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Appy Entertainment & Free App A Day

02-07-2010, 10:59 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 136
Appy Entertainment & Free App A Day

I see that a link to our blog summarizing our experience in placing Zombie Pizza at Free App A Day came up in the 34th page of the "FAAD is NOT free for developers thread." Since our blog received a number of hits from that link today, I thought I'd open up a new thread for comments if anyone in the TA community wants to ask us about the promotion.

You might want to glance at our blog on the subject (http://goldenboat.wordpress.com/2010...es-free-pizza/) which provides some details of our experience. Executive summary -- overall, we were satisfied with the results of giving away our game for a day. It raised our profile a bit and gave Zombie Pizza a little bump in the weeks after our free day.

I doubt we'll solve anything regarding the relative merits or evils of this system for the dev community as a whole, but I'm happy to discuss the program as it relates to Appy Entertainment. Short of exact sales numbers, I will tell you just about anything you want to know.

I'm slammed right now getting the marketing lined up for our next game (we submitted Tune Runner on Saturday), but I've subscribed to this thread and I'll try to jump in a couple times a day if you have questions.

Thanks.

Paul O'Connor
Appy Entertainment
dev blog: http://www.appygamesblog.com/
twitter: @Appy
02-08-2010, 12:56 AM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Appy_Entertainment View Post
I see that a link to our blog summarizing our experience in placing Zombie Pizza at Free App A Day came up in the 34th page of the "FAAD is NOT free for developers thread." Since our blog received a number of hits from that link today, I thought I'd open up a new thread for comments if anyone in the TA community wants to ask us about the promotion.

You might want to glance at our blog on the subject (http://goldenboat.wordpress.com/2010...es-free-pizza/) which provides some details of our experience. Executive summary -- overall, we were satisfied with the results of giving away our game for a day. It raised our profile a bit and gave Zombie Pizza a little bump in the weeks after our free day.

I doubt we'll solve anything regarding the relative merits or evils of this system for the dev community as a whole, but I'm happy to discuss the program as it relates to Appy Entertainment. Short of exact sales numbers, I will tell you just about anything you want to know.

I'm slammed right now getting the marketing lined up for our next game (we submitted Tune Runner on Saturday), but I've subscribed to this thread and I'll try to jump in a couple times a day if you have questions.

Thanks.
Thanks for writing and thanks for the blog link. Overall, I'm not convinced that this was a particularly good move, but that is simply my opinion. And my opinion doesn't matter when it comes to your games.

I do have a few comments though.

Zombie Pizza still doesn't appear in the Top 200 Paid Puzzle games. While this is an indication of low sales, It certainly doesn't mean zero sales. In your blog, you state that you increased your sales by 39%. This number isn't terribly helpful, since your previous week could have been 10 sales and now you are selling 14.

I've seen fluctuations that wide for no apparent reason. My point is, it is more helpful to provide real numbers.

Also, has this 39% increase been in the USA, or woldwide? Again, I've seen about a 100% increase worldwide for no apparent reason in the last week, with no change in the USA.

And finally, did you pay to be a part of FreeAppADay? While don't need to disclose the amount if you did, it might be helpful to indicate how long it took to make your money back.

I have Zombie Pizza, but I don't remember if it had in-game ads. I know the creator of FreeAppADay was pushing in-game advertising pretty hard as the method to monetize and get the most out of FreeAppADay- did you take advantage of that?

I'd like to thank you once again for writing, and taking the time to analyze the data. Making games is extremely difficult, and Zombie Pizza is a pretty good pick-up-and-play game. I'm actually surprised it isn't doing better in the App Store- I hope it does come about in your favor.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

Last edited by Flickitty; 02-08-2010 at 12:58 AM.

02-08-2010, 01:16 AM
#3
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
Zombie Pizza still doesn't appear in the Top 200 Paid Puzzle games. While this is an indication of low sales, It certainly doesn't mean zero sales. In your blog, you state that you increased your sales by 39%. This number isn't terribly helpful, since your previous week could have been 10 sales and now you are selling 14.

I've seen fluctuations that wide for no apparent reason. My point is, it is more helpful to provide real numbers.
Like we said in the blog, we're only talking a couple weeks worth of numbers here, and they could be a bit wobbly. Downloads of the higher-volume free version of Zombie Pizza have gone up around 20%, so that might be a figure you could feel more comfortable taking to the bank.

We'd like to sell more, but Zombie Pizza kind of had its Elvis month during the run-up to Halloween, when Apple featured us (one way or the other) for four straight weeks. We dropped pretty quickly from the ranks after Halloween. We were in a "nothing to lose" position for the app when we discovered the FreeAppADay opportunity and decided to go for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
Also, has this 39% increase been in the USA, or woldwide? Again, I've seen about a 100% increase worldwide for no apparent reason in the last week, with no change in the USA.
That's worldwide. If I wanted to cherry-pick some of the smaller markets I could probably manufacture some crazy three-digit percentage increase. For what it's worth, the majority of Zombie Pizza sales have always been in the U.S. -- it hasn't done nearly so well internationally as our other game, FaceFighter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
And finally, did you pay to be a part of FreeAppADay? While don't need to disclose the amount if you did, it might be helpful to indicate how long it took to make your money back.
We didn't pay. We were the second app in the promotion, and the site may not even have had a pay program in place back then (I don't know -- things change fast in this business, which as a dev I am sure you are well aware). I read about the promotion somewhere on the web, wrote in to offer Zombie Pizza, and just like that we were in the line-up. A fee was never discussed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
I have Zombie Pizza, but I don't remember if it had in-game ads. I know the creator of FreeAppADay was pushing in-game advertising pretty hard as the method to monetize and get the most out of FreeAppADay- did you take advantage of that?
There are no ads in Zombie Pizza. We have them in Zombie Pizza Lite, but to judge by the check we get every month, they aren't very effective.

The version of Zombie Pizza we gave away was the full version of the game, ad-free, with no means for us to monetize it. It was purely an exposure play for us. We didn't do it lightly -- we love the game, we spent a lot of money making it, and it's quality work (we're nominated for two IGF Awards) ... but as you know, it's really tough to get visibility in this market. This is true even for Zombie Pizza, which was written up in Entertainment Weekly and (like I mentioned) enjoyed extraordinary promotion from Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
I'd like to thank you once again for writing, and taking the time to analyze the data. Making games is extremely difficult, and Zombie Pizza is a pretty good pick-up-and-play game. I'm actually surprised it isn't doing better in the App Store- I hope it does come about in your favor.
That makes two of us, dev-brother!

We've got a candle burning in the window for Zombie Pizza, and we're happy to see sales picking up, but right now all our efforts are invested in our new game, Tune Runner, which kind of represents all the sale and monetization knowledge we've gained from our bruising first year in the market.

Hope has to spring eternal, or we'd all be doing something else for a living, right?

Paul O'Connor
Appy Entertainment
dev blog: http://www.appygamesblog.com/
twitter: @Appy

Last edited by Appy_Entertainment; 02-08-2010 at 01:34 AM.
02-08-2010, 10:12 AM
#4
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Given the amount of visibility Zombie Pizza got thanks to being featured by Apple, coverage here at Touch Arcade, and even in EW (wow!), I think "tough to get visibility" should be at the bottom of your list in any postmortem. For obvious reasons, tthe game just didn't have mainstream appeal - it's one of the most disgusting concepts in the AppStore. For me personally, it brought back horrible memories of the stench of formaldehyde from high school anatomy class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appy_Entertainment View Post
it's really tough to get visibility in this market. This is true even for Zombie Pizza, which was written up in Entertainment Weekly and (like I mentioned) enjoyed extraordinary promotion from Apple.
02-08-2010, 10:34 AM
#5
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,711
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
For obvious reasons, tthe game just didn't have mainstream appeal - it's one of the most disgusting concepts in the AppStore.
The unique concept was my favorite thing about the game. You may have been disgusted by it, but it easily stood out amongst all the other boring matching games.
02-08-2010, 12:05 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 568
iBomber with FAAD

This FAAD thing is a work in progress but here is a good example with iBomber!

http://www.topappcharts.com/31677411...ls-ibomber.php

It was out of the top of the charts they ran a FAAD campaign, stayed free for 7days and on top of the charts and iBomber is now climbing up in the charts and back in the top 50 arcade and overall climbing!

The big deep on the charts is when he made the switch! But again this FAAD thing mainly works with good games and it also appears that it's good thing to remain a little longer free on the charts, eventhough I would slighly disagree with that fact from a monetization point of view....
02-08-2010, 12:24 PM
#7
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
Given the amount of visibility Zombie Pizza got thanks to being featured by Apple, coverage here at Touch Arcade, and even in EW (wow!), I think "tough to get visibility" should be at the bottom of your list in any postmortem.
You're right ... what I should have said is that even when you've had extraordinary visibility (as was the case with Zombie Pizza), you still need to do everything you can to stay in the public eye, given the nature of the App Store. We had a great run with Apple on Zombie Pizza but we still need to promote the game. Devs who think their job is done when their game is submitted to Apple are just pushing orphans into the storm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
For obvious reasons, tthe game just didn't have mainstream appeal - it's one of the most disgusting concepts in the AppStore. For me personally, it brought back horrible memories of the stench of formaldehyde from high school anatomy class.
I think the success of movies like Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead and the presence of various incarnations of World War Z on the bestseller lists prove there is room for success of zombie properties in the mainstream. And I think calling Zombie Pizza one of the most disgusting concepts in an App Store overrun by fart and fetish apps is a bit of a reach. But you are right that the market didn't embrace Zombie Pizza to the degree we would have liked, and markets are never wrong.

Paul O'Connor
Appy Entertainment
dev blog: http://www.appygamesblog.com/
twitter: @Appy
02-08-2010, 01:05 PM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Take the "disgusting" concept as a compliment. There's clearly a market for this sort of thing, but it's hard to think of a concept more grotesque than a game whose theme is canabalism. Much thanks to you guys for keeping it cartoony/comical or I just might have lost my lunch back when I first checked out the trailer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appy_Entertainment View Post
And I think calling Zombie Pizza one of the most disgusting concepts in an App Store overrun by fart and fetish apps is a bit of a reach.
02-08-2010, 04:04 PM
#9
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
Take the "disgusting" concept as a compliment. There's clearly a market for this sort of thing, but it's hard to think of a concept more grotesque than a game whose theme is canabalism. Much thanks to you guys for keeping it cartoony/comical or I just might have lost my lunch back when I first checked out the trailer!
I learned to take "disgusting" as a compliment back in High School. It was kind of a survival mechanism.

Paul O'Connor
Appy Entertainment
dev blog: http://www.appygamesblog.com/
twitter: @Appy
02-09-2010, 12:55 AM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Appy_Entertainment View Post
You're right ... what I should have said is that even when you've had extraordinary visibility (as was the case with Zombie Pizza), you still need to do everything you can to stay in the public eye, given the nature of the App Store. We had a great run with Apple on Zombie Pizza but we still need to promote the game. Devs who think their job is done when their game is submitted to Apple are just pushing orphans into the storm.
Never a truer word spoken! Having been through very a similar experience I have to applaud you guys for taking the time to be so candid and provide gamers and other devs alike with such valuable insights into the work involved AFTER you've mixed the graphics and coding ingredients, in nurturin' and worrying about our lil' app chil'ens even after they've all grown up and left home.

Thankfully I got my copy of Facefighter which helps keep the stress levels down! Take that anonymous itunes reviewer! and that! and that!