Monetizing on App Store

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Makani, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    Ok, I released my game last week, Red Card Rampage, on iPhone and iPad (and Android), but unfortunately although I have very good ratings (41 5 star ratings, nothing less than 5), I find myself in the position where I have zero sales on iPhone. Consequently, I have joined this forum specifically to ask all the App Store gurus that may be present here, what can I do to get the exposure I need to drive sales? The game is really good, so I am prepared to do what it takes, but I don't know what it takes. I tried spending some money on issuing a press release at launch, and I got all my sales and those ratings really just in the first 2 days of release; after that, rock bottom.

    Please help!

    Makani
     
  2. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Ok, first off all, I'm not a guru app store man but...

    I just watch the video, your game looks pretty solid and you should be able to monetize it.

    Unless I heard a lot of good reviews (website like touch arcade), I won't buy a game that I cannot test (guess what, a lot of people are like me) so you should really make a LITE version.

    You could also add ADS in the lite version so you monetize on this too.

    JC
     
  3. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Yep make a lite version as first thing.
     
  4. totor

    totor New Member

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    Since your game is a port of a succesful flash game, maybe you should advertise the iphone version within the flash game. Or maybe it's the flaw of your design, your target players have already played all the levels of the game and they don't see any incentive in buying a iphone version.

    Technically speaking, how easy was the conversion from flash to iphone ? Was it recoded from scratch or do you have tools or library to ease the process ?
     
  5. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    It took a solid 500 hours or so. But future games will now be much quicker. Two more flash ports are coming very soon, but those are much smaller. If this game is even moderately successful I have several more ports in mind, but so far it doesn't look good. The flash version had 10m views in 3 months.

    There have been other flash ports that have been quite successful such as Canabalt. We are going to try promoting the mobile versions on our next major site-lock so we'll see how it goes. But for now from this community I'm seeking general advice; e.g a marketing company that you know works, or a campaign like freeappaday that someone found success with. Or strategies in general. We might also try the free app technique with ads as some have
    suggested (thanks to those that did).

    Thanks,

    Makani
     
    #5 Makani, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  6. Derek5432

    Derek5432 New Member

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    Yep, this is a strategy I've used that's worked pretty well for me with several Android games. Release a paid version and a free, ad-supported version that also links to the paid version. You get ad revenue plus sales. I'd also suggest looking into AdWhirl as an ad mediator. It lets you use several ad networks and adjust how much each network gets used on the fly from a web interface.

    EDIT: Also forgot to mention that I've tried several different marketing methods (AdSense advertising, promoting apps on blog/website/Twitter/Facebook, contacting review sites, announcing in various forums). I haven't been able to discern an appreciable effect from these efforts. Doesn't mean they're not working, just that they're difficult to measure. But I haven't seen an actual bump in sales that could be correlated with a particular marketing method.
     
  7. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    But on Android they can just buy the app and return it right? I had assumed that's just as good, but from my sales and community feedback (http://androidcommunity.com/forums/...ds-like-physics-puzzle-game-39331/#post341938), it seems you are surprisingly correct; plus I would get the ad revenue (never assumed this to be significant revenue, but your mention of AdWhirl implies this is a serious enough model). Thanks Derek! That was really helpful!
     
  8. Over00

    Over00 New Member

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    I'd also be interested to hear about the technical side of things. Not much for anything business related but just out of curiosity.

    Seems this can be used now? http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/packagerforiphone/

    Just curious how it goes to port a Flash game to iPhone. What's difficult, what's easy, anything?
     
  9. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    Ah I keep trying to reply but my posts seem to go into moderation and never get through! Basically, rewritten from scratch. At the time, Apple had forbidden the use of that tool. But Apple has finally relaxed that rule and so now flash developers are free to use that magical tool. Although, if you have a fast-action game with high frame-rate requirements you probably want to hire someone that can port flash games to the platform's native language (ehm).
     
  10. lonestarr

    Original Member

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    Hello,

    First the ultra-important thing unless you don't care about sales on iPad:
    You forgot to add in-game screenshots in the AppStore page of the iPad version!!! All we can see is the startup screen. You should correct this asap, that's very important!!!

    Second, my humble opinion:

    - The icons look "cheap" on the iPhone and on the iPad versions. It's always better to have a close-up on the main character... (that's what your "competitor" does, see the game "Fragger"). The icons are very important in the App Store, because that's what sells your game.

    - Although Fragger has a LITE version, I'm not sure the idea is that good for sales, especially if the price tag of the full version is low. Curiously, I tend to buy games with no LITE version. When I take LITE versions, it's like I have the full game since LITE is enough to me to enjoy the game. The game should really be awesome to make me purchase the full game. But that's just me. Maybe you could try Free App A Day.

    -lonestarr
     
  11. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think Lonestar makes a very good point. At these low price points a download or a purchase is an impulse - since they already had the impulse you might as well get paid or you will need to create the impulse again.

    Games at this price are snacks and price isn't much of a consideration.
     
  12. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    @lennard/lonestarr: Yes that is what we think as well, but the problem is that so far we haven't been able to get the exposure we need; i.e., in the top 100 lists or the new and noteworthy etc; I basically wanted to know what others in this community may have done to get that exposure.

    @lonestarr: Thanks for your feedback! Yes we're aware of the issues but for some reason Apple won't let us change the itunes icon, and for iPad we changed the screenshot list the very next day after release but it just won't update itself; *sigh*.

    I think so far what we're planning on doing then, is to try to push the game via a new major flash site-lock, and either create a trial version and try and push that or make our app free for a day via freeappaday (although this latter option is definitely not cheap, and although someone suggested it I'd really appreciate it if someone that has tried using it can let me know their opinion of it). I'm also thinking of maybe incorporating something like Game Center. Dunno.
     
  13. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    some opinions/thoughts:

    - Change the icon of the iPhone version, that one is too saturated with things, how come it has screens there?, maybe have just a hand with a red card and a soccer ball, IMO, the more elegant, beautiful and simple you icon is, the better.
    - You should have a LITE version.
    - Add more screenshots.
    - Graphics are ok, but I think they could be better. Graphics are very important (I learned that the hard way).
    - You could try FAAD or similar site, or even just put it free for some days without any promotion, you'll get some sales after that and most probably it will be back as it was, but if the game is good, or people find it addictive/entertaining it can sky rocket, but that is rare to happen, also be aware that putting it for free can destroy your ratings.. I think this kind of promotion should be your last ace to play..

    hope it helps.
     
  14. Makani

    Makani New Member

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    Thanks vbovio. We couldn't figure out how to change that icon lol. I'll add more screenshots tonight. Can't do much about graphics now, but try the game on iPhone 4 or iPad or one of the higher resolution Android phones; looks much better on those. Having said that graphics have been praised by customer reviews and even the video review of the game by CrazyMikesApps.com. Thanks for the warning that making it free can reduce ratings.

    EDIT: I've updated the screenshots for both ipad and iphone versions!
     
    #14 Makani, Sep 20, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  15. Makani

    Makani New Member

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