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Invested 30k in App Store only to get disappointed

01-31-2011, 11:57 AM
#1
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 14
Invested 30k in App Store only to get disappointed

The app is FT. We worked on it for straight 19 months and only to be disappointed at end.

The app is novice stock simulation game where players use virtual currency to buy, sell and trade stocks of real world sports athletes in same way as Apple Inc and Google are traded on Nasdaq.

We started first with a prototype which was developed back in 2009. The prototype took nearly 6 months to develop but finally reached app store in late 2009.
Walla! The app received 900 downloads in first three hours of launch without no sort of advertisement. Except on TA.
And our test servers crashed.

Later - Long story short. We end up spending three times more then our initial of 10k to "polish" the idea.

However, atlast giving away for free and little help with a press release. The app did manage to crack Top200 games sub-category list.
01-31-2011, 12:11 PM
#2
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 426
I am sorry to here this...

Just out of interest, what do you see that were the biggest factors in this?

I'm curious because I am making plans to invest about 40k into a game and are looking at ways to stack the odds for success.

01-31-2011, 02:14 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
it is a common story heard around these parts.
developing an app is like buying a lottery ticket. You can keep pouring money into it to "chase" it if you like, but either it will hit, or it won't.

I think you guys have a great and novel app, but the overall issue is the same everyone else faces. the App Store is an oversaturated mess and you cannot expect people to just "know about" and download your app. If it is free it has a slightly better chance (people DL free stuff relentlessly), but then the free charts are even more competitive than the paid ones so you are fighting a different battle over there.

The usual advice holds. Best you can do is "buy another lottery ticket" which means learn from what you've already done and build a whole new game, which is more marketable than what you've done. Include links/store to upsell to your existing product(s) and then at least if your new game does any business, then you will get fresh eyeballs on your existing property.

Otherwise, and I'm a bit blue in the face from saying it now is that you really need to concentrate on promotion and marketing and all that it entails. So many developers treat it as an afterthought, when in reality this is one of the most crucial parts of the entire development from the word GO. People need to know your name, your brand, and you have to worked damned hard to trumpet those things. Your app name, your icon, they must all speak to your targeted market. Press releases must be written, promotions should be held (contests and such). Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, any kind of energy you can pour into social networking will all help your cause.

If you don't want to deal with any of this stuff, there's plenty of people willing to take your money who will cover it for you (but you get what you pay for, and if you don't pay much, don't expect much)

Even after all of that time & money spent, there's still no guarantee of success on your app (or a small suite of them). You need to closely study the market and see what does well, and what would do well. Go out and test your app during development to see how people respond, in betas (online) and also in person - the iPhone is a casual device, people play with them on trains and in bars!

You have a very specific app here which would definitely appeal to a particular niche of the market which may not be very catered to - my ears perked up when I heard of it. Go where your audience is (different websites/magazines relative to that industry) and send them carefully-designed and informative press material. A mention from some of those guys might do wonders for you.

Long story short, you've worked hard but the real hard work is yet to come! If you can hang, you might find some success yet
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01-31-2011, 02:21 PM
#4
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 58
Sorry to sound harsh, but.

You might want to check target audience first before putting money in developing of such apps.
Let's have a look, what we got in appstore:

Casual, very polished, short session games:
Angry Birds
Doodle jump
Cut the rope
Plants vs Zombies


Great graphics games with great gameplay:
Dead Space
Infinity Blade
GTA
Lego Harry Potter

Remakes of old known games:
you name it

I just checked full top-100 of games, do you know how many manager games are there? Zero. None. Null.
One might expect if he gets a game like football manager, which has some appeal to certain (small) audience, he might get some attention, but going after a virtual stock trading with player names instead of company names (?!), seriously?
Did you ever think, if you were completely out of that developing, would you be one to buy your game? I highly doubt it.
Maybe getting game concept first and developing after thinking about it might be a wise idea, instead of jumping into developing right away.
01-31-2011, 02:33 PM
#5
I have to agree with the people before me. Although your app looks very polished and the idea is unique and may be very fun for some people, I dont think it has mass appeal value.

1. The app doesn't look at all like a game. It looks like a stock portfolio managing software that something like e-trade or one of those sites would employ. When I am looking for a game under the games section of itunes I want to see something that actually looks like a game, or I am going to just skip right over it.

2. This really is targeted at a very specific niche audience which unfortunately means that it likely won't have the appeal to sell to enough people to reclaim the investment put in to it.


On the up side, I think the interface is awesome.

Invulse Games - Website | Twitter
01-31-2011, 02:42 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
to follow-up, and I don't say this to rub anyone's nose in it but rather as a warning to other prospectors (and only because so many people still echo the exact same sentiment to this day "I have a great idea, I wanna make money, this is a sure thing!") - the app store/mobile gaming in general is a new and unique animal with it's own set of rules, and culture. The gold rush days "for Joe Schmoe" have long since gone by.

It is not wise to develop apps for this market unless you know what you are doing and have already got some history with the process. It is very unwise to spend real time/money doing this stuff without "getting your feet wet" first (doing a much smaller project) to at least learn the lay of the land. Unless you don't mind burning money..

__________________
twitter - HeadcaseGames.com
Puzzling has Evolved - Enter the 180 Hi-score Facebook contest!
FreeAppTracker.com Win ANY app you want, daily!
01-31-2011, 02:45 PM
#7
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Posts: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by headcaseGames View Post
it is a common story heard around these parts.
developing an app is like buying a lottery ticket. You can keep pouring money into it to "chase" it if you like, but either it will hit, or it won't.

I think you guys have a great and novel app, but the overall issue is the same everyone else faces. the App Store is an oversaturated mess and you cannot expect people to just "know about" and download your app. If it is free it has a slightly better chance (people DL free stuff relentlessly), but then the free charts are even more competitive than the paid ones so you are fighting a different battle over there.

The usual advice holds. Best you can do is "buy another lottery ticket" which means learn from what you've already done and build a whole new game, which is more marketable than what you've done. Include links/store to upsell to your existing product(s) and then at least if your new game does any business, then you will get fresh eyeballs on your existing property.

Otherwise, and I'm a bit blue in the face from saying it now is that you really need to concentrate on promotion and marketing and all that it entails. So many developers treat it as an afterthought, when in reality this is one of the most crucial parts of the entire development from the word GO. People need to know your name, your brand, and you have to worked damned hard to trumpet those things. Your app name, your icon, they must all speak to your targeted market. Press releases must be written, promotions should be held (contests and such). Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, any kind of energy you can pour into social networking will all help your cause.

If you don't want to deal with any of this stuff, there's plenty of people willing to take your money who will cover it for you (but you get what you pay for, and if you don't pay much, don't expect much)

Even after all of that time & money spent, there's still no guarantee of success on your app (or a small suite of them). You need to closely study the market and see what does well, and what would do well. Go out and test your app during development to see how people respond, in betas (online) and also in person - the iPhone is a casual device, people play with them on trains and in bars!

You have a very specific app here which would definitely appeal to a particular niche of the market which may not be very catered to - my ears perked up when I heard of it. Go where your audience is (different websites/magazines relative to that industry) and send them carefully-designed and informative press material. A mention from some of those guys might do wonders for you.

Long story short, you've worked hard but the real hard work is yet to come! If you can hang, you might find some success yet
Quoted for truth.

I'm quickly finding this out with my first game. Since launch I've done about as much research into marketing as I did in objective c programming.

The app store is absolutely flooded with software and it seems like an almost impossible battle to win to even carve out a small chunk for yourself.

Like me, you just gotta keep at it. Listen to feedback, hit the forums, hit up websites, social network, etc. If you feel like you've made a quality app then hit the road and market the sucker until you are blue in the face.

Games: Boom Boat | Boom Boat 2
Developer: Razoric.com
Social: Twitter | Facebook
01-31-2011, 02:51 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by headcaseGames View Post
to follow-up, and I don't say this to rub anyone's nose in it but rather as a warning to other prospectors (and only because so many people still echo the exact same sentiment to this day "I have a great idea, I wanna make money, this is a sure thing!") - the app store/mobile gaming in general is a new and unique animal with it's own set of rules, and culture. The gold rush days "for Joe Schmoe" have long since gone by.

It is not wise to develop apps for this market unless you know what you are doing and have already got some history with the process. It is very unwise to spend real time/money doing this stuff without "getting your feet wet" first (doing a much smaller project) to at least learn the lay of the land. Unless you don't mind burning money..
I agree with this 100%.

With my first game I spent $600 creating for sound, music, developer license and a few other things (link in my sig). I also spent 8 months of my life working on it in my free time, but of course I don't factor that in to my costs because I had fun doing it. I've currently sold enough copies through the publisher to cover my costs for making the game, after the publisher and apple take their cut, and even a little bit extra for myself. This is a far cry from making real big money with an app, but it was a learning experience and something I enjoyed making.

Now that I have a little experience with the app store though, my next game I'm gonna go bigger, better, and invest more in the game. If that succeeds I'll do it again for the next game, but I'm starting small with little risk, and if it works out I'll move up the chain. If not I've risked little enough that it should have virtually no financial impact on myself.

Invulse Games - Website | Twitter
01-31-2011, 02:55 PM
#9
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: san diego, ca
Posts: 156
Never invest money into software projects. Ever. The advantage of software is that it requires almost no investment to develop. You can't expect to make $30k on the app store. What were you thinking? I don't even expect to make $30k with my new app and my investment sofar is $0 with a $1k maximum investment plan if I decide to promote.

I'm sorry about your luck but you could have avoided it with more planning and market research.
01-31-2011, 02:59 PM
#10
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
It's definitely a risk releasing a game aimed at such a small target audience. A shame too, the app looks really polished and usually I'd be tempted to buy it due to the clean and professional looking menus alone, but I won't... because I have no idea what any of it means. More than happy to give you a little boost on the free downloads though.

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