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Old questions never die: "is it possible to make a living out of iPhone development?"

01-10-2010, 06:16 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 86
Old questions never die: "is it possible to make a living out of iPhone development?"

So, probably, this is one of the most asked questions ever.

After the careful marketing campaign by Apple, and as succes stories (see doodle jump, Zombieville, iShoot are what i'd call that way) started flowing, almost every indie developer started dreaming touch banknotes.

But now, after the 99cent price war, not-so-happy app income reports (i'm thinking for example to Streamingcolour's Dapple blog posts), new tools ranging from unity to gamesalad, as well as the arrival of the Usual Suspects (Gameloft, EA), things have changed, and the dev scene has gotten more and more realistic.

Howewer, deve tend to keep apps state for themselves, and this lack of info leads people into thinking that the app store is actually a gold mine.

I personally know it's very hard to become millionaire in the iPhone market, but the question is another: is it possible to live with an income due solely to apps? Can indie make quality titles and be rewarded, or is it some kind of gamble for every published app?

I am curious about your experiences; not just income but also development time, money invested, public relations cost (if any) and so on.
Of course i am not looking for accurate sales stats, just rough extimates wich would surely help professionals, wannabe devs and users as well to understand how the market works, and, eventually, whether if quality is actually rewarded or not.

Looking forward to hear your impressions, thoughts, experiences
thanks and ciao!
Fede, from italy (so forgive the bad english ^__^)
01-10-2010, 06:51 PM
#2
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 314
Every developer's experiences are different. Developers like Gameloft can release total bombs that don't make back their high development costs while indie devs that create apps like Pocket God can reap rich rewards with little programming time and very little invested in marketing.

I realize you're looking for info from several devs to perhaps get an overall, top-down view of the app store. But most people who ask this question are looking for the "secret formula" to iPhone development riches. There isn't one. It takes high quality apps, great timing, vocal fans, and a healthy dose of good 'ole fashioned luck to create success on the App store.

That said, I'm curious to see what other responses this will generate. The more real world anecdotes we have the better a picture of the current state of things we'll be able to form.

Q

Quorlan

01-10-2010, 07:03 PM
#3
Is it possible? Of course it is.
Is it probable? who knows!

You take your chances, you do the best you can, and you see where you get. I think the best advice would be - don't quit your day job yet.

working with my partner Psionic, to promote his game: Running with Scissors:Pre-season. Excited to learn, share and help.
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01-10-2010, 07:07 PM
#4
the iShoot guy made a lot and quit his job
you just need a good original idea that people are willing to pay decent money for or improve on an existing idea and make a better one for less money in order to be successful
01-10-2010, 07:13 PM
#5
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: xor eax, eax
Posts: 755
When I started iPhone development, I was hoping that maybe I can make a living out of it, and dedicate myself completely to game development. After two released paid apps, this dream has not yet turned into reality. However, the ones who give up early willl never succeed...
And yes: don't quit your 5x8 job yet. Not even after a spike in sales (if you belong to the lucky ones). The income does decrease exponentially if you're not in the top100 anymore.
01-11-2010, 03:02 AM
#6
Of course it is possible. All you need is = A product the market desires + quality to the product + effective marketing of said product.

Trenches has risen the ranks and is in the Top 10 Grossing of all US applications. The defining difference is the effort put into what we deliver along with how we market our product.

If you look at it from a business perspective, then yes, there is still potential in this market, although the influx of competition makes success that much more challenging.

EDIT: I mean, no, nope, not possible.
01-11-2010, 03:07 AM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
Is it possible? Of course it is.
Is it probable? who knows!

You take your chances, you do the best you can, and you see where you get. I think the best advice would be - don't quit your day job yet.
Well put
01-11-2010, 05:05 AM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by caa4444 View Post
the iShoot guy made a lot and quit his job
you just need a good original idea that people are willing to pay decent money for or improve on an existing idea and make a better one for less money in order to be successful
That may have been true a year ago. These days you need all that AND a marketing plan (which indie devs aren't normally really very good at) AND a whole load of luck.

In the words of the meme:

1. Think of a great idea
2. Implement it brilliantly
3. ?????
4. Profit
01-11-2010, 05:17 AM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderGameWorks View Post
Of course it is possible. All you need is = A product the market desires + quality to the product + effective marketing of said product.
In the App Store you can have a tough time if you drop the ball on any of those things.

If you can get them all right, sure, it's still possible.
01-11-2010, 05:51 AM
#10
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 249
It's as simple as winning the lottery, all you really need is the lucky numbers..

Start your engines gentlemen, Vector Rally is out!

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