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App Store sales woes...

08-31-2009, 11:35 PM
#1
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
Send a message via Skype™ to micah
App Store sales woes...

So I submitted my first iPhone game, Skeleton Key, to the App Store on August 10. I got an email from Apple saying it was accepted on August 23, but I couldn't find it in the sorted by Release Date list. I think when I was submitting it and it asked for what date it would be available I just put August 10, cause I didn't realize I wouldn't make it on the recently released list. So I went in and changed the release date to August 22 (to see if it made it on the list), but I couldn't find it. I figure maybe this has something to do with my horrible sales. Does being on the sorted by release date list really help? When I first told people about it I got some more, but I'm getting about 2 downloads a day now.

I've been reading fwish's thread about having his game in the App Store for a week and only getting 85 downloads, but mine has been in the App Store for a week now and I've only gotten 33 downloads (plus 18 promo code downloads). I have very nice graphics (I think), I made a sweet youtube video, I sent promo codes and very nicely worded pitch emails to all the sites on the 30 Review Sites to Promote Games At thread. One of the smaller sites reviewed my game (and gave a really good review), and all the reviews in iTunes are good too.

I think it's a fun puzzle game, and some of my friends are borderline obsessed with it, so I must have done something right. But I guess no one has really heard about it yet. Maybe when Skeleton Key Lite gets in the App Store it'll increase my exposure. But short of hiring a PR company (which I can't afford, unless it pays for itself), I don't really know what to do but wait and hope I get more reviews/more people hear about it...

I'm planning on releasing a big update where I add lots of new features, more tilesets, a plot, online high scores, and all sorts of other stuff that have all been suggestions from user feedback. Maybe that'll help?

I didn't do any promotion before it got submitted to the App Store (I'm brand new to this industry, I honestly didn't think about it being an issue), so maybe that was my biggest mistake.

I'm also pretty excited about my next game idea, and I'm planning on putting several months work into it, and I think a lot of people will love the idea and have fun playing the game... but if Skeleton Key doesn't sell any more I'm afraid it might just not be worth it and I should go back web development .

--=] Insurgent Games website | twitter [=-
Cryptose (TA) - Skeleton Key (TA) - Skeleton Key HD (TA link) - Aeropack (TA)
08-31-2009, 11:46 PM
#2
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah View Post
So I submitted my first iPhone game, Skeleton Key, to the App Store
The screenshots with the brown against the nature pics does not work for me. Look at Geared the #1 puzzle game... it has 80 levels for 99 cents. If you lower the price it will appear in appshopper and more people will see it.

08-31-2009, 11:53 PM
#3
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc99 View Post
The screenshots with the brown against the nature pics does not work for me. Look at Geared the #1 puzzle game... it has 80 levels for 99 cents. If you lower the price it will appear in appshopper and more people will see it.
I agree with Dave...I just took a look at the screenshots and this would be the first thing I would change. Also, I think there are a couple of games already out there that play very similar to this, so that could be a factor as well.

Front Page Tug Boat Chief Engineer
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08-31-2009, 11:59 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
hey micah!

yeah just take to heart a lot of what has been said in the fwish thread. much of the same applies in your case.

sadly we are quickly reaching a saturation point in the App Store where there's just so many things releasing all at the same time, that it's hard to notice anything that's new unless there's something particularly special and noteworthy about it (being from a big established developer or something, for example). a lot of us little devs are getting more and more frustrated by this, and i think a lot of people who once viewed the app store as a free-for-all goldmine are coming to realize that those days are over.

your game looks fun and i liked the video - but seriously, hold it against something really polished that costs the same $ and say, just aesthetically, "how does this compare?" It's to the point now where even $1 games are having a very hard time getting any movement. Maybe the lite/free titles will be this way as well, soon enough.

we haven't hit the wall, I (have to!) believe that there's still room for the little guy, before all the big devs come on and "take over" But basically it's a matter of getting your app looking as eye-pleasing as possible in merely the screenshots, the name, the icon, etc - doing all the marketing, doing what support you can to follow up, and of course getting updates out (and successive apps of better quality). It's a lot of work to do, but this is what must be done to get some sales these days.

Good luck!

-Ron
09-01-2009, 12:03 AM
#5
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
09-01-2009, 02:40 AM
#6
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
Send a message via Skype™ to micah
What's hot?!

So, I opened iTunes and went to the App Store, and look what I saw.. Skeleton Key was featured in What's Hot! So I clicked See All to see the full list of What's Hot apps, but mine wasn't on it for some reason. I went back to the front page of the App Store, and Skeleton Key wasn't there anymore. I searched for Skeleton Key, it my game didn't appear.

Then I realized that like an hour earlier I had logged into iTunes Connect and changed the release date for my update 1.01, which hasn't been approved yet, to be Sept 15. Turns out there's some sort of bug that makes it so the release date for your current app changes too when you do that, so Skeleton Key had disappeared from the App Store completely. As soon as I realized I changed it back. It took about half an hour, and it's back in the App Store again, but there's still no sign of my being featured in What's Hot.

Was it just some sort of a glitch? Was Skeleton Key actually featured in the App Store, and then me changing the release date just unfeature it?

... but anyway. Thanks for your comments. Yeah, I'm thinking of lowering it to 99c, but probably just temporarily at first. I'm pretty sure this game has very unique gameplay -- I haven't seen anything like it in the app store anyway. And I like that mobilecrunch story Rising to the Top, I hadn't read that one. I like the advice to develop apps quickly, and if people really like one then make lots of updates and make everyone happy, otherwise just move on.

--=] Insurgent Games website | twitter [=-
Cryptose (TA) - Skeleton Key (TA) - Skeleton Key HD (TA link) - Aeropack (TA)

Last edited by micah; 12-03-2009 at 05:29 PM.
09-01-2009, 04:38 AM
#7
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 659
I think lite versions are really important if your game is fun to play but doesnt look too hot in screenshots.
09-01-2009, 04:55 AM
#8
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: china--beijing
Posts: 561
hey,you are more lucky then me,what's hot is much more better then what we are playing, which shark's treasure been featured,because,it can be seen dirctly in iphone

then your sales will be in big promot.

well done!
09-01-2009, 04:57 AM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah View Post
So, I opened iTunes and went to the App Store, and look what I saw.. Skeleton Key was featured in What's Hot! So I clicked See All to see the full list of What's Hot apps, but mine wasn't on it for some reason. I went back to the front page of the App Store, and Skeleton Key wasn't there anymore. I searched for Skeleton Key, it my game didn't appear.

Then I realized that like an hour earlier I had logged into iTunes Connect and changed the release date for my update 1.01, which hasn't been approved yet, to be Sept 15. Turns out there's some sort of bug that makes it so the release date for your current app changes too when you do that, so Skeleton Key had disappeared from the App Store completely. As soon as I realized I changed it back. It took about half an hour, and it's back in the App Store again, but there's still no sign of my being featured in What's Hot.

Was it just some sort of a glitch? Was Skeleton Key actually featured in the App Store, and then me changing the release date just unfeature it?

... but anyway. Thanks for your comments. Yeah, I'm thinking of lowering it to 99c, but probably just temporarily at first. I'm pretty sure this game has very unique gameplay -- I haven't seen anything like it in the app store anyway. And I like that mobilecrunch story Rising to the Top, I hadn't read that one. I like the advice to develop apps quickly, and if people really like one then make lots of updates and make everyone happy, otherwise just move on.
Check out this thread:
http://forums.toucharcade.com/showth...n+release+date

HEre's my post on the thread regarding release date for updates:

"This is the danger when changing the release date... if you change the release date of the update to some future date, the current version will also be affected... it will go offline until the future date...

the way I do it is... when I submit an update... I change the date to today's date... so that way, the current app won't be removed... plus if the update gets approved today... its release date is today's date. But then every day I keep changing that date to the current date... until the update gets approved...

I don't know if this is "correct" practice... or frowned upon behavior... I've seen so many old apps that seem to be following this practice, I just assume that's the way it's supposed to be done."
09-01-2009, 05:04 AM
#10
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 362
Send a message via Skype™ to micah
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwish View Post
hey,you are more lucky then me,what's hot is much more better then what we are playing, which shark's treasure been featured,because,it can be seen dirctly in iphone

then your sales will be in big promot.

well done!
Thanks! Actually though it's only featured in What's Hot in the Games section, not in the App Store in general, and at least for me I'm not finding it when searching on the iPhone itself. But this is very exciting, I wish the Sales/Trend Reports were live .

arkanigon, thanks for the advice! I might start doing that. Right now I have the release date set to Sept 15, and I was thinking if it doesn't get approved by then I'll increase it another week. If it does get approved before then, as soon as I get the email I'll set it to the current day. Seems like that should work...

I also just made the large icon in the App Store look better in my opinion, and I added a quote from my ********** review to the description. I'm thinking since it's featured I'll do a 50% off sale and sell it for 99c for a little while...

--=] Insurgent Games website | twitter [=-
Cryptose (TA) - Skeleton Key (TA) - Skeleton Key HD (TA link) - Aeropack (TA)