Why you don't want to make an universal app

09-20-2010, 09:41 AM
#1
Why you don't want to make an universal app

Hi,

I've got some business/marketing issues when I decided to make an universal app or update my app to universal. In this blog post, I share my (bad) experience:
[URL="http://blog.lescapadou.com/2010/09/why-you-dont-want-to-make-universal-app.html"]Why you don't want to make an universal app[/URL]

hope it can prevent people to do the same mistakes as I did, or just understand what's up with universal apps from a business point of view.

Pierre

Last edited by drPedro; 09-20-2010 at 09:49 AM.
09-20-2010, 10:26 AM
#2
Personally, I like separate apps - one for iPad and one for iPod Touch / iPhone. These are different markets and they should be treated as such. The problem with making a separate app is that they have to be separate. Otherwise, if the two are too similar, Apple might reject one of them.

It seems that iPad users are more likely to pay more for an app. So, don't just rip them off. Instead, I think it's a good idea to create features that take advantage of the newer platform... and not just higher resolution graphics

Michael Garofalo - App Developer and author of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook.

09-20-2010, 11:28 AM
#3
I tend to go back and fourth on this issue
My last release was a universal app and so is my next one.

If there is buzz and it's a hot game It should sell either way.
SLice it is a universal and doing fine it seems.

You can certainly take advantage of some of the features even in a universal.
For Paper Monsters, I was thinking about making an exclusive level(s) for ipad and ipod .

A quick check to see which device can take care of rather or not to unlock those features or even display settings.

I guess the important part would be to make sure the "locked" stuff only shows up on the specific device or apple will disallow it.

The issue i have is that it kills you in the ranks as it is ranked based on which device it is downloaded on. And it ranks on iphone if it is downloaded from the desktop.

My app was only featured on the desktop so rather the user intended it for pod or pad it was only counted towards pod sales.

Ironically most users dont realize optimizing a game for both is as hard as making two.... I think it can be even trickier with some features.

I just hate it when people think you are greedy for releasing two .99 cent apps while others release one 4.99 app. The app store has really put the value back in a buck lol

Last edited by robotsvswizards.com; 09-20-2010 at 11:32 AM.
09-20-2010, 01:14 PM
#4
I'm curious to read your blog entry, but the link is not working for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drPedro View Post
Hi,

I've got some business/marketing issues when I decided to make an universal app or update my app to universal. In this blog post, I share my (bad) experience:
Why you don't want to make an universal app

hope it can prevent people to do the same mistakes as I did, or just understand what's up with universal apps from a business point of view.

Pierre
09-20-2010, 07:42 PM
#5
There is a third option which may be best of both, may be worst of both, I wonder what people think:

I'm updating my library to have support for OpenGLES2.0 which of course runs on 3gs, iPod Touch 3, iPad, iPhone4 and iPodTouch 4.

I'm thinking I could release an "ES2/Arm7" (I can of course compile for Arm7 on all ES2 devices) 'universal' version of Ground Effect instead of an iPad version. Of course it wouldn't really be universal as it wouldn't run on old devices.

The big problem is, how do I present this?, it seems kind of obvious but nobody seems to have done it yet.

I could sell it for a little more, everyone with a capable device would get the new nicer version with new shaders for everything (shiny water, rim lighting on the landscape etc.) but would customers find it confusing?

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09-20-2010, 07:59 PM
#6
All legitimate points about universal apps.

Quote:
You don't know if you sell your app to iPad or iPhone owners as the reports issued by Apple don't mention if the product was bought on iPhone or iPad.
You can embed some analytics to get a rough idea of usage. It's not perfect, but you can get a rough idea. I see about 10% iPad users for my universal app.

Quote:
...it will not be listed as a new app for the new supported device!
Being on the new release list nowadays isn't as important now as it was 2 years ago or even a year ago. For me, it comes down to maybe missing 100 units sold. iPad new release list is also much less effective than iPhone.


I haven't decided if I'll continue to release universal apps. Why should an iPhone user w/o an iPad pay (both in cost and storage) for something they're not going to use? It's also a huge pain to try to fit below 20mb 3G d/l limit for an universal app. Now with Retina display, it's going to be difficult to fit into that limit for an app that supports all 3 devices.

Last edited by MrBlue; 09-20-2010 at 08:01 PM.
09-20-2010, 08:20 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBlue View Post
It's also a huge pain to try to fit below 20mb 3G d/l limit for an universal app. Now with Retina display, it's going to be difficult to fit into that limit for an app that supports all 3 devices.
Just added retina graphics to Charmed this week, and I went from about 9.3MB to 28MB, and I don't really have that much art!

I could release a new version that is "HD" for iPhone 4 and iPad, but then existing users that upgraded to iPhone 4 would have to pay again, which is not desirable. It would also split my downloads which would hurt chart rankings.

Users with older devices will now have to devote nearly 20MB to graphics that they will not use.

I am considering a "download retina graphics" option or "download iPad graphics" option. Not necessarily an extra charge, but it would keep me under the 20MB limit.

I would think Apple wouldn't have an issue with that, but who knows.
09-20-2010, 10:39 PM
#8
It's in the best interest of our platform (iOS) not to fragment.

The iPhone has a unique advantage in the market. Unlike everything before it, every iPhone came from Apple, loaded by Apple, and updateable instantly by Apple. Not an Android, or WM phone built by one vendor, modified by a carrier, dependent on all three for updates, and scattered app stores. We just have a very homogenous system in place.

Ok now we have a few screen sizes, resolutions, and he capabilities to account for. Yes it's more work, but is it really that much? Unless your iPad version is actually different, going Universal continues to keep things tight, and is the best for consumers of each device. If the iPad version is different enough, then I think it's perfectly reasonable to sell it separately (Chess XL or Chess for iPad, etc.).

Please don't fork off 960x640 as a separate entity.
I don't think that's the case right now, major releases seem to be Retina display-compatible by default, and there is negative response to those without.

😈
09-21-2010, 04:17 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MindJuice View Post
I could release a new version that is "HD" for iPhone 4 and iPad, but then existing users that upgraded to iPhone 4 would have to pay again, which is not desirable. It would also split my downloads which would hurt chart rankings.
They wouldn't "have to", they could keep running the standard version and surely a 'universal' (iPhone4 and iPad) version that would run on their iPad and the iPhone4 they might be getting next time they upgrade would be more attractive than an iPad only version rather than less.

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09-21-2010, 10:17 AM
#10
Let me clarify my above post. IMO apps should fall into these cases:

1. Similar on all targets (eg "MyGame")
2. Significantly different on large screen (eg separate "MyGame for iPad", "MyGame XL")
3. Significantly different for latest hi-res targets (separate "MyGame HD").

Case 3 is iffy as most people expect new apps to be designed for the latest devices, with graceful degradation for older devices. It would be mostly applicable to a re-working of an existing title.

The apps in Case 1 *should* be screen size/resolution aware, although for a 99c app you might get away without it.

😈