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How is developing working out for you?

02-01-2010, 03:10 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 267
How is developing working out for you?

I'm really curious about how well developers here are doing in the appstore market and I'd like to learn a little bit about how you guys market and sell your apps. A few things I'm mainly curious about is age group, team size, budget, marketing options, and time it takes to develop a game.

The main reason I ask is because I tend to see a lot of games in the appstore that don't seem to be selling very well, yet they're great games. To myself, it's interesting to me to find out why they're not doing so well and why you think they're not doing so well, or if you yourself are doing well, why you think you're doing well.

Lastly, if there's anyway I myself could help out small devs, I'd definitely like to know if and how I can.

Gameloft ID: VoN_Athlos Plus+ ID: Twizzy420 Warfare Inc ID: Athlos
02-01-2010, 03:25 PM
#2
Age group: I'm 27, business partner is 28
Team size: 2, we're adding a 3rd
Budget: we do everything in-house and we haven't started paying ourselves yet
Marketing options: we do press releases and are trying to build a presence on various websites/forums/twitter/etc - we have yet to hear a really convincing marketing budget that consistently works.
Time it takes to develop a game: varies on what we're doing. Our first apps were pretty quick, the game we're working on now is taking awhile as it's a new thing for us (getting there though)
Doing Well/Not Doing Well: We're doing okay, we sell some of our apps every day, not nearly enough to quit our day jobs but enough that it's fun to see. The more people that have them the better, no? It's just a matter of coming out with a quality product and always finding a way to promote it - not directly but by participating in the community. I don't want to come into every thread saying "OMG BUY MY STUFF" - I want people to know that when I post I'll put something interesting into the conversation. That goes for every site I participate in. We want to do this full time and develop lots of fun stuff and we'll work up to that eventually.
What you could do to help: Buy our apps, check out our website, follow us on twitter/facebook, tell others if you like our apps (and rate them)

And I'm sure that last bit goes for every developer on here. It's just a matter of enough people hearing about us/what we do/what we offer. I'm trying to build up our presence enough so when we release our game soon not EVERYONE will say, "who are these schmoes?"

I hope this helps!

02-01-2010, 03:36 PM
#3
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure Industries View Post
Age group: I'm 27, business partner is 28
Team size: 2, we're adding a 3rd
Budget: we do everything in-house and we haven't started paying ourselves yet
Marketing options: we do press releases and are trying to build a presence on various websites/forums/twitter/etc - we have yet to hear a really convincing marketing budget that consistently works.
Time it takes to develop a game: varies on what we're doing. Our first apps were pretty quick, the game we're working on now is taking awhile as it's a new thing for us (getting there though)
Doing Well/Not Doing Well: We're doing okay, we sell some of our apps every day, not nearly enough to quit our day jobs but enough that it's fun to see. The more people that have them the better, no? It's just a matter of coming out with a quality product and always finding a way to promote it - not directly but by participating in the community. I don't want to come into every thread saying "OMG BUY MY STUFF" - I want people to know that when I post I'll put something interesting into the conversation. That goes for every site I participate in. We want to do this full time and develop lots of fun stuff and we'll work up to that eventually.
What you could do to help: Buy our apps, check out our website, follow us on twitter/facebook, tell others if you like our apps (and rate them)

And I'm sure that last bit goes for every developer on here. It's just a matter of enough people hearing about us/what we do/what we offer. I'm trying to build up our presence enough so when we release our game soon not EVERYONE will say, "who are these schmoes?"

I hope this helps!
Thanks for the info, btw I always rate apps I buy
One other thing I'm curious about is why some people worry about the small "suffering" indie devs. I don't understand why it's such a big deal if they're not doing this for a job, I always thought it was either for fun or for a job, but as far as I've seen the small devs here seem to not want to scrape up the money for marketing (which makes me think that they're not in it for a job). In my opinion marketing is the most important part aside from a quality product, right?

Also, what does it mean by paying yourself? and do you think that youtube reviewers (that have decent subscriptions) help app sales?

Gameloft ID: VoN_Athlos Plus+ ID: Twizzy420 Warfare Inc ID: Athlos

Last edited by Athlos; 02-01-2010 at 03:39 PM.
02-01-2010, 03:43 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Posts: 722
Team size: 2
Age: 19 and 21
Budget: Zero, aside from required hardware and time spent
Marketing: Make an epic free game (Trace) and transfer the userbase from there. Also lurk @ TA a lot
Dev time: Trace = 2 months, Gomi = 9 months


We're doing okay as well, no instant riches but it's definitely not zero sales like I've heard some devs have gotten. I like to think this is because we emphasize quality and try to make our games to the traditional video game standards and not the iPhone game standards, but who knows, maybe we just got lucky

I think that people worry about suffering indie devs because, whether it is a primary or secondary source of income, making no money and getting no sales after putting in huge amounts of work is tough and discourages the next great game from getting created.

Last edited by spacecowgoesmoo; 02-01-2010 at 03:53 PM.
02-01-2010, 03:56 PM
#5
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecowgoesmoo View Post
Team size: 2
Age: 19 and 21
Budget: Zero, aside from required hardware and time spent
Marketing: Make an epic free game (Trace) and transfer the userbase from there. Also lurk @ TA a lot
Dev time: Trace = 2 months, Gomi = 9 months


We're doing okay as well, no instant riches but it's definitely not zero sales like I've heard some devs have gotten. I like to think this is because we emphasize quality and try to make our games to the traditional video game standards and not the iPhone game standards, but who knows, maybe we just got lucky

I think that people worry about suffering indie devs because, whether it is a primary or secondary source of income, making no money and getting no sales is tough and discourages the next great game from getting created.
Glad to hear your doing well

Yeah about what you said with the suffering devs, that makes sence, but it's impractical to have everyone earn a bunch of money. I mainly empathize with devs suffering in sales only if thier product is exceedingly good, those are the devs I try to help.

Do you believe there is a great amount of money to be made for a small dev team with a good marketing plan and product? That's another thing I'm curious about, is this market worthy of a average jobs pay to those who embrace it well?

Gameloft ID: VoN_Athlos Plus+ ID: Twizzy420 Warfare Inc ID: Athlos
02-01-2010, 03:58 PM
#6
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: the 56th realm of existence
Posts: 5,948
about youtube reviewers, i can say that although i watch appvee reviews very often, none of their reviews have ever really pushed me into buying the game

Beta tester of 54 games
Quote:
Originally Posted by crex View Post
Thats a nice lookin gun.
02-01-2010, 04:01 PM
#7
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jak56 View Post
about youtube reviewers, i can say that although i watch appvee reviews very often, none of their reviews have ever really pushed me into buying the game
They've definitely helped me in many of my purchases, about 10~20. Along with TouchArcade, about 5~10. (And I just got my ipod touch this Christmas).

Gameloft ID: VoN_Athlos Plus+ ID: Twizzy420 Warfare Inc ID: Athlos
02-01-2010, 04:05 PM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
My thoughts:

It's fairly easy to make an app that gets single digit buys a day.

To make serious money you need visibility from Apple's top lists. The cream does not automatically rise to the top. There's massive momentum to apps already on the charts, and to crack those barriers you need a concentrated burst of sales. The surest way to pull it off is to get featured by Apple - easier said than done. To retain chart position, your app needs to be broadly appealing enough to net frequent, positive user reviews.

When an app is released, it gets a nice initial burst of visibility thanks to release date filtering on the AppStore. But that visibility quickly falls off day by day as new apps appear and inevitably push your app downwards on that list. Unless an app manages to capitalize on its early visibility and land a chart position before it fades from new releases, you'll see fewer and fewer downloads each day - like a YouTube video going viral, this involves a fair amount of dumb luck. Once an app is actually on a top list, the opposite is often true - an app can crawl its way up the chart, with each upward movement further increasing its visibility.

Advertising or getting covered by a mainstream website can certainly help. But unless the ad campaign results in pushing your app onto a top list, it's unlikely to pay for itself. Indies aren't necessarily reluctant to advertise - they're suspicious (and rightly so) of the bottom line results. That being said, with the appstore being as competetive as it is, advertising is almost a "must" these days to give even a great app that critical push into broad visibility. Some companies (i.e. Freeverse) seems to have this down to a science.
02-01-2010, 04:06 PM
#9
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: the 56th realm of existence
Posts: 5,948
thing with me is, if i like a game, im bound to get it sooner or later. i i dont like the looks of it, then im not gonna get it! my judgment has not failed me so far, apart from the legendary doodle jump.

Beta tester of 54 games
Quote:
Originally Posted by crex View Post
Thats a nice lookin gun.
02-01-2010, 04:15 PM
#10
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
My thoughts:

It's fairly easy to make an app that gets single digit buys a day.

To make serious money you need visibility from Apple's top lists. The cream does not automatically rise to the top. There's massive momentum to apps already on the charts, and to crack those barriers you need a concentrated burst of sales. The surest way to pull it off is to get featured by Apple - easier said than done. To retain chart position, your app needs to be broadly appealing enough to net frequent, positive user reviews.

When an app is released, it gets a nice initial burst of visibility thanks to release date filtering on the AppStore. But that visibility quickly falls off day by day as new apps appear and inevitably push your app downwards on that list. Unless an app manages to capitalize on its early visibility and land a chart position before it fades from new releases, you'll see fewer and fewer downloads each day - like a YouTube video going viral, this involves a fair amount of dumb luck. Once an app is actually on a top list, the opposite is often true - an app can crawl its way up the chart, with each upward movement further increasing its visibility.

Advertising or getting covered by a mainstream website can certainly help. But unless the ad campaign results in pushing your app onto a top list, it's unlikely to pay for itself. Indies aren't necessarily reluctant to advertise - they're suspicious (and rightly so) of the bottom line results. That being said, with the appstore being as competetive as it is, advertising is almost a "must" these days to give even a great app that critical push into broad visibility. Some companies (i.e. Freeverse) seems to have this down to a science.
That's some good insight there, I believe what you said about advertising but I think I'd go further and say it is a must if you really want to make a good amount of money from your product. I'm really interested in this whole market and I'm thinking of ways to maybe start an advertising scheme for it, but to do that I have a lot to learn about this whole subject.

Gameloft ID: VoN_Athlos Plus+ ID: Twizzy420 Warfare Inc ID: Athlos