poor sales, looking for advice

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by vbovio, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    Hi guys,

    My first iPhone game (see my sig) is selling poorly, no surprise there since I'm unknown and it's my first game, but I just want to ask you for advice.
    My original intention was to release the game and update it frequently until it has more content and is polished (right now it has 15 levels), then I would make PC and Mac versions to sell there as well. But I'm a bit uncertain at the moment on how much more time to spend before moving to the next game. I have already submitted the lite version and working on an update, but I don't think it will make much difference though.. perhaps I can have better luck once it is on desktop platforms or once the game is mature.. I don't know if this was a good approach or not, at least I could start to receive money (exchange money) while I still work on polishing and adding levels/features..

    Here is a video of the game: youtube video
    please PM if you like to try it, I don't post the promo codes right away because I'm afraid lurkers can take them and I'm running out of them..

    Thanks.
     
  2. ragdollsoft

    Original Member

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    Apparently the most crucial thing for an iphone game is the application's icon. If your icon is not pretty you have no chance of getting featured on the app store.
     
  3. manunderground

    manunderground New Member

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    Couple things come to mind:

    1. Have you done a lot of testing (say had 50 strangers play the game and rate it along several categories) do people really enjoy your game and want to come back?
    2. You only get one chance to release a game, one chance at a first impression, I understand the tension between releasing and polishing but I think in this case you rushed to release, if I saw it today on the App store I would never check back for updates even if the game was totally revamped

    If people don't like your game per #1 I would probably cut my losses and move on. You might be able to answer that question by looking at sales on the iPhone too, though that probably can be misleading.

    On the other hand if the core of your game is something people are identifying and loving, and the problem is just the execution, then I would invest in an artist and update the graphics, iterate until the polish is really there, then see how it does on the iPhone.
     
  4. electronicStar

    Original Member

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    The game looks really fun to play, but the graphics are a real problem.
     
  5. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    people who have played it like it, they say it's fun and with good gameplay, there a minor issues that I can address but in general I have received good feedback so far, but a constant seems to be poor art...

    if anyone want to try it, let me know, or should I better post the promo codes right away ?

    Thanks
     
  6. Pallav Nawani

    Indie Author

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    Which people? Your friends? In general, opinion of friends & relatives is not very useful, because they will likely never pan your game even if it is very bad.
     
  7. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    not friends, people who I don't know who have tried the game via promo codes or bought it.
     
  8. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    1) NEVER ever release a game until it's done. First impressions is everything in a world where users attention spans are at an all time low.

    2) Don't get hung up on low sales. Start working on your next project right now. Sure do some marketing if you know what to do, but if you don't, your time is better spent developing another game.
     
  9. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Hmmm. If you don't know how to market your game, then your time will be much spent doing landscape gardening or buying and selling on eBay.

    Seriously, there's no point putting a payment processor on anything if people can't find it to buy it.

    (I'm no good at marketing either btw - I get someone else to do it, because not doing it is simply not an option. Why doesn't everybody get this!?)

    Edit: By going independent, most people here think the biggest hurdle is getting by without publisher's money. But really it's about getting by without publisher's publishing.
     
  10. PoV

    PoV
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    Frequent updates don't work anymore, since the update queue is upward 2 weeks+ backlogged.

    http://gamesfromwithin.com/at-the-mercy-of-apples-whim

    Updates will help if you have a noteworthy lite version people keep around, and you remember to update it.

    Since things are so dynamic in the market, there's really not a lot of useful advice people can give anymore. "Be News" is the one I give, since people need a reason to talk about you. If you can't find a reason for people to talk about you as opposed to everyone else, then you probably wont be seen.
     
  11. defanual

    Original Member

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    Indie quote of the week contender, epic! :)

    If you don't know marketing, moving on to the next game isn't going to help, because the next game's gonna require, you guessed it, marketing!:eek:

    Unless you can afford to find someone else to do the marketing for you, you CAN'T afford not to learn marketing!
     
  12. puggy

    Original Member

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    I don't have an iphone so i don't know the details about publishing games on them but i'll give some general advise to you. If people are complaining about poor artwork but think the game is fun to play then at the moment you are best doing 3 things:

    1: look into marketing for the platform your selling on, by this i don't mean try to push the game but actually research how to market on the actual platform, get a feel for how other people market there game, this applies from about a month at least before you publish the finnished game. This will help when your next game comes out.

    2: work on a new game, Use the experience from the first game to make a new and better game but make it differrent from the first, improve your skills and experince.

    3: Redo the artwork from the first game, People say it's fun but the artwork isn't great. Then you have a platform for a sequel, better artwork, some tweaks here and there. This way you can make money without having to code a game from scratch. Do this work along side the new game. Wait a few months after the release of your second game before publishing this. That way people who buy the second may try your first game as well and buy it. Don't sit idle if you already have the work done, start a third new game and a sequel to the second.

    When doing sequel's look at the comments made about the previous version to aid in the making. Poor artwork is the easiest to fix for a sequel, poor gameplay is bad and unless you can fix it then think of scraping the game series
     
  13. gutripper

    gutripper New Member

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    That is truly an awesome quote :)

    I agree with the comments about the art. Not to put down the work you've put into the game, but I can't see anything remarkable about it. What are the features, functions or aspects of the game that make it interesting and compelling to buy? Figure that out and find a way to tell people. It sounds hard, because it is. Good luck!
     
  14. Shaz

    Moderator Original Member

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    Even if your game is a success, I don't know how well you'd go making a PC or Mac version after the iPhone version.

    I've seen lots of people who have bought iPhone versions of games who then go to the developers and ask if they can have the PC/Mac version for free because they've already bought the iPhone one ("well, I bought it, so I should be entitled to run it on any platform, right?"). And people who grumble about the price of PC/Mac versions because the iPhone one is so cheap.

    The trend seems to go the other way - if someone's already paid the full price for your PC/Mac game and they enjoyed it, they might be inclined to throw in the few bucks extra when it's released on iPhone, so they can continue to enjoy it when they're not at home.
     
  15. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys, all of it is really helpful.
     
  16. Obscure

    Indie Author

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    If you are no good at art I would try and find an artist to work with - do projects based on a share of revenue.

    Remember that, especially with iPhone, the first thing a potential customer sees is your app store text and screen shots. If the screen shots don't grab their attention they probably won't even try the Lite version.
     
  17. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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  18. KlickTock

    KlickTock New Member

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    Most iPhone games tank. I personally consider it one of the scariest game portals I've ever seen.
    Don't take it to heart.
    "Be News" is very good advice.
     
  19. DayDream

    Indie Author

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    One of the main aspects of casual games on the iphone is getting the fun aspect across... and for the sales that means making sure the screenshots you post look stunning...

    Choosing a fun colourscheme for the icon and the menu is a good start... Think happy and avoid too desaturated and dark colours for a fun casual game... Something along the lines of this seems more appropriate imho...

    [​IMG]
     
  20. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    DayDream, you're the king!

    well, lessons learned for the first game, I hope to do better for next one, although updating this game does not hurt..
     

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