction to charge and I just want people to play it and have fun
12-24-2013, 05:55 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destined View Post
Thats a good idea as previous poster mentioned.


I tend to think the easiest way to handle F2P is just put the ads in and charge to remove the ads. I guess my point of view is I want the maximum number of people possible playing the game/app. I wouldn't make anything free without ads because I have seen the conversion rates to buying a level pack or full version as being very low.

My next puzzle game I have been writing on the train the last few days will just be ad supported. I can't see me getting enough traction to charge and I just want people to play it and have fun
To live off ads you need very high download volumes, which is expensive.

I think it's better to make good use of IAP and be able have an ARPU / LTV high enough to be able to buy traffic.