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Developer's view about viability on the app store.

08-26-2009, 05:42 PM
#1
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 574
Developer's view about viability on the app store.

Seldom post anything on the developer forum, but i read an article a couple days ago about developers leaving the iPhone platform due to a multitude of reasons but mostly it was down to not being able to sell any meaningful number of copies of their game or app on the app store. I lost the link but if i can find that article again, i'll post it here.

I'm wondering if there are any such developers reading this post now. If you are one of these developers leaving the platform or at least scaling back, would you care to share your thoughts on this matter?
08-26-2009, 07:29 PM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Iceland
Posts: 278
Not leaving the platform, far from it but it seems like less follow up indy games are being released now than half a year ago.

Lack of sales is without doubt the reason. Sweating for 3 months on a single game and then watching it sell 5 copies a day isn't motivating.

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08-26-2009, 07:46 PM
#3
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 574
Quote:
Originally Posted by karlth View Post
Not leaving the platform, far from it but it seems like less follow up indy games are being released now than half a year ago.

Lack of sales is without doubt the reason. Sweating for 3 months on a single game and then watching it sell 5 copies a day isn't motivating.
Good to hear that the business is viable for you. I'd also heard that a lot of indy developers are doing this just as a side job. Is that the majority or just a minority thingy. Not sure if that explains the rather large differences in terms of quality and content of indy verses the bigger publishers games.
08-26-2009, 11:36 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 122
read karlth's reply again. He's not saying it's viable. It's crap. But 5 copies a day is actually not terrible, and certainly much better than I'm making. (It's ~$100/month for a $.99 game.)

Anyway, to your other question, yes, I think most indie devs are "part time" or put another way, we haven't quit our day jobs. On the other hand, I know a few who have. They seem to be in the minority though.

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08-27-2009, 11:03 AM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by karlth View Post
Not leaving the platform, far from it but it seems like less follow up indy games are being released now than half a year ago.

Lack of sales is without doubt the reason. Sweating for 3 months on a single game and then watching it sell 5 copies a day isn't motivating.
Try spending 8 months on one.

Right now I'm personally sticking it out and even have 3 new games planned. But, something has got to change on the sales front. While I love making games, I'm looking for ways to create ones that don't require 8 months of development. From what I've seen of the market everyone demands 99 cent games and from a business reality standpoint that means very little content. The only way you can break that mold is to have 100s of thousands of sales. But, at 5 sales a day (or less,) that is a far off concept. Getting sites to even do reviews is a problem currently, for me at least.

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08-27-2009, 08:02 PM
#6
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Cupertino
Posts: 53
If you consider the iPhone a game platform, then true indie development will continue to thrive on this as with every game platform. There is something exciting about the iPhone that many of us just don't see with other platforms; I was personally never motivated to develop for WinMobile or Symbian. Part of the appeal is certainly the App Store, and the Apple distribution model -- it's a relatively low-cost entry for indie game development (compared to Wii Ware, for example). However there is already a flight to quality, and the development costs will surely increase (3D games are *lot* more costly than 2D games...) but the as long as there is enough of a possibility of a viable reward, we'll continue to take the risk and develop for the iPhone. And of course it's nice to be able to whip out the latest beta version of my game running on the latest Apple hardware... which is slightly less nerdy than with other platforms. Kinda helps devs get laid I guess... good upside, no?

--yarri

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08-27-2009, 08:59 PM
#7
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by yarri View Post
However there is already a flight to quality, and the development costs will surely increase (3D games are *lot* more costly than 2D games...)
It goes without saying that good content will always cost money to make.

And IMHO 3D isn't really necessary to make a high quality app on the iDevice.

Haven't been impressed by any app that uses 3D on the iDevice, as many of the apps suffer from the same thing that has plagued the PSP platform from the beginning. No unique apps.

No one wants to shell out top dollar for a watered-down port of a console app.

It also didn't help that the PSP was rife with piracy, ironically, something that the iDevice shares in common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yarri View Post
And of course it's nice to be able to whip out the latest beta version of my game running on the latest Apple hardware... which is slightly less nerdy than with other platforms. Kinda helps devs get laid I guess... good upside, no?
Let us know if it works.

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08-27-2009, 09:08 PM
#8
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
I've noticed some devs are releasing their game in stages.

maybe 2 development months for the initial release at $1 then add new features via updates. maybe that's the way to do an 8 month dev game on the iphone.
08-28-2009, 05:13 AM
#9
I personally really think apple should make two charts, one for indipendent developers and one for bigger studios. The way gameloft prices their games is in no way a positive move for any other developer, most high end games from them are now .99 cent. No way anyone can compete with that ? ( even glu etc having trouble ). Also for the bigger studios the chart and games must have a minimum price ( like 5$ min and a 15$ max for example )

I really think that if the pspmini's will be succesfull in the first 6-12 months, that the bigger companies will leave appstore and focus on that
08-28-2009, 10:53 AM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaikben View Post
I really think that if the pspmini's will be succesfull in the first 6-12 months, that the bigger companies will leave appstore and focus on that
If they are turning a profit at all you won't see them leave the platform. They may make the new PSP top priority for new releases and updates but they won't leave a platform that is profitable so I think we are stuck with them.

Personally I've made next to nothing on the App Store.
My game iNsane has made me less than $100 since it's release in early July despite very positive feedback from the people who own it. Rated 4 1/2 stars.

Exposure is the major problem I think. With all the shady business with developers "buying" chart spots and the larger developers producing really high end games and selling for $.99 the top chart spots are pretty much locked up. You can't produce enough downloads from the occasional promo code giveaway to come anywhere close to the top 100.

Add to that the fact that Apple has held the latest version of iNsane in review for nearly a month now. I've been adding user requested features with each update but it's impossible to get steady feedback on the new features with the way the app store is managed.

The current game I'm working on will have taken atleast 4x the development time than iNsane required. If I can't find a way to drum up some sales I may have to start looking into other platforms myself