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Review Sites and Generally Getting the Word Out

01-20-2009, 06:40 AM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 15
Review Sites and Generally Getting the Word Out

Hi All,

Just wondering what experiences any devs here have had with getting your apps reviewed and generally spreading the word that your app is available!

Any tricks, tips of ways to build up a good relationship with the sites out there would be appreciated. Also did it make a noticeable difference to sales etc?

We've done a couple of things that positively impacted sales
First, I gave away some promo codes here on the touch arcade forums which gained some good app-store reviews helping sales.
Secondly I released a lite version, which made a massive difference.
I've been playing with AdMob ads and will be adding AdMob to our free games I think, interested to here thoughts on that.

I think our biggest mistake is that I released the game before submitting for review, I would assume the review sites like to see tips before games hit the app store?


Matt

www.megadev.co.uk - quality games across self publishable platforms.

Follow my blog matt-tighe.blogspot.com for insights into iPhone, XBLA development and much more!

Twitter: matt_tighe
01-20-2009, 01:05 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,176
generaly gmaking lite versions or giving away promo codes is the best thing btw im not a dev i just have experence from beta testing and doing reviews for my website

01-20-2009, 01:11 PM
#3
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 136
Well to be honest giving away free promo codes general does give you a few good reviews on your apple page, but those are flawed most of the time as you bought that review I feel.

Now I run a review website for apps, and I do what I consider fair unbiased reviews. People want to see what real people think. Video reviews I feel are the best method to get these across.

The only other real way to get noticed is Advertise on all these sites, there are SOOOOOO many apps coming out daily people miss out on a ton of decent apps.

Making a great app is one of the most important steps, but advertising it is probably more important!
01-20-2009, 01:25 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,487
I hear what you are saying Dorfdad.
I'm only speaking as a consumer here, but I've noticed that promo codes at least get the general forum speaking and talking about the game. I've been lucky enough to receive/win some promo codes and I've in turn recommended that game to someone else. And without that promo, chances are I would have passed up that game for whatever reason...
I tell one person, who tells another...it can quickly multiply if the game is good and worth talking. I'm a big proponent of promo codes for that specific reason.

Not to take anything away from advertising as that's needed for the "general public/masses" but on these forums, word of mouth is probably worth more...

Just my few cents...
01-20-2009, 03:05 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,176
like dorfdad said, videos are a good way to get the word out cause it shows the actual game in play and gives more than a review would in my opinion
01-20-2009, 05:06 PM
#6
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 784
These are the things that I plan to do with my company's upcoming game, Bullet Skater.

We'll give out plenty of codes here and at RazorianFly, then hopefully release an ad-supported Lite version with only a few levels. With the ad-supported Free version, we will be able to give out a demo, and still make a bit of profit if the use does not end up purchasing.

Bullet Development (twitter) Bullet Skater // Psychedelic


01-20-2009, 07:05 PM
#7
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,438
I deleted some off-topic posts. I think the original poster was interested in actual developer feedback, not just a list of people who review games.
01-20-2009, 08:56 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 349
Yes, prior to promo codes it was extremely tough to get the word out. Now that everyone gets promo codes, well, it's not easier, but it's a few clicks instead of a tricky Ad Hoc setup.

Promo codes you primarily want to give to the review sites and media. They expect it these days. With so much fat to dig through, many users do turn to the internet to find things they'll like, though many don't. Getting featured by Apple is ideal, but that avenue got closed off to the little guys pretty quickly. Unless your game just happens to be undeniably great or profound, you're on your own.

To be honest, your best marketing tool is your game. If your game doesn't stand out on it's own, then it probably wont go anywhere. Make something great, be conscious of those who covers games and your target demographic, and things will fall in to place.

| Mike Kasprzak | Sykhronics Entertainment | Mike @ Twitter |

Smiles HD for Mac and iPad | Smiles for iPhone/iPod touch (Twitter, Website)
IGF Mobile "Best Game" Finalist | Intel "Elegance in Design" Winner
01-21-2009, 04:29 PM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 15
Thanks for the input guys!

We have a lite version and a trailer video on YouTube. With out next games I plan to release the trailers in advance of the game and to come on the forums early.

Something that maybe of interest to other devs, my experience of AdMob seemed pretty bad... but after looking at the sales figures it does seem to have made a difference. However it cost a reasonable amount of money so caution needs to be exercised.

It's difficult to tell, but Bomboozle is now selling very well in HK (its in the top 10 free and top 25 paid). I can't tell where the AdMob ads went (poor web interface there ;-) ) but I'm pretty sure the HK sales are attributed to this.

At the moment I'm producing an update to Bomboozle Lite which will include the full timed mode from the full app (as well as the original lite shorter mode). At the same time I'll be integrating AdMob ads (to try and fund our ads in other apps) and I've generally reduced the impact of the ads.

As I used to be in the web app/service industry I'm tempted to try and setup an iPhone specific ad service as - I have a few ideas on how a simple service targeted at iPhone apps specifically could help raise the profile of good games from the smaller guys.

www.megadev.co.uk - quality games across self publishable platforms.

Follow my blog matt-tighe.blogspot.com for insights into iPhone, XBLA development and much more!

Twitter: matt_tighe
01-21-2009, 05:13 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Berlin
Posts: 59
I do think you already have done some good things, as i do work in the game industry and did wrote reviews/previews/specials etc. for over 6 years now, I do also think that it is already very important to do some PR work and will get even more important in the future.

The Store is growing from day to day, people get more released apps and games and it get's really hard for a customer to decide if he/she should even click on one of the plenty new icons shown on a daily base. (considering a customer is even paying the store a daily visit at all...)

Lite versions are really helpful, people can get the chance to try out the game for free and i still think this is a great possibility to show it to potential customers, but you should always be aware that this version should introduce the game to possible buyers and not beeing some sort of a real lite version, with maybe only missing 2-3 levels. Due to that it could help to make a real lite version, ending with some cliffhanger if possible and show some video and/or screens at the end with details about what the customer can look forward to, after buying the real product.

Another thing, like mentioned in the begging is PR. It is really helpful, people get to know your app, you'll get featured in some news/previews even weeks or month ahead of the release, maybe start with some information and artworks or screenshots, then head over with releasing more details, maybe a release date and a small trailer/teaser and so one. You can do this in steps or in 1-2 small mails to the media, depends on the feature list and the game type anyway.

So why do all the extra work? One point is already mentioned above, another thing could be promo codes for media and some small giveaway, like 1-5 codes for the media to give away with the actual review of the title. Still it sucks a bit for us in europe to be left out here So i was really happy to receive some info on some other way to get may hands (in the future) on some review material. Anyway back to topic.

Beside the effect of getting known around the media, you'll also get a increase on your youtube video comments and views and most probably people will start to make forum threads/comments about it, other people will get interested via forums and via normal conversations of players on a daily base.

Enough said, hopefully it contains some worthy information on some parts at least and sorry if my english is not that perfect at all