Monday, 17 October 2011

More sales talk

After my last post the sales have slowly started going up on a bit iPhone. But now I'm freaking out because I just can't figure out what caused the bump, or if I can count on it continuing.

At first it seemed like nothing I did helped at all. I joined Twitter and some retweeting group; posted a press release on prmac which got copy pasted all over the internet; the trailer got posted on gametrailers and I finally got a somewhat positive professional review. But all it did was to keep the sales at a somewhat steady 10 units a day for a while (it sold a whooping 14 units on launch day). It was only a few days later it started going up, going from 10 a day to 20 > 50 > 50 > 80 > 75.

The last bump could possibly be explained by the release of an update (though I'm not sure how that would actually affect anything, as I was mistaken in thinking updates would appear on the release list in the AppStore). I can't find anything new written about it on the internet, or even any new user reviews, and I doubt it has made any toplists or gotten featured by apple. The sales seem to be fairly evenly distributed wordwide as well.

I don't really understand how the App Store works; how do people find games outside the toplists? Is it normal to get random sales bumps? Or can I actually expect for the baseline to continue at 50-80 a day? Even though it's still not much (especially with the crazy swedish taxes) I could make a meager living if those sales continue and then hope to increase my income after a few more games, but with any less than that it seems a bit hopeless.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Helium BOMBA

It's been a very frustrating week. I've tried my best to pimp Helium Boy online, I've posted on a couple of forums, sent out promo codes to a bunch of review sites as well as random people to get user reviews, I've joined twitter and some indie retweet group, gotten the trailer up on GT and paid good money for a press release. But the game has still barely managed to catch up to Trouser Troubles first day sales on iPhone, despite being a considerably less crappy game, and those sales weren't exactly spectacular either.

Things have been even worse on the android side. I released a demo but it didn't spur sales at all and even the free demo has only gotten 400 downloads in four days. The new Andriod Market means I can't rely on updates to get attention anymore so I'm guessing the money I get from there will almost completely stop before long.

All in all it's starting to look a lot harder to make a living off iPhone/Android apps than I previously thought. My plan was to make a couple of games as quickly as possible until their combined sales could provide me a decent income and then possibly move on to some more ambitious stuff. But these kinds of sales makes me wonder if that's really possible and if there's much point in starting on my other projects. So I don't really know what to do. Should I keep spending all my energy on pimping my stuff and building a name for myself; should I try different business model (freemium or adds or stuff); should I give up and get a job; should I stop making small generic games and bet everything on one spectacularly ambitious project; or am I just overreacting, and I should just keep at it and hope the sales pick up with the next update.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Helium Boy is released!

It's finally done! Apple review process was a little faster than I expected so I didn't get time to really polish the trailer or to test the Android version on that many platforms but I think it should run moderatly well on most GLES2 compatible phones.

Android Market

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Very nearly done

Today I have finally submitted Helium Boy for review for the Apple appstore. I'm slightly ahead of schedule because I cheated a bit with the last two levels. I was really bored with level design and didn't feel that I could make them very interesting so I made them rather short.

So next week I'll be working on a trailer and try to make sure it runs on as many Android phones as possible while waiting for Apples review team. I also need to fix support for the touchpad on Xperia Play, but that turned out to be quite a hassle. You need to use the NativeActivity class, which is only supported from android 2.3, for it to work so I have to make two versions and change some of the code structure.

Looking back at the blog I realised that I have only been working on it for about two months now. It feels like forever so I was rather suprised. Even with the original version (of which there is little left in the game) and the Wii port I made a few years ago, I still haven't worked on it for more than 5-6 months in total. While the game is hardly massive or even very good, I have to say I'm a bit proud considering the short development time.