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Using Free PC/Mac app to promote iPhone and iPhone touch app (OpenGL)

09-13-2009, 07:01 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 11
Using Free PC/Mac app to promote iPhone and iPhone touch app (OpenGL)

Hello. I posted a thread about a new game we have in review with Apple (App Store) and in it I asked a question that I think is better suited to be in this area.

How many developers of iPhone/iPod touch apps who write the bulk in OpenGL have released a Free (lost leader) version of the app for the PC and Mac?

With Orchard's Craps, our latest game, we're releasing a free version for the PC and Mac, hoping to capture buzz and convert the small margin of PC/Mac iPhone/iPod touch owners into buyers.

I know that a lot of PC/Mac games that use OpenGL are making their way over to the iPhone/iPod touch space so that the publishing houses can capture in on this market with low investment on the port.

So, how many of use developers use a lost leader (albeit a free app or preferable a free version for the PC/Mac)? If you can post a link to your touchArcade product page so I can check it out, that would be cool. All other comments are welcome!

Able Pear Software
09-13-2009, 07:37 PM
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 761
I have a PC version of Ground Effect. It's basically the same game but with the level editor built in. I am considering releasing it but it'll take a little extra work to be releasable. The editor (which was designed to be quick to write and quick to use over being user friendly) works via complicated key presses and is completely capable of producing hideous, unplayable levels.

A friend is also writing a game using my library, also with it's level editor built in. He has taken a little more time and his editor is rather less 'demanding', with a proper UI etc.

We are both seriously considering the idea of releasing free PC which wouldn't just be a version of the iPhone game, they'd also be content creation tools. There would be a fair amount of extra work on back end server stuff and revving my iPhone version to read that extra content but I'd love to get it working.

Like you I have always wondered just how interested iPhone gamers would be in this.

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10-08-2009, 07:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 11
Creating a lost leader to promote sales of your paid version


It's an interesting area we're looking into - the ability to develop multiple versions of a game for various platforms from a singular code base is not totally unique, except in this case it is as we are focusing the paid app being in the iPhone/iPod touch arena.

Normally a lost leader is a (crippled/limited) free version of the paid (complete) version of your app. You use the one to promote sales of the latter, and as it's free, it's called a lost leader. In our case the paid app is on the iPhone, and the free versions are on the PC/Mac.

Some numbers: We've had the Mac version available for about 4 days now and have had more than 200 downloads from VersionTracker alone, with additional downloads from CNET, ZD-Net, and others... The PC version should be approved soon and should have between 8-12X more downloads than the Mac version (as the PC install base is much larger).

Even if we get 1000 downloads a week total, with a convert rate of 5%, we're still selling 50 apps a week, and I'd be okay with that. However 2,500 downloads per week and 5% convert rate is 125 apps per week... at 1.00 a pop, -30% (Apples take) would be about $87.50 a week. Not enough to pay the bills, but a good start. (^_^)

10-09-2009, 12:46 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
It's a nice idea. Are you advertising the iPhone app straight from within the Mac/PC apps?

If you're taking this approach, I'd suggest experiment with higher price points, at maybe 1.99 - 2.99. You don't really need to encourage impulse purchases of the game because it's at a cheap price. When you're directing customers who already have an interest in purchasing the game, you can price higher and still get their sales.

BTW, I believe it's "Loss Leader."
10-09-2009, 11:01 PM
I'm too, very interested on this topic, I already have my game ready on PC and Mac, in fact, I prefer to develop in Mac than on the iPhone..
really, I don't know if I should go free on those platforms to advertise the iPhone paid app, or take the risk to try to sell the game there with the usual shareware model (would need to rework the art for higher resolutions)..
I would love to hear your opinions with respect to my game too (see link)..

Bomberry: so are you seeing that the Mac version is helping your iPhone one ?

Last edited by vbovio; 10-09-2009 at 11:04 PM.
10-10-2009, 06:36 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Ireland
Posts: 10
I did most of my development for my latest game on PC (>95%). The PC version also has and in-game map editor. Like GlennX's above, the editor is quick and dirty, and fine for me to use, but I wouldn't release it as is.

We have played around with the idea of using the PC version to help push iPhone sales, but rather than release a regular desktop version, we're looking at writing a web control to allow us to embed the game on the actual game site. So rather than just showing youtube video, you'll be able to play the App as you would on device.

Another idea we're playing with is to release something complementary, rather than the App itself.