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When do you give up?

09-23-2015, 03:30 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 46
When do you give up?

Game of Loot was released on the app store about a two months ago.

I made it. I also think it’s a good game. I recently published an update that adds Leaderboards, Achievements, and most importantly, surfaces as many of the game’s mechanics (the fun) as quickly as I can. Way sooner than the original release. If you played it before and thought it was close but a miss, I urge you to give the latest update another go.

In my initial release mistakes were made. That and my biggest issue, it didn’t get the Apple feature I was hoping for. It’s the thing that’s required for me to get downloads…considering I have no marketing budget to speak of.

It didn’t get much press coverage either. I’m not sure what I expected there. The how to’s of online “Marketing Guides” all speak of blogging about your game and sending out marketing materials months or weeks in advance. I just don’t see it. If you’re Clash of Clans or Marvel, sure. However, if you're small, working on a new IP, especially a casual game like mine, and it’s an app, the signal to noise ratio is rough to say the least. I’d love to see Touch Arcade’s News Reporting Inbox. And even then, if Touch Arcade mentions you it’s a fleeting moment in app news.

So the question is “When do you give up?” I want to say that my app is a good candidate for becoming featured by Apple but I can’t honestly tell if I’m bias or being objective. Looking at some of the apps that get featured each week initially frustrates me when mine doesn’t but finally makes question my perspective. I don’t know. Without a window into the featuring process and only the generic apple submissions email address to “knock” on Apple’s door with is disheartening to say the least.

All this said and after having put so much time into Game of Loot I decided to spend just a bit more and fix a primary mistake I made. I have to kick myself for it also... Basicly, the pacing of the game was pretty slow initially. I worked for EA once upon a time and we spent 60% of the development cycle on the first 30 minutes of the game… polishing and polishing to make it as compelling as possible. If you’ve played one of EA’s racing games when they give you some hot car for the first few minutes only to take it away from you and then reveal the clunker that you’ll actually be starting with, you know what I am getting at.

To fix this I reworked the first half of the game and added 2 more enemy types to flesh out the level progression a bit. I have also surfaced as many of the game mechanics as I could as quickly as I could. When the app was first revealed I got many comments related to it’s easy difficulty level or the lack of skill / strategy needed to play it. It’s still pretty easy to play but I am no longer shy about getting to the meat of the game quickly.

In addition, I've added some things players have requested like a Dungeon Scoring System, Leaderboards, and Achievements. The sound doesn't override your playing MP3’s anymore either.

From here...next steps...who knows?
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Kenny of Super Ultra Hyper
09-23-2015, 08:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2
it took rovio 51 attempts before they hit it big with angry birds, one game isnt going to make a dent in the ocean. keep it up.

09-23-2015, 10:05 AM
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 19
The feature slots are pretty limited and even good games might not get there. There's also the possibility that the feature team never even saw your game since with so many game releases they can't even come close to playing them all.
09-24-2015, 08:15 AM
Depends on what you want to give up on, and your situation.

Giving up on the game as a hobbyist: Whenever you fall out of love with it
Giving up on the game as an indie dev: Whenever it's no longer financially viable

Giving up on games development as a hobbyist: Whenever you fall out of love with it
Giving up on games development as an indie dev: Whenever it's no longer financially viable (and then: Find a job in the industry instead of going at it indie style)

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09-24-2015, 04:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,064
What do your analytics say? How long are people playing? Are they reengaging or just downloading playing once and end of play?

That is the really important way to judge if it is worth more effort.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
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09-25-2015, 02:24 AM
Joined: Aug 2014
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 26
Just curious, what marketing / social-engagement did you do pre-launch?
  1. Tigsource Devlog?
  2. Touch Arcade Devlog?
  3. How long have you been tweeting, with only 22 followers?
  4. Indie/Slide DB Entry?
  5. How many review / news sites did you apply for? How many ignored you?
  6. Part of Reddit Community (/r/gamedev, /r/indiegaming, /r/iosgaming, etc)?
  7. Conventions Attended?
  8. Did you have a mailing list?
  9. Do you really have zero $ for ads?
  10. How many youtubers did you contact? How many ignored you?
09-25-2015, 08:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 46
The numbers on the game are good. For the player base monetization is good. Retention is 50% / 25% / 8%.

I do have "some" cash I could spend on marketing but from the research I did, the limited money I have would not help as it would not make ROI.

Dev Blogs, I posted some of my experiences on Gamasutra but again... I really don't think many people care about a the trials and tribulations of making a casual collapse-3 style game. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't see it.

Conventions. 0. I live in the Philippines so it isn't practical.

No mailing list. Tweets... Only recently.

Redit... I miss the boat there... It takes forever for your account to be valid and then, with out being flagged you have to post alot. I guess for good reason but annoying.

Marketing wise, I emailed around 70ish places. Crickets with the exception of a 2. Touch Arcade mentioned the game in passing before launch and App Advice made a post.
About 30 Youtubers. Crickets. There just aren't that many YT people making app videos. That and the game really doesn't make for interesting streaming content I don't think.

I all honesty, marketing is probably my least favorite part of the game dev gig.

Kenny of Super Ultra Hyper
09-25-2015, 11:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
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First of all you never give up. Just downloaded and will play your game along with my son. Get back to you with a few stories about this business
09-26-2015, 12:18 AM
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
Send a message via Skype™ to 1stSPIN
What was your minimum revenue expectation from this game?
09-26-2015, 09:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
Send a message via Skype™ to 1stSPIN
Played your game today and so did my son. The technical work is great and so is the art. I would suggest putting a few young people together to brain storm your idea and see what is missing. Or you can see if you can interest a publisher that has a following. This will guarantee you a return but they will have to see merit in the idea. For sure I would not quite you are bound to get your day when things turn around for you.