iOS. Universal or separate apps?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Grey Alien, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Grey Alien

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    Universal:

    Pros: one app to maintain, customer buys once and can use on several different devices. Universal apps seem to be the "in-thing" at the moment.

    Cons: you can only set one price, so it's either too low for an iPad game or too high for an iPhone game

    Separate Apps:

    Pros: Can set two prices e.g. $4.99 for iPad and $0.99 for iPhone. Add HD label to iPad version to make it more appealing plus have different assets and level sizes on iPad. Can try to get iPhone version under 20MB for 3G download and don't need to for iPad (some people say it's less important for iPad as more people use wireless instead)

    Cons: two apps to maintain. Customer has to buy twice for iPhone + Pad.



    I'm probably going separate apps for Holiday Bonus iOS unless I'm persuaded otherwise in the next few days.
     
  2. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    For a small game that is unlikely to reach top 100, it is better to do 2 versions. Why? Because it will be like releasing 2 games and getting twice the (low) exposure. Make the iphone version $0.99 and the ipad $2.99. Make the ipad version universal (so people don't need to buy twice). After few months, make the iphone version universal too (so it will get a little boost of exposure).

    if you look at JBJ, both version are identical now (both universal), the only difference is the app ID (but don't tell anyone). Only one guy notice (for 475k downloads).

    random advice: keep some little contents lock unless the player rate your game (ok, just click on the rate me button, but that a start). With JBJ, I just said you'll unlock a little surprised: witch is that you can swap characters and play with the female.

    JC
     
  3. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    More advice: do also a lite version with iads+IAP to unclok the full version. For JBJ, unlocking the full version doesn't remove the ads (nobody complained about that either).
    Obviously, that sound like a lot of work but if you plan it from the begining (like you must do for your PC version anyway) it isn't actually any work (I am assuming that like me, you have only just 1 build that can be personalised with "ini files" or whatever).

    JC
     
  4. Grey Alien

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    Great advice thanks JC, i didn't think to do a an iPhone only + Universal build for iPad (call it HD). Only thing is, really I need to show smaller levels on phone, so Universal app would have to detect device (via Unity) and use smaller levels, but then it wouldn't be the HD version anymore.
     
  5. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Universal. Do not consider anything else.

    With the lite versions thrown in, there are four version of our main app on sale and it confuses the hell out of people. It also splits any presence you might get on a sales chart. And it annoys people to have to rebuy the game if they upgrade to a modern phone.
     
  6. Applewood

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    You should get away with resampling the larger graphics down onto 3GS. Pixel for pixel, 3GS is more performant than either iPhone 4 or iPad 1, so if your game has a decent fps on iPad then downsampling will work fast enough on 3GS. (We don't support older models than 3GS as we need shader support and they're dying out nicely anyway)
     
  7. Dingo Games

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    Another downside to universal is that you lose the ability to track your iPhone vs. iPad sales. You can see where they are in the charts, but your sales figures don't show you the difference.

    To clarify, if you do separate iPhone and iPad versions that won't split your presence because those charts are completely separate anyways. However, doing separate iPhone and universal versions will split your iPhone sales a bit... The more expensive universal version is unlikely to ever rank well on iPhone.

    That said, my current opinion is that you should go universal if you can make it under 20MB. Depending on how different your iPhone vs. iPad assets are, that can be quite challenging.
     
  8. Grey Alien

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    Thanks for the advice! Good points about the various types of chart splitting that could go on.

    Because the game is Unity I can't get it under 20Mb due to the bloated exe made by the non-pro version. The other issue is that I've made smaller levels for the iPhone version that are easier to play. If you tried to play the iPad levels on the iPhone they'd be too small and fiddly. So that's why I'm mainly thinking separate versions, unless I make the Universal auto-detect device and use correct level set of course.

    @Dingo: is your iPad app Universal or iPad only? (I'm guessing iPad only. [edit] just checked and your HD version is iPad only, makes sense) I see ipad is $2.99 and the phone is $0.99. I'm wondering what sort of price people set for Universal so it appeals to phone owners e.g. $1.99

    @Applewood: Do you get many complaints then about confusing game versions or not being able to play one version on the other device? Perhaps it's because you made your HD versions iPad AND iPhone, instead of just iPad (like I'm planning to do) so there's a clear differentiation in devices (HD for iPad, normal for iPhone)? Oh and congrats on the huge number of epic reviews.
     
    #8 Grey Alien, Nov 30, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  9. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Grey Alien, I am assuming you are talking about your match3 game. You need to know that they are a gazillion of Match3 games on the App store and it will be extremely hard to get any visibility. So, you can pretty much forget about shinning in any charts (Apple won't feature it and review site won't review it). Most of the apps (even some good ones) will make peanuts (that's a fact). So, without being too harsh on you, my guess is that your game has 99.99% of making peanuts. This is why I was recommanding to make multiple version. Because instead of making peanuts*1, you'll make peanuts*3. It does work for me, so far most of my games have broken even. That wouldn't be the case if I had just 1 version.

    Now, IF you are planning to make a hit game (match3 are very unlikely to be a hit, you are 2 years late). In that case, having multiple version is a pain (I guess) as it will be harder to promote, harder to climb the charts...

    Did BFG turn down your game? If you didn't ask them, then you should as you'll probably make way more with them than on your own.

    JC
     
  10. Grey Alien

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    Hi JC, yep it's a match-3 and so I realise it's not feature material. As for BFG, the problem is this was a very last minute project and they are slammed, so I didn't expect them to have any bandwidth for it, but I have still sent them a build yesterday. If they say yes, then they are the obvious choice as they can market to their own customers. For future match-3s I'll try them too, but for indie games I'd market on my own. Good idea about peanuts*3 (well *2 in my case + 2 lite).
     
  11. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I've had many feedbacks (wouldn't call them complaints) from customers wanting a refund of the iPhone version because they bought an iPhone 4 and want the better graphics and etc. Likewise a lot of reviews have mentioned "make sure you buy the right one". It's a lesson learnt the hard way for us and a mistake we won't be repeating.

    I think making a version that only runs on iPad and one that only runs on iPhone is a big mistake tbh. Especially given the amount of users who would expect to sync the game from one device to the other.

    Didn't realise you were doing a match-3 actually. Guess what we're doing before finishing off our GLWG sequel? :)

    *Picks up gauntlet*
     
  12. Grey Alien

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    Only porting one of my old match-3s to test out the whole process. It's a learning exercise so I can improve for future games, although of course, I'd still like it to do OK.

    The iPhone version actually includes the HD graphics and looks GREAT on iPhone 4 (scales down for 3G). So I don't think we'll get that same complaint as you. The syncing thing could be an issues with people, we'll see.
     
  13. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I remember this conversation now. I guess spring is coming around again! :)
     
  14. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    What is the theme your are picking up?

    JC
     
  15. Applewood

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    We're going back to basics with ours - none of this story mode or other fluff :)

    I think a good description would be "Jeff Minter meets bejwelled"
     
  16. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Swap adjacent Lamas to align sets of 3 or more. A winning set is 3 or more Lamas of same colour. :eek:

    JC
     
  17. Nutter2000

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    That made me laugh :D
     
  18. simonh

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    Something worth mentioning in a universal vs. separate debate is that for Game Center, if you have two separate versions, they won't be able to share the same leaderboards, and won't be able to communicate with each other for multiplayer games. So effectively you're cutting your customers into two separate communities.
     
  19. Grey Alien

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    Wow, I didn't know that Simon. Well worth knowing for Game Center. I'm not using that for this game though, but will bear it in mind for future games.
     
  20. JGOware

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    I would guess it's Holiday Bonus being the Holiday time of year. ;) Sure match 3 games can be profitable in the ios market. It just depends how much profit we're talking about. If you just throw a decent game in the app store with no cross promotions, or external marketing, you can probably expect 1-2 days worth of ok orders and then it's dead. Just make sure this and Spring Bonus and your other match 3 variations cross promote each other or otherwise you're looking at a potential waste of resources.

    I'd get a flash version out asap to help promote the ios version. Plus you might be able to get it sponsored for around 500-1000.00 which may not be that bad depending how long it takes you to port it.
     

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