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A Snake - #1 Free app (for a few days)

03-24-2010, 02:54 AM
#1
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
A Snake - #1 Free app (for a few days)

This is the experience I had with my game "A Snake" being featured on FreeGameOfTheDay.com.

I wrote A Snake with the goal of making it the best snake game on the iPhone, and also having it free and without ads.

I wanted to provide a good experience and a fun game to people.

The Facts

A Snake was first released in mid December last year, and started off getting around 500 downloads a day worldwide.

The game is a non starter among the TouchArcade crowd - The official thread for the game only has 22 posts, and 15 of those are from me, basically begging people for feedback.

I put out a few updates, and the day before being featured and taking off it was getting around 2500 downloads a day, about half of those were from being #1 Free app in Norway.

During the day I was featured on www.FreeGameOfTheDay.com, I got 43,463 downloads.

The next two days the downloads went up and up.

After the 2nd or 3rd day A Snake made it to #1 free app in the USA, which I guess means it was probably #1 in free worldwide downloads.

Now after a week A Snake has had 1 214 116 downloads in total, but the downloads are tapering off dramatically.

The Openfeint people never mentioned any revenue sharing stuff, so I can't talk about that aspect.

The sales of my other games have increased, but I doubt it will last, and it hasn't been enough to get very excited about.

My paid games went from around 5 or so downloads a day in total to around 50 downloads a day in total, so I have maybe made $200 - $300 in sales

What I think went right

If I had put the game to paid after the feature day, I would have missed out on the million downloads that came afterward.

If you have had a phone in the last 20 years, you can pretty much tell from the icon what A Snake is going to be about.

I put out a few new versions of the game before I got featured, and got the game to a position where it was fun and good value (not a waste of time to download).

I had a version of AppIRater in the game, asking people to leave a rating after 20 games. This really helped offset the many 1 star reviews that came from people who hated the controls.

If you look at the reviews for A Snake, it has lots of 4 and 5 star reviews, whereas the ratings are hovering around 2.09. I think without AppIRater my review scores would be averaging around 2 as well.

I didn't succumb to greedy feelings when the game went to #1, and pump out an update with ads in it. I think this sort of bait and switch really sucks, but can totally see why people do it.

What went wrong

There is a group of very vocal people who don't like my controls, and it destroyed their lives and made them angry. This accounted for around 99% of my 1 star reviews.

My "More Games" button had a flaw that sent people to the app store for the last app they had looked at, instead of to my games. This no doubt hurt the flow on effect my other games got.

Conclusion
I'm very happy and grateful that OpenFeint gave my game the publicity boost it needed to have its day in the sun.

Personally, I think if you are going to have DLC, then put it in from the start, so people don't think you are doing some sort of bait and switch.

The same goes for ads, either have them in from the start or leave them out forever.
03-24-2010, 03:18 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 4,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
There is a group of very vocal people who don't like my controls, and it destroyed their lives and made them angry. This accounted for around 99% of my 1 star reviews.
LOL

You life destroyer!

03-24-2010, 05:24 AM
#3
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Perv, why do you care?
Posts: 1,807
I got it and after several matches, I got the hang of the controls. I loved it mostly for the achievements. Anaconda took me a great challenge.
03-24-2010, 05:59 AM
#4
Thanks for sharing your experience! We do learn from all these.
03-24-2010, 08:15 AM
#5
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Ballarat, Vic, Australia
Posts: 416
Send a message via Skype™ to klicktock
Thanks for sharing your experience Shen. I've been looking at "A Snake"'s performance, but I didn't realise it had been around for so long before being featured! I switched over to your official thread and took a look - *tumbleweeds*. Just goes to show that so many people wanted exactly what you'd delivered.

It's very difficult to get access to the "mainstreamers" without charting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
The same goes for ads, either have them in from the start or leave them out forever.
BUT --- why do you say this? I've been looking at unobtrustive in-game advertising for my current title (and future titles). Why do you conclude that putting ads in will be bad for your game? Put them in at the end of each game (instead of constantly bugging the player and stealing the screen real estate), and you could have a nice revenue stream.
03-24-2010, 02:17 PM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
Quote:
Originally Posted by klicktock View Post
BUT --- why do you say this? I've been looking at unobtrustive in-game advertising for my current title (and future titles). Why do you conclude that putting ads in will be bad for your game? Put them in at the end of each game (instead of constantly bugging the player and stealing the screen real estate), and you could have a nice revenue stream.
I think it is fine to put them in. I think it is a bad idea to release a game without ads, and then you put them in. It might make you some money, but I don't think it is cool.

It is basically saying "Thanks for downloading my game everyone. To replay you I'm going to make the game experience worse"
03-24-2010, 05:18 PM
#7
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 194
Send a message via AIM to DrummerB Send a message via MSN to DrummerB
What API do you use to get info about player's in-game time?

Developer of Practice Pro for musicians.
03-24-2010, 06:48 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrummerB View Post
What API do you use to get info about player's in-game time?
If you are talking about the leader board for play time, I track the number of frames displayed by the game loop, and divide that be the frames per second.

Otherwise, I track stuff like that using pinch media.

Here is a list of the beacons I use
Action Occurrences
Started Game 4,118,563
Crazy Game 2,236,352
Classic Game 1,806,074
Finished level 1,079,134
More Games 204,047 (how many times the more games button has been clicked)
Declined Review 30,008 (the review pop up arrived, and was declined)
Gave Review 5,677 (the review pop up arrived, and was accepted)
04-09-2010, 02:07 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
I've noticed a few interesting things about network usage -

I've had 1.9 million downloads.

1.2 million devices have shown up on pinchmedia, meaning they have played the game with an internet connection

The OpenFeint leader boards have around 600,000 scores.

This means around 60% of people are playing with an internet connection, and about half of those making use of OpenFeint.

The OpenFeint numbers may be a bit lower due to people quitting and deleting the game before submitting a score.

Make of those numbers what you will.
04-09-2010, 03:04 AM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
I've had 1.9 million downloads.

1.2 million devices have shown up on pinchmedia, meaning they have played the game with an internet connection

The OpenFeint leader boards have around 600,000 scores.

This means around 60% of people are playing with an internet connection, and about half of those making use of OpenFeint.
take into consideration that many people will download something because it's free and only for that reason. they might not even run the app. no chances to even guess any percentage of this, but Im sure that the amount of users who download app and then forget/dont bother to run the app must also be significant