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Why is my game not selling as well as it could?

03-13-2011, 02:54 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: London
Posts: 28
Why is my game not selling as well as it could?


I've spent a lot of time making a game which I always thought was fun to play. It's a game a long the lines of Tap Tap Revenge except it's about the speed and is based on hand-eye coordination.

I made sure i squeezed out every bug and glitch I could and polished off the graphics as best I could.

I then submitted it to the AppStore and advertised it as best I could (I have no budget to spend on advertising)
I posted it on lots of gaming/tech/apple forums
I submitted it to tons of reviewers (only 1 did a review)
and I used a lot of social sites to post news such as facebook, twitter, tumblr and much more

It's averaging 5 star in the UK, 4 star in the US and we're had some great reviews

Here are links to the game:

Sales started off strong but soon dropped to very low
I didn't expect this to happen as lots of people see this game as unique and fun

If anyone has any suggestions to how I can really boost this game to it's full potential that would be great

Thanks a lot
03-13-2011, 03:52 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: san diego, ca
Posts: 156
The answer lies in the top 50 games list. Count how many of those are developed by major game devs. Look for big brand names like sonic 3 and street fighter still not even in the top 10. I hate to be blunt, but the games market is dead to me. All the major game developers have jumped on board. Unless you have a massively original game, or a team of developers backed by corporate support and a big brand name, your changes are slim to none of making any decent money in the games category. This is more true on iPhone than iPad. If you're trying to make it on iPhone, you have even less of a chance.

you could try a press release, but I'd imagine by now that the press companies are sick of covering the 100,000th indy game to come out. My press releases on my games gave me 0% increase in sales both times. My other non-game app however was a different story.

Last edited by mlfarrell; 03-13-2011 at 03:54 PM.

03-13-2011, 04:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 143
I don't know if games need to be massively original. It's more about execution and polish. If your overhead is low why not continue. Don't give up too easily. This is only your first game. We just launched our first game and despite it not doing well as we hoped we have other plans and other ideas.

It doesn't matter if an idea has been done. Just do it better. I didn't play your game but I did read the 3 star review you got from UrbanHim

"It's ok, but at only 9 levels the difficulty soon becomes intense, rather than add 50 levels and increase the difficulty gradually, they give you 9, first 4 easy, 5th a slight challenge, and the rest are a nightmare! You'll throw your phone in anger, but not before having one last go! Personally I deleted this, as I have better and more enjoyable games to play, this really should have been free though!"

Maybe your first update should be to pace the game out more. Also reviews take awhile to trickle in. Sites like TA are slammed with submissions. Just look at how many games gets listed on upcoming forums and how many actually get covered.

If everything was that easy then we all be making top 10 games.

03-13-2011, 04:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 39
I think the theme is problematic... a game about electronics? Doesn't strike me as compelling. Any other games about electronics that are successful? I can't really think of any...
03-13-2011, 05:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
"I have no budget to spend on advertising" - bingo

this is one of the biggest issues with putting something on the appstore nowadays. If you aren't gonna pay for any marketing/promotion at all, in some way or other, then no one will ever really give a look at your game unless there is something eye-grabbingly amazing and special about the icon/name/screenshots. And as noted above, those categories are fairly difficult to compete in nowadays unless you've got something really ace up your sleeve.

Making a game that plays great but doesn't necessarily look like much out of context is a sure way to fall flat with sales.
03-13-2011, 06:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Argentina
Posts: 264
Originally Posted by konop View Post
I think the theme is problematic... a game about electronics? Doesn't strike me as compelling.
I agree. Aside from the problems inherent to the App Store itself (lots of competition, big players, etc...), you've also have a few things in your own app working against you. Your theme is one of them.

Also, the screenshots look quite repetitive. All the same backgrounds, the same pink and light blue colors everywhere, the same chips on the sides... From the screens, it looks that there's not too much to the game.

Finally, and I think this is your biggest problem, the icon. A chip with some sort of pink cogwheel on it... It means absolutely nothing. If I saw this icon in an App Store list I'd completely ignore it. Your icon is your foremost marketing asset. If it doesn't succeed in grabbing you potential customer's attention, you've lost them.

Icon + name --> Screenshots --> Description --> Sale

Unless someone (a friend, a review site) recommends the game, that's the usual path (at least for cheap games that people won't research much about before deciding to buy). At each step you lose some people. Only the ones you manage to keep interested all the way to the end actually buy the game. IMHO, your game is suffering in the first two steps.

All this is my opinion from just looking at your game's iTunes page. I didn't even read the description; most people won't before deciding they don't like a game. I'm sure your game is as fun as you say, but if you can't grab people's attention in the first few seconds, it really doesn't matter, unfortunately...

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03-13-2011, 07:22 PM
Here's my process for looking into your game:

1. Icon
The first thing I see is the icon. I don't think it's terrible, but it's certainly not a selling point.

2. Game Title
The second thing I look for is the game title, which is "iLectronz". After reading that title I'm already fairly sure I won't be interested in the game. Why? The combination of "i" and the "z" put me off. I have a double standard. A big-name developer can call their game whatever they want and that's fine. But if a home developer puts a "z" on their name, it yells "old fashioned"...and two letter switches in the same title seems like trying too hard.

This game title doesn't read well and potentially some customers won't search for this. eg:
"Check out electrons, it's great. But when you go to the App Store the first 'e' is replaced with an 'i' and the 's' is replaced with a 'z'". This is not conducive for word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Screen-shots
The screenshots don't convey to me what the game involves. It looks like yet another tap-tap music type game, with computer chips drawn in the background. The two screenshots are too similar. I did actually try to scroll across to another screenshot, so you got a little of my attention...but there was nothing more to see. If the game-play is all based on one screen perhaps you could show a title or menu screen?

4. Game Description
I like the statement about "updates coming". After that, the first line of description is wasted, by stating the name of your company, which is not important information. This was followed by the catch phase "it's so electric you might just blow a fuse", which is a bit cheesy and repeated on the screenshots. Finally by line 9 I start to find out what the game is about. Unfortunately, after reading the game description, I still don't know what the game-play involves. I'd rather see: "Tap the screen to dodge incoming...blah blah blah"
Then I notice the game is not optimised for the iPad, so it's not suitable for me anyway.

UPDATE: Just watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8c0JwmXtQc which explains the gameplay.

5. Review Comments
The review comments in the description are obviously taken from the App Store. The problem is that it's obvious you've listed the positive ones (of course). This could be your brother, his mate or even yourself. I can scroll down to see a mix of positive and negative feedback. It's a lot more convincing if you convince at least ONE known site to provide feedback. Sadly, I've seen some pretty good games struggle to get reviewed!

6. Competition
The cold hard reality is that my device is already full of new games as a result of the sales by major developers. I can get a major game for around the same price as your game, so why would I get your (or any other developers) game? Your game has to have an appeal that draws the customer in, something different and interesting. Whereas I already have a couple of music games that look like yours, which I downloaded for free and I don't even play those. If the "electrical" theme makes your game different, then that is not being conveyed by the screenshots & description.

Hope this helps.

03-13-2011, 07:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 454
I read the statements here and some are good and some are tough. Now here comes the reality to everyone here not just the OP , no one knows what will blow-up. There isnt a formula unless you make something that looks like a console game , then it comes down to luck. I seen great fun simple games that dont blown up and I seen average but fun games blow up. No one knows any secrets to selling alot of copies. By asking this question you just open yourself up to critic ,some good and some bad.
The best piece of advice is to start developing another game , and market this game a lot harder when it comes out. There is no secret , just look at how you can make a better game and maybe you get lucky. Reading all this advice posted by all posters here will confuse you and you never get anything done. Just go ahead and start planning your next game now , right now. Goodluck and hope you do better next time.
03-13-2011, 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by yemi View Post
... Reading all this advice posted by all posters here will confuse you and you never get anything done. Just go ahead and start planning your next game now , right now.
I disagree. Everyone should try to learn from their experiences - which is why the developer started this thread. Some of the suggestions made above are easy to avoid and should be taken into account with any future projects.

03-13-2011, 09:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 5,305
If you're not spending any time or resources marketing your game, then you've already done a disservice to yourself and your game. The marketplace is crowded with dozens of game being released every day. Your game will not rise above the noise without marketing. Even if your game has some technical, gee whiz kind of graphics, or gang bang gameplay, you're likely not maximizing your potential if you don't have a marketing game plan.

And, putting out a press release won't get you anything unless you support it with other PR and marketing activities. Often, there is a belief that a game will sell itself. That may have been true a few years ago when iTunes first started, but that's an often huge miscalculation if you attempt that in today's environment. As you develop your game, also allocate resources towards marketing. Believe me, it's as important if not more so than the game itself.