There are a lot of great success stories on the App Store from people who made games in their spare time striking it rich to the small but determined company finally making it. When people see these stories and hear the market size of Apple’s growing iOS market they may think that they too can be a App Store millionaire.
Sure, they have the chance to have great success on the App Store, but if you’re thinking of throwing your hat in the ring then you’ll want to check out a great write-up on Money and the App Store.
Myth #2: Making an iPhone game is fast and cheap
Compared to making Assassin’s Creed or Red Dead Redemption, this one is actually true. Making an iPhone game shouldn’t cost $50M and take 4 years. (Well, neither should a console game, if you ask me.) But unless you’re aiming for a Doodle Jump clone, it’s still a bit of work. If you make it cheap, you’ll have a very small team (say 2 people), and it’ll take AT LEAST six months to get something polished out there.
A quick estimate of an iOS game budget:
2 salaries x 6 months
A freelance contractor for sound design
A trip to GDC or some other event to meet journalists
Hardware to work on (a new computer, or a hard drive, or an iPad)
Some software licenses, because software devs need to earn a living, too
Maybe a website or a Dropbox account
You’ll do the QA yourself? All right then…
All in all, you can’t be serious about making games and “earning a living” out of it without at least a $40k budget. (And I’m really being cheap here; I think to be competitive today on the App Store you need $100k.)
It’s worth reading the entire article – particularly the conclusion.
Link to the Gamasutra article.
February 1st, 2012 by Adam
PocketGamer has a great wrap-up of key mobile industry statistics that will have an impact in the year to come:
January 3rd, 2012 by Adam
7. RIM could lose its entire US user base by the end of 2012
What a year for RIM; at least 2012 can’t get any worse … or can it?
According to figures from comScore and analysis from asymco, if it continues losing US subscribers at the current rate of between 500,000 to 1.2 million per a month, it “could lose its entire US user base” by the end of the year.
6. Rise of iOS and Android halves Nintendo DS game revenue
Many of the headlines raised by app analytics company Flurry concerned the growth of mobile gaming versus the ‘relative decline’ of portable gaming.
Its key finding was that “…as smartphone game revenue has climbed aggressively, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP revenue has dropped precipitously”.
Tiny Tower by NimbleBit has been on the app store best sellers list for some time now and only recently did I try it out. The game is clearly influenced by so-called social (Facebook) games and directly takes some mechanics from Facebook games for monetization, the question that always comes to my head when playing gaes like this: which came first, the plan for the game or the plan for how to make money.
Either way, a good free to play game focuses on the play experience first and foremost. Only after the primary game elements have been figured out should the pay mechanics be factored in.* Essentially one should be able to play the entire game and enjoy it without ever paying a cent. The games that dont do that end up not being played for a long time or die in the market place.
What about Tiny Tower then?
Tiny Tower is similar to SimTower in that you build a skyscraper and you manage a couple resources as you build it. Tiny Tower is really simple when it comes to what you manage: money.
The money in Tiny Tower is handled like most freemium games with a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ currency. You can earn both in game, but the as always the soft currency is easier to get. Other than currency the only thing I felt I should care about was the happiness of my 8-bit tenants. Their happiness doesn’t matter because it’s not related to anything meaningful.
The game gets repetitive – and fast.
Somewhere in-between building floors 10-20 you’ve experienced everything the game can provide. This gives the player little incentive to keep playing, indeed the only thing that will likely keep people going is how many friends are also playing the game (thus the social aspect), but even that is unrewarding.
The only thing that kept me playing as long as I did was the theme of the 8-bit world and their tongue in cheek tone throughout the game. For example, instead of Facebook the game has BitBook that provides insight into the tenants.
It turns out that Tiny Tower is getting missions and soon. Perhaps I’ll update the game and try playing it again.
*I am fully aware that there are always exceptions. There should be or talking about games would get boring fast.
November 12th, 2011 by Adam
Gamasutra is reporting that GameSalad is adding Andriod support to their game making software.
Austin’s Game Salad, which publishes a self-titled game creation tool for non-programmers, has added Android support to its existing iOS and HTML5-compatible tool.
The news comes following a $6.1 million round of VC earlier this year, which was also utilized for its HTML5 support.
GameSalad has no official announcement on their site at the time of posting, I hope this isn’t just a rumour.
November 11th, 2011 by Adam
This was inevitable, Flash for mobile browsers is coming to an end and Adobe will be focusing mobile efforts to HTML5. Some guy named Steve Jobs got lambasted for pretty muchpredicting this last year, looks like he was right. Here’s my favourite part:
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
For those of you who loved Flash on mobile don’t fret (you’ll still fret), Adobe will continue support for existing mobile Flash apps:
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.
Adobe’s announcement of the death of Flash on mobiles can be found on their official blog.
Still, my biggest question is what will happen to the Apple App Store when everything is HTML5 why make it an app? There are many good reasons, but I do wonder if the app store’s days of monopoly on iOS app distribution are numbered. Ugh, maybe I’ll put more thought into this another day.
November 9th, 2011 by Adam