No-cost desktop software development is dead on Windows 8

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Adrian Lopez, May 26, 2012.

  1. Jack Norton

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    Have to say that as new indie, probably the appstore approach can bring indeed more revenues. But if you build up your customers for several years, every new game you have XXX amount of sales guaranteed from your newsletter/fans/followers. It's just like having a planB/safety net in case shit happens :) Look at Spiderweb, he is on Steam / iOS now, but he can still sell direct at higher prices and while I don't know his sales, judging from comments in blog/forums many people still buy direct from him (or even twice) just to support him. But surely that requires an investment of several years and is not something that can be done quickly.
     
  2. Applewood

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    You can't really sell what we make direct though, which is another angle. (Our legal entity name is after all Rubicon Mobile, Ltd.) We do have a PC version but tbh we didn't try hard with it due to said marketing skills lack.

    However for our sequel we've bypassed all this digital crap and gone straight with a retail publisher for the PC version who's gotten the game into Walmart and etc. They're also promising digital of their own and steam (which will only happen if my name isn't mentioned I guess).

    It's not like we're not trying to spread our net as wide as possible - it's just that selling direct is the A number 1 most difficult thing to do, and imo should never be given as advice for aspiring wannabes as their target. Indeed now we have stacks of people we can contact, direct selling would be more feasible for us but without that initial app store success we'd have nothing - which is where everyone has to start.
     
  3. Adrian Lopez

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    How are those installs distributed among the various platforms? Just wondering how much the number of installs has to do with the platform rather than the means of distribution.

    Would the game sell fewer copies if it were possible to distribute games direct as well as through the App Store?
     
  4. Applewood

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    750K units sold on Android (300K of them for $0.10 in that big promotion)
    20K units sold on PlayBook
    iOS picks up the rest.
    PC sales to date: About 50 from ArcadeTown

    It's all in the volume of eyeballs. There's a stat somewhere that says Apple have paid out $3.5Bn to developers to date. If Steam or Jack Norton enterprises ever catch that up, then great! :)

    Can you think of any of your friends that don't have an iPhone/Pad, a droid phone or a blackberry? Anybody at all? Exactly!

    (The same could be said of owning a PC or laptop, but what central place can they go to? And what's to make them find your own site? On mobile, everybody just presses a button to find stuff)
     
    #24 Applewood, May 27, 2012
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  5. Jack Norton

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    Haha you're missing the point, it's not like I think to sell more than Apple! I think that direct sales can easily overlap to the appstores (until they'll allow that, of course) and as I said are an extra safety net, in case some shit happens :)
    If you focus your effort on a specific target (mobile in your case), you'll obviously sell more on that one. On PC you probably would need more deep gameplay, different UI, and so on. Believe it or not I know devs making six figures/year from direct sales only, so that's definitely a good revenue stream.
    Again, until the new Win8-MacOS come out, because I am not sure exactly what will happen - seems that everyone wants to FORCE users to use their appstores...
     
  6. Applewood

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    I was just taking a liberty with that point ;)

    I think I know a couple of these PC guys myself. The thing is, they all seem to have that magic marketing touch that the rest of us mere mortals can only dream of. It comes so naturally to people that can do it, that they don't even grasp that most others cannot. Which is hardly unique to this situation I guess.

    As a single trivial example (well, two): Steam won't return my calls and emails and kotaku have never mentioned GLWG ever. Steam carry some inferior PC games to GLWG imo and sure as shit I've seen kotaku mention some stinkers. So why those and not mine? No friggin clue, in neither case it's not for want of trying. I suspect it's about credibility but outside of mobile I can't establish any. Like 99.9% of all other indies.
     
  7. Jack Norton

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    Well, yes I understand completely what you mean and I agree- it's quite frustrating indeed. That's the problem everyone is facing and probably can be solved only by one factor: luck! :D
    Some of those devs making six-figures/year aren't on Steam. Now, I don't understand WHY Steam wouldn't want such good selling games when they have others that are CLEARLY inferior (and sell less, some games on Steam make less than people imagine).
    Even myself with my small games... I have some that sell direct (without any big exposure) more than others who got accepted on Steam. So I agree with you on this one. However, I still think is worth keep trying, because you never know when the doors will open. See Spiderweb who until last year wasn't on Steam, and now has all his games there :)
     
  8. Bad Sector

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    Didn't people from Valve said recently that they're swamped by game submissions (which include even people submitting existing games with replaced textures and tictactoe made in visual basic) and because of that they lose a lot of good games? IIRC they're trying to figure out better methods for indies to submit games (there are speculations about things like peer reviews from 'trusted' indies who are already in the platform - which implies that if you aren't in Steam yet, you should network with other indies ASAP :p).
     
  9. Jack Norton

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    I've had another indie who is on Steam and makes same games recommend me, and her advice was ignored, so I'm not sure! :D
     
  10. Applewood

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    I think this is the problem:

    problem:
    Whoa, massive demand. We can't serve it.

    solutions:
    1) We could scale up and make more money, or
    2) Just ignore people and they'll go away.

    I'd go for solution 1) myself.
     
  11. Adrian Lopez

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    I wonder...

    Take every single Windows program currently available for sale or download and make it available through Microsoft's app store. Would whatever advantages come from the store being one click away be negated by the crowded nature of such a beast? Would a newly released game get better exposure on a crowded app store than it would through traditional channels? Would search results on such an app store be that much more relevant than the results of a Google search?
     
  12. Applewood

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    I think most are missing my point tbh, yourself included:

    It's not the existence of an app store. It's the knock on effect of an app store - they come with a forum centered around it where a large majority of your target audience will read, or at least see, your announcement post. This is not the case for PC as it stands.
     
  13. Adrian Lopez

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    Yes, but how well does that scale? Isn't an app store a lot like a monolithic portal?
     
  14. Applewood

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    Well, it scaled to 2.5M installs for us. :)

    There's plenty of loser stories to be seen on mobile. A large proportion of them are from guys who made a shite app tbh. There are doubtless some good stuff that didn't get noticed, but I maintain that that is still easier to fix than trying to drive disparate traffic to an unknown website.

    iOS comes with TouchArcade. Android comes with a few (phandroid, droid central). Blackberry? Crackberry.com. What do owners of PC that want to think about games have? Portals or nothing.

    EDIT: By way of example, I just looked at TouchArcade. Probably the slowest time of day on the slowest day of the week. 1012 other people were on there with me. The record concurrent users was 10,537 and they have 2 million members. Does it feel cold out in PC land?

    EDIT2: Yes of course it's a monolithic portal. Key difference between this and the PC ones, which is where this thread started, is that every single mobile phown owner knows where that portal is and can reach it with a single button press from the phones home page.
     
    #34 Applewood, May 28, 2012
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  15. zoombapup

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    The same could be said for steam. Or at some point the casual portals. Huge numbers. Hell you could throw facebook numbers around too. But the bottom line is how accessible are those people and what are the benefits/problems with getting your game in front of them. If its a random gatekeeper issue like valve with steam, that can be as bad as if its a closed portal, or a casual portal trying to screw you.

    But your point is right, there are advantages to places with lots of eyeballs. Especially ones self-selected to want games. But as Adrian is I think saying, there are issues with MS moving to a closed system, in that PC development has always been better for the game ecosystem because of its open nature. Not great for sales maybe, but great for developers.
     
  16. Adrian Lopez

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    When I ask about how well it scales, what I want to know is how well the single-source distribution system scales as the number of developers and releases goes up. At which point do new releases become noise to most users?

    I have no doubt good games can still do very well on iOS, but it's not as if good PC games can't sell huge numbers without a Windows app store. Just take a look at Minecraft's sales figures, which few iOS games can meet or surpass.

    Comparing sales between iOS and PC is like comparing sales between Wii and X-Box. Different audiences, different tastes. To attribute the success of your game to the distribution channel is to ignore how different is each platform's audience.

    I'm sure the Windows app store will mean huge sales for a lot of developers, but removing other distribution channels is not necessarily an improvement.
     
  17. Bad Sector

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    Wait, are you arguing that PC doesn't have crowded communities? Are we on the same Internet?
     
  18. Applewood

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    Quite possibly. I'm one the ones that doesn't follow PC gaming that well, therefore I don't know if there are any really big forums for indie games customers. However even my mom knows where the app store is and feels safe using it.
     
    #38 Applewood, May 29, 2012
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  19. Applewood

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    It's already ridiculously massive and hard to keep a presence on. Apologies if I'm coming across like this is easy - it's really not. However it's gotta be easier struggling in front of a busy audience than struggling to find an audience in the first place.

    I think it's bogus to quote Minecraft and exceptions. I could easily throw Angry Birds back at you and that's earned ridiculously way more than Minecraft. They're openeing a theme park ffs. :)
     
  20. Jack Norton

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    Remember that while everyone knows (thanks to ranking) how well an app does, nobody really knows how well people selling mostly directly do, unless they post about it. Could you believe that a mostly text-based MMO makes ton of money?
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/07/30/kingdom-of-loathing-is-doing-quite-well/
    there are many hidden niches on PC market. I'm not sure the same can be said about iOS. In the end, you can make good money both on PC and mobile but you need to find the right strategy. You found the right one on iOS, so obviously you think that PC = shit. I know many people who had the exact opposite experience. The best thing is keep trying because every people's path is different (selling direct, selling through portals, one-time fee, micro-transaction, subscription, etc etc).
     

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