Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: iOS(Page 2 of 4)

iOS Success is Hard to Achieve

App Promo surveyed iOS developers and got some interesting results. The most staggering number from the survey is that 60% of apps don’t generate enough revenue to break even. Take a look (click to enlarge):

The key thing to note for aspiring developers is the importance of marketing an iOS app. Without promotional support for your app don’t expect anything close to success and don’t think you can rely on using free social media either.

As with most tech news, Ars has a good analysis of App Promo’s research with interviews with some developers. They look at the difficulty of even getting an app discovered (this is an ongoing problem with the App Store and Apple knows it) to the costs of developing the app and where the money can be made making iOS apps.

“Development costs are generally much higher than folks realize,” Kafasis said. “Making an app still requires tens of thousands of dollars in development, if not hundreds of thousands. Recouping that kind of money 99 cents—or really, 70 cents—at a time is not easy.”

Part of the problem can be attributed to consumer expectations. Whereas $20-30 was not an uncommon price for desktop software created by small developers in the past, the App Store quickly led consumers to expect to pay 99 cents, or maybe $1.99 for most mobile apps. Many more are free, supported with in-app ads or “freemium” in-app purchases.

“Paid apps, despite likely being only $1, is a surprisingly high barrier of entry,” McCarron told Ars

Adoption Rates, or Why iOS Over Android

When my iPhone 3G got insanely bogged down by poorly-optimized code in iOS 4 I got frustrated with Apple and decided to look into an Android phone. The results were horrendous, and I ended up getting the 4S to maintain my sanity. My temptation to go into the world of Android was dashed by Android and the mobile-makers that use it.

When I get an iPhone I know it’ll just work and I don’t need to pay attention to annoying numbers that only somebody who spends too much time with computers would know. I know what these numbers mean and I understand them, I just don’t want to deal with it – it’s a personal preference to not have to think about mHZ or cycles anymore. Android’s version naming after pastries* doesn’t help make anything clearer either. I’d rather think about what cool apps I can get instead.

Essentially I got turned off of Android because all of a sudden I went from thinking ‘phone’ to thinking ‘complex technology’ and had to pay attention to not only phone manufactures but what version of firmware that phone had on a carrier. No thanks. I know that people will think that I was lazy in my search and you know what I was.

If I saw a solution that clearly provided the most recent Android version and was a good build I would’ve got it. Instead every time I got close another ad, article, blog, would raise doubts and I suffered choice paralysis as a result.

That’s just my experience though, and a rant at that.

The reason I’m even writing this is that a recent investigation into adoption rates of new software makes Android look, well, not too good.

Essentially Apple has it’s users upgrade quickly and Android users take longer. This results in a clear OS version to build on for Apple whereas on Android you’d have to develop for multiple platforms.

This graph sums things up well:

Fortunately for us, the folks at The Next Web can summarize the findings with far less ranting than me. Their dissection of the above information can be found in their article about why developers love iOS.

They got a choice quote from a developer on why the developer dropped support for iOS 4 on the iPad.

Tapbots recently launched a new version of its popular Twitter app Tweetbot for the iPad. This was offered as a separate app from the iPhone version, allowing developer Paul Haddad to choose which
OS he would make the minimum requirement. Tweetbot for iPad launched with iOS 5 — the latest major version — required.

“iOS 5.0 works on all the iPads, there’s not much of a reason to support older iOS versions,” sayd Haddad. “There’s a few people who are still running iOS 4.3 on iPad but that number is minuscule compared to the folks who have upgraded. It makes very little sense to spend the development effort support 4.x on iPads.”

The gamble paid off too, with the app reaching #1 on Apple’s top iPad Apps chart and Haddad says that “we’ve gotten two people complaining about it, so it was a pretty big win.”

*I know it’s in alphabetical order, but that’s not very intuitive when they are listed in a seemingly random order throughout the net.

Two Cool New Things for Mobile Game Developers

This past week there have been two really nifty things that have caught my eye that are relevant to people trying to get on iOS. The first is an augmented reality tool that looks easy to build for and the other is a platform that is like Zynga-in-a-box.

Aurasma is a tool for the augmented reality lover inside of all us to easily generate AR content. The future will in some way incorporate AR and the more tools like this that are bring finessed the better. Right now the company seems focused on marketing experiences to sell products but the gaming aspects that are possible with this technology are quite enticing.

But the thing is growing out of hand. Lots of people are using it in education, for example. We saw several clips, one showing a five-year-old girl holding an iPad up to pictures drawn by other kids and seeing the pictures of the subjects of these drawings. Another clever project was a puzzle, made by a teacher. When a kid puts the colored shapes together correctly, the app will then recognize it and show a short animation as a reward. Kids — apparently — love this thing


Read more about Aursama at the Cult of Mac.

Now, if you’re interested in making a Facebook-style social game on the mobile you’ll want to take a look at PlayHaven. They have updated their toolset to basically allow any company to do what Zynga does in terms of analysing their players and providing easy ways to inform players of in-app purchase opportunities.

With the monetization features, PlayHaven can help game companies maximize profits by segmenting and managing customers. The tools can generate real-time metrics and insight that are actionable. Yang said that these features can help sort customers into batches of “minnows,” who can be monetized with ads but never have to pay for anything; “dolphins,” who are regular customers who come back often; and “whales,” who make huge in-app purchases. PlayHaven says it can help convert users to pay via up-sell and cross-sell tactics.

Read more about PlayHaven at Venture Beat.

The Success of Temple Run as Seen by the Creators

Venture Beat has a great interview with the creators of Temple Run which has become a run away success on the App Store (so punny!). The interview is a good luck into a small company(Imangi Studio) that made a well performing game, like most things, it seems there’s a lot to be said for persevering and learning from failure.

Worth a read if you’re thinking of making a game for any mobile app store.

GB: Temple Run came out in August of last year. Did it take off right away? How did making it Free affect downloads? What do you attribute the current success to?

It definitely took Temple Run a while to gain momentum. When it first came out as a paid app in August, Temple Run got rave reviews from players and critics and went to about the No. 50 Paid App. It was definitely an amazing launch. However, after a couple of weeks in the Top 100, it started sliding down – the normal launch curve. At that point we decided to go free and see if we can (sic) make up the revenue in in-app purchase. It turned out to be a pretty great decision. It went to No. 2 Top Free App when it first went free, and after a few days settled at around No. 100 Top Free App.

Right before we switched it to free in September, we had a couple hundred downloads/day at 99 cents, with some in-app purchase sales. After switching it to free and settling at No. 100 Top Free app, we had about 50,000 daily downloads, and a whole lot more in-app purchases. In fact, revenue went up 10x immediately upon switching to free, so keeping it free was a no brainer.

After that, our daily users kept growing, downloads kept growing, and Temple Run was slowly rising up the charts. It finally hit No. 1 Top Free app on December 28, and has been No. 1 or No. 2 for the past month. At this point, we’re getting around 500,000 downloads/day. Revenue has also increased, with Temple Run becoming the No. 1 Top Grossing app on January 7 and staying at No. 1 or No. 2 ever since.

Read the full interview.

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