Android Development: Free vs Paid

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Matt2East, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Matt2East

    Original Member

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    Have any indies developed games for the Android platform? Ad-supported free apps vs charging ~$3 for an app. Which is a better business model for indies at this time?
     
    #1 Matt2East, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  2. Nexic

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    Due to piracy issues probably ad supported or freemium.
     
  3. princec

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    What's the score with subscription based and microtransactions on Android?

    Cas :)
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    We're making bunches of sales on Android paid right now with a top chart position. That's not making the sort of money a #4 placing would do on App Store, but we're pretty happy with the income! :)

    We have an ad supported game coming out soon to test that market also.

    Android users have this reputation for not paying for stuff, but that's not reflected in my limited exposure so far. In fact after the first two months of sales on each platform, Android is coming out ahead.

    Short version: There are less games on there and less people ready to buy them, but this is only relative and the flipside is that if you write a quality game then you'll have less competition for getting the money in.

    As usual, ignore the piracy scares and other stereotyping and make a good product - you'll see plenty of return.
     
  5. HarryBalls

    HarryBalls New Member

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    Paul/Applewood,

    So based on your experience should a game developer release their game on iOS and Android simultaneously or launch on iOS 1st then Android or the reverse Android First than iOS?
     
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Can't really say as I've only done one of those options - iOS first and then Android.

    Surely it has to be better to release them simultaneously for maximum impact, which we'll be trying to do with future titles. However if it came down to a choice, I'd actually recommend doing the iOS version first - it's just so much easier to develop on, and getting something out to market has a lot going for it. :)
     
  7. Grey Alien

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    Glad to hear it's going well Applewood. I'm about to release Holiday Bonus on Android and iOS (done in Unity). What's a good price in your experience for casual games on Android phone? Oh did you do a tablet version too? Any pearls of wisdom you can share about the Android dev + distribution process? Which stores did you use for Android?

    Also an aside, is the Chrome web store version NaCl compliant then?
     
  8. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    We're selling well at 3 bucks so it seems to me that this is a sustainable price - we had decent sales before the feature. Smaller games would probably need to go down to a dollar for max performance though, same as on iOS. We did do a tablet version but not using any special wizardry - we just made sure the game runs at any resolution.

    Dev and distribution is a nightmare. The manufacturers put stupid limits on download size against googles instruction so you'll need to be under 20Mb to avoid masses of complaints about downloads not working. Possibly lower, we sill get moans from a 23Mb install.

    Also the compiler is utter wank for C++ code. A full rebuild of our NDK project takes about 15 minutes, compared to ~20 seconds on Mac. No precompiled headers is the main culprit but we can't make them work even though I know gcc supports them in theory.

    I don't even get the questsion about which stores tbh. We just publish on Android Market. Are there others I should know about? (I know of the Amazon one but that's usa only aiui)
     
  9. Grey Alien

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    Didn't know about the 20MB limit on Android too! Thought it was only iPhone 3G limit. Thanks. Yeah our game should also scale up for tablets so I guess it'll be fine to use the same version. As for store, I'm avoiding Amazon due to that dodgy price altering stuff in their contract, but someone told me abut GetJar today.
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It's worse than that - 20Mb is a hard limit for non-wifi only. Market is an arbitrary limit on any form of connection.

    Ah yes, I'd heard of getjar - didn't realise that was a whole storefront. I'm sure there's a reason for them existing but not sure right now what it might be. :)
     
  11. CasualInsider

    CasualInsider New Member

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    It's it 50Mb soon?
     
  12. Applewood

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    It's been 50Mb for a while aiui. The problem here is that nobody is in control and manufacturers do what the hell they like. Android really is a bloody minefield and not for the faint of heart.
     
  13. Arowx

    Arowx New Member

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    Got Zombie Gnomes Attack out on Android as a Paid App, getting a couple of sales but not much,but it's just a quick shooter thrown together with Unity.

    Android could be a good target as you can roll out versions in minutes and respond to feedback and bugs very fast.

    If your new to developing games and want to try something out on mobile Android is fast and cheap to get started!

    My plan build the game up a bit improve it ensure it's bug free then take it over to iOS.

    On the 50Mb limit the workaround is to release a frontend/downloader and then download the rest of the app, that's a tactic larger games use, e.g. ShadowGun 6.1 Mb!
     
  14. stanchat

    Indie Author

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    I did a presentation in Chicago at a local Android users group about this topic. Ad generated is the way to go on Android also the freemium model is starting to emerge now Android officially supports in-app purchases without the use of hacky work arounds.
    Link to Article:
    http://goldendoodlegames.com/game_development/Android_Game_Development.pdf

    Some key stats about Angry Birds on the Android platform
    5 million downloads by Dec 2010
    30 million downloads by March 2011
    Averaging about 6 million dollars per month in Ad revenue
     
  15. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Stats on Angry Birds is utterly irrelevant. For one reason or another, that game has taken on a life of its own and has become something of a phenomenon. Better imo to provide stats for something that's just fairly successful and a reasonable target to try and emulate.

    For example there might be 100 people here trying to do an Android game, so what are the number for the 50th-most downloaded one?

    EDIT: Your presentation is very useful though, thanks for making that available.
     
  16. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    I agree, talking about the topselling games is no use to the average/good indie dev who has very few chances to replicate that success. Is like talking about Minecraft sales and expect any other indie to come even vaguely closer to that :D
     
  17. Nexic

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    True, but the lessons learnt from those stories are still valid as far as questions like ads vs freemium vs paid go. If ads work for Angry Birds, why wouldn't it for your game? You could argue that each person downloading your game will spend less average time playing, so generate less ad views, but by the same token, a worse game will generate less download > sale conversions too.
     
  18. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I know from other sources that ads work, and I've posted to that effect in the past. The question is though, will they be better than paid for your average decent quality title. Still trying to find an answer.

    Hopefully our upcoming yahtzee game might provide one - I'm hoping that will do fairly well, but don't expect it to be meteoric either.
     
  19. strategy

    strategy New Member

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    At the moment I do about 50%-50% on income from ads and sales on my apps. Earlier this year the sale revenue was significantly higher than the ad revenue. As with all things, it depends...
     
  20. fugufish

    fugufish New Member

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    if you're gunning for a paid app, try to make it so good that it gets featured. If it isn't, then you should switch to free and use in-game ads/in-app purchases to monetize.
     

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