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Lite version release before full

01-06-2010, 09:07 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Hawthorne,California
Posts: 588
Lite version release before full

i had a thought about a game i'm making right now.the game is done, except for some high score stuff and little stuff. however, i do not want my game to fall into the app store pit and never come back. so i thought...

if i made a lite version of my app, but not put out a paid version yet, and take the feedback from the lite version and put it on the paid version, i can create buzz, have people look at my app and hopefully a few people have something good to say about it, or give constructive feedback (what I'm really trying to get out of this) so i can make my paid version better.

Is this a good idea to do?

Artist and dev for Team Dropkick
01-06-2010, 09:12 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,587
Send a message via AIM to KGameLover1
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktfright View Post
i had a thought about a game i'm making right now.the game is done, except for some high score stuff and little stuff. however, i do not want my game to fall into the app store pit and never come back. so i thought...

if i made a lite version of my app, but not put out a paid version yet, and take the feedback from the lite version and put it on the paid version, i can create buzz, have people look at my app and hopefully a few people have something good to say about it, or give constructive feedback (what I'm really trying to get out of this) so i can make my paid version better.

Is this a good idea to do?
Release them both at the same time.

01-06-2010, 09:23 PM
#3
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Hawthorne,California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by KGameLover1 View Post
Release them both at the same time.
how come though. I got the idea from how console games market. like need for speed or ninja gaiden, they had demos that came out before the actual game. Its not like the lite version is gonna be crap or undone, i just want my actual full game release to be correct and right, but its an idea.

Artist and dev for Team Dropkick
01-06-2010, 09:25 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Hawthorne,California
Posts: 588
nevermind, i guess its a bad idea.

Artist and dev for Team Dropkick
01-06-2010, 09:57 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
I think it is better to release the lite a bit after the full version.

If you release the lite first, people who like it can't buy the full version right away, and some will lose interest, forget or move on before the full version comes out.

If you release both at the same time, they may both end up in the new releases list at the same time, giving you only one shot at the most advertising most games will ever get.

If you release the full version first, the lite version can get a change to be at the top of the new releases list sepately.

If you want to get feedback (a good idea!) you can do some beta testing before you submit anything to Apple.

On a side note -
It seems like a good idea to release the best thing you can for your first version. Updates no longer get mentioned on the current release list, and many early adapters may have moved on and never see your games better later version.

If you have a list of small improvements you want to make, and are holding them off to do a quick upgrade after your initial release, you would be much better served by doing them before you make your first release.

As a concrete example, I release my free game a snake with just 1 classic simple gameplay mode. I then put a much more fun mode in, and it was released only a week or so later.

However, many of the people who downloaded the game in that first week still haven't upgraded to the new version. Many of these people probably deleted the original, but may have enjoyed the new version.

Like the old saying goes - You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
01-06-2010, 09:58 PM
#6
well oddly, people expect a lot of free apps, TAP TAP 3 had like 4.5 stars when it was pid, last time I checked it had 2. I would love to see how the works, but i dont wanna waste your app/time

The Life Blog
Minecraft
01-07-2010, 12:17 AM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 977
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I would recommend releasing the full version first and adding the lite version later. I missed out on a lot of early sales (I think) from having the lite version released a week before the full version.

It was not my intention for it to be this way, but Apple took much longer to review the full version than they did for the lite version, so the lite came out first.

I understand your idea about wanting to have a few thousand lite players out there waiting to buy your full version when it is released, but I don't know if it works that way. Many people buy on impulse. If you don't satisfy that impulse you might not get another chance because they'll forget about your game and move on to something else.
01-07-2010, 07:28 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
I agree wholeheartedly with MindJuice.
I can't think of any reason to release lite first, but lots of potential downsides. A lite is particularly important to get right, as it will be the first impression of your app for most people. Releasing lite later gives you two big advantages:

1) gives you a window to address issue that you'll find out from early adopters of the full version.
2) ensures that the initial round of attention/feedback is from folk that are seriously interested in your game, not people that downloaded it only because it was free.
3) gives your pay app a fresh round of visibility. People that may have passed on buying your app the first time now have a way to try it and may reconsider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindJuice View Post
I would recommend releasing the full version first and adding the lite version later. I missed out on a lot of early sales (I think) from having the lite version released a week before the full version.

It was not my intention for it to be this way, but Apple took much longer to review the full version than they did for the lite version, so the lite came out first.

I understand your idea about wanting to have a few thousand lite players out there waiting to buy your full version when it is released, but I don't know if it works that way. Many people buy on impulse. If you don't satisfy that impulse you might not get another chance because they'll forget about your game and move on to something else.
01-07-2010, 08:53 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
I think this is an interesting discussion…

I believe that putting out a very good limited demo before release can give a massive boost to hype surrounding your game and increase the likelihood for hyped fans to make an 'instant purchase' on release day. I can think of several games where I enjoyed a demo so much, there was no question about me buying it on release day… games like the original Splinter Cell, Halo Wars, which both shot to #1 positions at launch. And release day sales are even more important on the App Store.

However, I've also noticed really big game companies beginning to stop this trend on releasing a demo first. In fact, I don't believe any of the sequential Splinter Cell games even had demos available, and I can't ever remember a demo for any of the Halo or Modern Warfare or Gears of War games – essentially the biggest-selling games. So it makes me question how harmful a demo could be where a game is already hyped through other means; via videos and reviews. I'm starting to form the theory that maybe if a game is already hyped up among fans, they'll want to play it ASAP and they'll do anything to be one of the first to play it. A completely free-of-charge demo is not capitalizing on this urgency to experience the game, and once they've played the demo, albeit limited, they may feel that sense of accomplishment from experiencing that 'next big thing' via the demo, and may be less likely to purchase the full version.

If we think about Ravensword — which was an incredibly hyped game with very appealing screenshots — was there a demo? If a demo was released that allowed people to walk around for a while and play the game, see the graphics, talk to a few villagers, kill a few things… is it possible a large number of those hyped fans would've satisfied that urge to experience this huge game through simply the demo? Would it have led to considerably less sales?

It appears that the most successful games are the ones that don't have a demo. I'm starting to wonder whether demos are really only a good thing for a very particular game (a particularly addictive game), or where a game has received no other forms of advertising.

And it pains me to say this really, as I've always been a strong advocate of developers releasing demos, and as a customer, it's frustrating when a demo isn't available. But the business side of me thinks that sometimes the lack of a demo can end up making more money.

And yet, I also know that having a demo will convert into sales… but is there any good time in a game's life cycle to release a demo that won't cannibalize some sales? And if so, when is that time?

This is one of those situations where I wish I could get into the market research that large publishers will have undoubtedly already carried out and answered these very same questions. It appears most have decided against having demos… I'd like to know how they make that decision.

Last edited by EssentialParadox; 01-07-2010 at 08:58 AM.
01-07-2010, 09:32 AM
#10
It's a tough call also regarding how much content to put into a demo. If you have too much, their desire for more may be eliminated, and if you have too little, they may think you're a lousy developer.

I agree with the lite after full release in regards to the app store only. There are so many apps coming out and so many choices that you need all the exposure you can get - and if someone was curious about your game but didn't want to spend the cash the lite version can get them to change their minds.

It works the opposite way on consoles/pc simply because there AREN'T dozens of releases a day and thousands a month. They can put out demos to get people interested because dropping $60 is a way bigger decision than $1, especially for new IP.