Support our Sponsors:

Go Back   Touch Arcade > Developer Discussion > Public Game Developers Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-03-2013, 04:24 PM
SteveAtBoxcat SteveAtBoxcat is offline
Senior Member
iPhone 4S, iOS 5.x
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 113
Default Postmortem: Releasing a premium iOS RPG with no iAP

Hey Everyone,

We are releasing our postmortem series about our experiences with our first game, Nameless: the Hackers. If anyone is interested in checking it out, the link is below:

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/JamesLiu/...ackers_RPG.php

Our postmortem series will cover our experiences with marketing, sales, costs of development, boothing at GDC and other topics.

Part 2 is here: http://forums.toucharcade.com/showth...light=nameless

Enjoy!

Last edited by SteveAtBoxcat; 05-06-2013 at 04:00 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-03-2013, 04:57 PM
DungeonPlunder's Avatar
DungeonPlunder DungeonPlunder is offline
Senior Member
iPhone 4, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Drummondville, Qc, Canada
Posts: 438
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveAtBoxcat View Post
Hey Everyone,

We are releasing our postmortem series about our experiences with our first game, Nameless: the Hackers. If anyone is interested in checking it out, the link is below:

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/JamesLiu/...ackers_RPG.php

Our postmortem series will cover our experiences with marketing, sales, costs of development, boothing at GDC and other topics.

Enjoy!
Will be an interesting read.

Which sites did you use to push your pre-release promo material to? Does the $237 mentioned includes the Splurgy costs?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-03-2013, 05:00 PM
Sheinfell Sheinfell is offline
Senior Member
iPad 2, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Europe, CET timezone
Posts: 943
Default

Just read your piece, very interesting read for a non-developer who only sits on the other side of the fence, so to speak.

When you refer to "less competitive categories on the Appstore":
Your game is listed under "Roleplaying", right?

If yes, I can give you some - if only personal - insight. Maybe there a more people like me around:
A bit older (almost 40), no Twitter or Facebook account, so anything that happens there goes completely past me. With an appreciation for quality in a game.
And - and I think that is very important - some actual insight how much making a game can cost, in terms of money, work and time (which all translate into each other); and from that coming with an appreciation of the effort and seeing a 20€ pricetag as perfectly fine for a good game.

I actually see that in people outside of the business sector who only use software, that they have a hard time grasping why any piece should have several (ten)thousand dollar pricetag.
In business software, unlike gaming, extremely high prices for high quality (or for filling a niche and being the only real option available) are perfectly accepted and considered normal.

And that leads me back to the "less competitive categories":
For one, I have the impression that many older roleplayers or strategy gamers share some of that appreciation I wrote about above, and thus accept higher pricetags (say >10€) more easily than the casual "wait for sale/free" crowd.
And that narrows down your search focus in the Appstore. Higher-priced games in the Roleplaying or Strategy category draw my attention much easier than e.g. a free game in the Action section.
So I have a narrow focus in the Appstore: I only check the RPG and Strategy sections regularly. In these categories there are few enough releases that manually keeping track of my "target group" is still possible.

While for example with the Action section this would be impossible, my time simply does not allow for checking through the Appstore for hours on end (which I'd need to keep track of that section).

As conclusion I think that when you aim for one of the "lesser populated" Appstore section, you have a higher chance to reach your "core audience". Stepping outside that audience and acquiring customers from outside the "core group" is the really difficult part.

Do you have any experiences you would be willing to share, if my summary above fits with what you experienced or not?

Might even give your game a shot now, even it does not right away look like it is down my alley...


P.S.: That was an interesting experience, analysing my browsing/searching and buying behaviour on the Appstore.

Last edited by Sheinfell; 05-03-2013 at 05:03 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-03-2013, 06:01 PM
Wizardo Wizardo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New Jersey!
Posts: 92
Default

Love the info. Thanks for sharing.

Are you finding that all the Facebook and Twitter followers you've gotten as a result of your giveaways are engaged on your sites? Are they actually liking, commenting, etc?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-03-2013, 06:40 PM
lazypeon's Avatar
lazypeon lazypeon is offline
Senior Member
iPhone 4, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 543
Default

It's hard to tell for sure, but eyeballing the graph, am I correct that there are ~5,000 sales, or about $10,000 in revenue before Apple's cut? If so, that's somewhat disappointing, given the amount of time spent. No wonder people are switching to freemium.

I've been closely following numbers of paid titles on the app store, as I'm working on another title that I expect to be a paid app. Looking forward to the rest of your insight.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-03-2013, 06:51 PM
JamesAtBoxCat JamesAtBoxCat is offline
Member
iPhone 4S, iOS 5.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 30
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DungeonPlunder View Post
Which sites did you use to push your pre-release promo material to? Does the $237 mentioned includes the Splurgy costs?
http://Splurgy.com/ is free. It's not the only service either. There's also http://www.rafflecopter.com/ .We looked at a few of these and tested them internally before we picked Splurgy. Felt easier and less complicated. All of them are free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
When you refer to "less competitive categories on the Appstore": Your game is listed under "Roleplaying", right?
Yup! If you have an AppAnnie.com account (it's free), you can see that we switched sub-categories and noticed a difference. Our next post will be about the categories and AppStore ranking changes that we noticed for Nameless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
(Core audience) Do you have any experiences you would be willing to share, if my summary above fits with what you experienced or not?
You're absolutely correct. I'm in the similar group as yourself. I joined twitter only for BoxCat. We realize the AppStore has a bias for "compulsive buy" and less people are looking to fully detailed reviews. We'll go into this in greater detail on a future post on Gamasutra. Some interesting stats we'll talk about is like how our "Lite" version is getting fewer downloads than our "Full" Version. We're noticing some elements on how the AppStore works that may be pushing down the type of games we love. Perhaps over time the audience on the AppStore gets use to this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizardo View Post
Are you finding that all the Facebook and Twitter followers you've gotten as a result of your giveaways are engaged on your sites? Are they actually liking, commenting, etc?
Some of them were engaging with us, not all of them. A few ended up becoming hardcore advocates which was very cool. Some were there just for the iTunes gift card, but their extended network may have had people interested in RPGs.

Last edited by JamesAtBoxCat; 05-03-2013 at 06:56 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-03-2013, 06:58 PM
DungeonPlunder's Avatar
DungeonPlunder DungeonPlunder is offline
Senior Member
iPhone 4, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Drummondville, Qc, Canada
Posts: 438
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazypeon View Post
It's hard to tell for sure, but eyeballing the graph, am I correct that there are ~5,000 sales, or about $10,000 in revenue before Apple's cut? If so, that's somewhat disappointing, given the amount of time spent. No wonder people are switching to freemium.

I've been closely following numbers of paid titles on the app store, as I'm working on another title that I expect to be a paid app. Looking forward to the rest of your insight.
Sucks to say but 10k$ is actually decent. Basically you must be featured by Apple for a paid app... it's pretty much do or die right off the bat with that factor and if you're not it's an uphill battle from there to convince players to shell the $ and for reviewers to bother checking it out.

There's no guarantee either with a feature to be a hit but you at least have a good headstart and can get some lasting organic exposure + word of mouth if your game is addictive.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:33 PM
JamesAtBoxCat JamesAtBoxCat is offline
Member
iPhone 4S, iOS 5.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 30
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazypeon View Post
It's hard to tell for sure, but eyeballing the graph, am I correct that there are ~5,000 sales, or about $10,000 in revenue before Apple's cut? If so, that's somewhat disappointing, given the amount of time spent. No wonder people are switching to freemium.
Very close! =) Between 3/16 to 4/18, we had 3,323 downloads on the iTunes store. We launched at $1.99. Apple takes 30%. We're at $3.99 now and still ranked under Role-Playing. Phew!

Our next post will talk a bit about the Freemium push. We feel there are a few things that seem pushing this trend.

1.) The way the AppStore is structured make Ranking a very important element of visibility, therefore sales.

2.) Freemium has a low barrier of entry. People are willing to try it like a demo version. This also promotes Apple's hardware.

3.) Downloads used to be the main ranking driver until recently? We believe the AppStore made an adjustment for this recently. "Session Play" seems to have a larger weight now.

We're assuming they made this change to remove the download bot services. Which we think is a good move, but still may not fix the AppStore's tendency to push-out Premium apps with Fixed Hours of Gameplay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DungeonPlunder View Post
Sucks to say but 10k$ is actually decent. Basically you must be featured by Apple for a paid app... it's pretty much do or die right off the bat with that factor and if you're not it's an uphill battle from there to convince players to shell the $ and for reviewers to bother checking it out.

There's no guarantee either with a feature to be a hit but you at least have a good headstart and can get some lasting organic exposure + word of mouth if your game is addictive.
We were never featured on the AppStore's main page. Got into "What's Hot?" a few times, but in the 100's, so there wasn't much affect. We checked every Thursday crossing our fingers.

Yup, we're relaying on Organic at the moment. Pretty tough. Takes away from dev time on the next game.

Last edited by JamesAtBoxCat; 05-03-2013 at 07:37 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:59 PM
DungeonPlunder's Avatar
DungeonPlunder DungeonPlunder is offline
Senior Member
iPhone 4, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Drummondville, Qc, Canada
Posts: 438
Default

Quote:
We were never featured on the AppStore's main page. Got into "What's Hot?" a few times, but in the 100's, so there wasn't much affect. We checked every Thursday crossing our fingers.

Yup, we're relaying on Organic at the moment. Pretty tough. Takes away from dev time on the next game.
We're pretty much on the same boat where we did decently for games which had no feature.

If I may recommend from my experience: since you're selling at $3.99 you still have a good marketing tool by adjusting the price. While strong established franchise titles like Carcassonne have the luxury of not doing so, for us small indies it's a good way to climb up the rating. Do so after a good update (if appropriate to your game) that might get featured by press on top of it.

There is definitely price-savy players who have your app on Appshopper's watch or similar sites + some sites do list weekend price drops. Friday seems to be a good day to do so. Here's a link to my game's download ranks so you can see the effect of drops (days of them seems to be off on Appannie - basically they correspond with the spikes):

http://www.appannie.com/app/ios/dung...hone&vtype=day

Twitter effect of the drop:
https://twitter.com/search/realtime?...under&src=typd

Just did one today with the hope of maybe reaching top 5 and thus be displayed whenever a player goes to the category without scrolling but it seems to have stalled at around 10-11. We'll see how it goes for the weekend's remainder.

Last edited by DungeonPlunder; 05-03-2013 at 08:02 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-04-2013, 12:19 AM
JamesAtBoxCat JamesAtBoxCat is offline
Member
iPhone 4S, iOS 5.x
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 30
Default

Agreed! The price drop is definitely important. We noticed the same affect using our productivity tool. When you drop the price it get picked up by feeds and syndicated. http://new.appsfire.com/ is one of them.

Constant price fluctuating was a consideration, but not sure what frequency should be good. We're afraid it will promote users to just wait until we become free. We made a hard decision to never go free. Not sure if it will serve us. We'll see. =)

By far, discovery is definitely our biggest obstacle. We're A/B testing a few other methods now.
Reply With Quote

Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Copyright 2012, TouchArcade.com, LLC.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2008 - 2011, TouchArcade.com. Privacy Policy / DMCA Copyright Agent