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App Store featured status lacks long term sales appeal

09-17-2009, 08:46 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: china--beijing
Posts: 561
App Store featured status lacks long term sales appeal

check it out http://www.pocketgamer.biz/r/Various...ws.asp?c=14969

Talk to any developer and they'll tell you all about the power of getting a game featured on the App Store in one of the highlighted sections such as New and Noteworthy, What's Hot, or What We're Playing.

Obviously you get a huge sales bump.

The problem is no one really knows how games get that status.

And now it seems it might not matter in the long term either.

At least, that's the conclusion being drawn from the graph provided by developer NimbleBit concerning its game Moon Drop.



The 99c, 59p game was released on 16 July 2009, and gained featured status over a week later. The result was a ten-fold increase in sales, which saw the game peak in the Top 100 around the #37 position.

However as we noted in our App Store Analysis on 9 August, a week later it had dropped completely out of the Top 100.

The reason was it had stopped being featured by Apple.

So the conclusion drawn is that while getting a game featured provides a massive boost to sales during that period, it doesn't necessary drive long term interest.

Or, in other words, Apple giveth and then Apple taketh away. Blessed be the name of Apple.
09-17-2009, 08:53 PM
#2
I would give my left nut to get a game featured... and I'm not kidding about that. i have two kids already, I no longer need it.

If someone could come up with a system to drive sales that didn't rely on being featured, I'm all ears. As it is I'd take the fleeting glory and sales of being featured for a week over not being featured at all. It's virtual shelf space in the front of the store, where the good looking people go... right now my games are in the back of the store, where it's dark and filled with smelly kids.

09-17-2009, 08:57 PM
#3
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 4,761
More sales numbers here for their other games. http://www.nimblebit.com/?p=1105
09-17-2009, 09:05 PM
#4
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,438
That's just one developer's experience.

No offense to ian of nimblebit... but Moon Drop just didn't have staying power. Look at Flight Control's graph, and it looks very different.

Is it random luck? No, Flight Control generated it's own critical mass of word of mouth and lots of press because a lot of people loved it. It became self sustaining. Any game that is featured is going to get a burst of sales, but only the ones that hit that critical mass of interest are going to sustain.

Getting featured isn't a huge mystery. Some team at Apple picks the features. They pick them for a number of reasons. Big name apps (Madden, TomTom GPS) get featured right away. But a lot of the no-name games that get featured seem to closely follow coverage on sites like this. Get publicity for your game, and your chance of getting featured goes up substantially. There are also other reasons too I'm sure (that I don't know about)

Quote:
So the conclusion drawn is that while getting a game featured provides a massive boost to sales during that period, it doesn't necessary drive long term interest.
Again, it's not Apple's responsibility to drive long term interest. That's the developer's responsibility. Not every featured app deserves to get long term interest.

arn
09-17-2009, 09:44 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,512
A lot of indie devs are not businessmen by nature. Things like advertising, marketing, and even customer support are tacked on as an afterthought instead of given the same treatment as the code and art assets.

As the adage goes, making a product is only half the work...selling it is the other half. Sometimes people get lucky, but this is the exception not the rule.

I am currently going through all this myself, and I'm trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can from forums like Touch Arcade. In between all the noisy threads, there are actually little nuggets of very useful information.

Front Page Tug Boat Chief Engineer
Check out the awesome Fuzion: Age of Wordcraft website
Follow me and the game on Twitter
preview thread (Fuzion is still in development)
09-17-2009, 11:51 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: App Tech Studios, USA
Posts: 1,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwish View Post
Or, in other words, Apple giveth and then Apple taketh away. Blessed be the name of Apple.
Have you been reading Job lately?
09-18-2009, 12:17 AM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwish View Post
Or, in other words, Apple giveth and then Apple taketh away. Blessed be the name of Apple.
I disagree. Apple gives you free advertising, to millions of people, for a week. The popularity of your game after that is entirely dependent on if it catches on with the public. Most games will fall fast after the featured status is over, because they didn't appeal to people who don't just buy whatever is on the featured list blindly. Only a few stay for the long term.

There are a lot of good games that fall off the map. But it certainly isn't Apple's fault. A lot of it has to do with marketing, presentation, timing, and a little bit of luck. Buyers are pretty fickle. No matter how great your game is, you could be the App Store darling one minute, and completely forgotten for the next great game the next. Take the featured status as a gift. A big profitable gift. If you work it right, you can take advantage of that gift for a long time. Trust me on this. One of my games is still reaping the rewards from being featured over a year ago.
09-18-2009, 12:29 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Totally agree. Anyone that has the good fortune of being featured has no one to blame but themselves if their game doesn't have staying power. The featured list gives the developer unprecedented visibility thanks to an artificial (and somewhat arbitrary) push. If that push is enough to drive the game onto one of the top lists, and the game is sufficiently appealing, it can reap the rewards for a long time thanks to momentum.

On a related example, look at something like MoblityWare's Solitaire or Smallware's FreeSol. Those games have staying power in large part because they aren't content-driven or faddish - they are classic card games that have the good fortune of occupying the number one slots of their category. They aren't necessarily the best, but it's hard to imagine them being dislodged anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little White Bear Studios View Post
I disagree. Apple gives you free advertising, to millions of people, for a week. The popularity of your game after that is entirely dependent on if it catches on with the public. Most games will fall fast after the featured status is over, because they didn't appeal to people who don't just buy whatever is on the featured list blindly. Only a few stay for the long term.

There are a lot of good games that fall off the map. a But it certainly isn't Apple's fault. A lot of it has to do with marketing, presentation, timing, and a little bit of luck. Buyers are pretty fickle. No matter how great your game is, you could be the App Store darling one minute, and completely forgotten for the next great game the next. Take the featured status as a gift. A big profitable gift. If you work it right, you can take advantage of that gift for a long time. Trust me on this. One of my games is still reaping the rewards from being featured over a year ago.
09-18-2009, 03:05 AM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: china--beijing
Posts: 561
hey, I just copy this ,not my word

I totally agree with arn
09-18-2009, 06:21 AM
#10
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 942
I find it easier to get featured by Apple than by toucharcade