★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Should I return to mobile?

06-08-2016, 02:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Should I return to mobile?

Hi All

It's been a while since things went from bad to worse, and I am still trying to recover. The reason I've ended up considering returning to mobile is because I just unsuccesfully attempted to sell my Marmalade SDK "Indie" licence (with 198 days remaing) to fund Steam Greenlight. I don't want to waste it seeing as it is now non-transferable (management are being very harsh, at the time there was no problem).

Over the several years since my last iOS release, I have worked on several projects (both Marmalade and Win32), and could with motivation put together a decent game without having to rebuild an engine - my engine efforts are now contained in a reusable library so I can focus on making a game most of the time

But I don't feel so wonderful (times are overly harsh) and can't even decide which direction to aim anymore! For PC I would want to aim for Steam (Greenlight), GOG, and itch.io. But, here and now I still have the above licence (deploys to mobile and desktop), plus my account on The App Store until October.

I just want to know if anyone thinks it's worth my return to mobile, or if I should stick to PC? Come October it will cost me the same either way to renew iOS developer account or to pay the one-of Greenlight fee.

BTW, I no longer use this nickname as the original domain expired plus it just reminds me of a bunch of very low times. But my other account here (real name) was banned when this one was accepted. Sorry for the confusion, I didn't see any point in creating yet another account. (any chance of reversing the situ at all? @Eli)

Thanks for reading. Hope anyone can help me to feel motivated again.
06-08-2016, 05:24 PM
Defo! If u want some fresh ideas....ive always wanted to see a scary horror game with rpg elements and an awesome story...sorry im just trying to get you to make this type of game, as for mobile there is so much to do and so many ideas. It only takes that one special game, to get you noticed....

06-08-2016, 07:23 PM
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,673
Please no.
06-09-2016, 04:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Originally Posted by Alexythimia23 View Post
Defo! If u want some fresh ideas....ive always wanted to see a scary horror game with rpg elements and an awesome story...sorry im just trying to get you to make this type of game, as for mobile there is so much to do and so many ideas. It only takes that one special game, to get you noticed....
Thanks for the motivation Alexythimia23, I'm not really in to horror, sorry!
06-09-2016, 04:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Originally Posted by Eli View Post
Please no.
Feeling that language barrier again, Eli. Please elaborate?
06-10-2016, 01:07 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 529
I personally do both, that's the best way to make a living out of it.
PC is just as hard as mobile these days, since there are SO many games released.

In favor of PC you can ask a fairer price for your games, so you can sell less to still make some money. But on mobile, if you create good games and get some coverage going, you can still make more money then you would like to leave on the table.

so .. do both! design a game that can run on both mobile and desktop, and make it good

I'm the game creator behind Orangepixel.net - tweet tweet @orangepascal
06-12-2016, 11:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Hi orangepascal, thanks that's exactly the kind of post I was hoping for

Doing both is the way then, I always wanted to but found myself developing native (both Windows and OS X -> iOS) over the years, without joining the dots.

'Shareware' back in the day had me wanting to focus on making games for life, I figured a few fivers dropping through the letterbox would be ideal and not much has changed!
Coverage after releasing a game would be nice. For sure I try to make a good game and is why several years have passed between releases. I'm applying a lot of wisdom to the process of game development now. Not really thinking of it as a business at all though! I don't care about that disrupting flow.

Anyway I've reactived the Marmalade licence and started to use the remaining 200 days. Played through years of projects and one stood out, the one which I worked on throughout 2012. So I've created a new project and will remake something along those lines, while recycling some new stuff.

06-12-2016, 08:02 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Wellington
Posts: 867
It is hard to make a sustainable games business on any platform.

18 months to 2 years saw a lot of people try mobile, find it hard, then move to PC. A lot of those same developers found similar issues there with an escalating discovery problem, a rapidly climbing quality bar, and downward pressure on pricing. Turns out no matter what platform you are on, you have to reach the quality and value expectations of the audience AND find a way to let people know about your game and why they should check it out.

Should you return to mobile? Hard to offer any meaningful advice without knowing a LOT more about your specific situation including your strengths, weaknesses, and your goals.

If you do return to mobile, it is probably worth saying that the paid mobile model is extremely difficult to find success in. You end up being quite reliant on Apple featuring going down that path, and without it it can be very hard to get any traction irrespective or whether or not you have a good game. Free to play has its own challenges also, but you at least have the opportunity to build an audience organically if the quality is in your title.

If you can take a look at what is featured on the App Store this week and realistically say to yourself "I'm open to free to play and I can make a game as good as the worst game being featured this week" then mobile might be worth a shot. If you feel you would prefer a paid model targeting niche genre audiences, then PC might be the better option.

Hope this helps.
06-13-2016, 09:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Hi PikPok, thanks for the realistic opinion.

I too went PC after mobile except for different reasons (no fee deadlines), also trying native iOS but the Mac in use was so slow compared to the PC (effecting flow).
Discovery has always been a problem for all. I'm not even sure that a great game would even get a fair chance anymore without friendly contacts, who I barely gotton two words out of for example! But I won't let that put me off, there must be some people who look at the game itself before it's credits.

I originally asked if I should return to mobile because my iOS Developer account is due to expire in a quarter, which had me thinking should I renew or invest the money in the Child's Play one-of donation to enable Steam Greenlight submission. Designing for both desktop and mobile (as suggested by orangepascal) seems the way to go rather than one followed by the other. So I was thinking about it incorrectly by letting red tape dictate the process.

The paid model does generate a trickle for the first year at least. I tried the free model and it was a lot worse; I think there is no chance of entering a free chart, plus I was put off when an advertising network blocked my app because I tested it on the simulator (which they identified as a web browser cheating a few hits ffs!), also Apple rejected that one (unlike Microsoft) and I never bothered to try the free model again. Better to earn a couple of quid than nothing, at least it pays the fees for it to continue existing.

For sure I can make a game fit for being featured, it has taken me several years to appreciate the vibe required. The niche part will be gameplay difficulty, but tough about that because I still have to make a game that I love playing myself. For example, Super Hexagon would be boring if it was easier to play. I want to make this game groovy or die!

Yes that did help, thank you, I shall keep an eye on the App Store's featured tab, ensuring that my game will be seriously considered there by any game lover.
06-15-2016, 04:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 40
Mobile is definitely a good idea! I know people making tens of thousands a month from serving adverts. They had a top ten feature once, a month or two ago and the retention has been amazing.

They found success in an idle clicker game