2 Months Since Launch - Sales and All
🕓 Mar 30th 2011
It's been 2 months since my original launch in late January and I am continuing my effort to be ultra-transparent about my experience. Let's start this entry off with a sales graph that answers the big questions and then I'll dissect a bit further.
This was my launch. I've already written in more detail about the first 3 weeks here.
Version 1.1 followed up shortly after (about a week later) in response to some of the first feedback. I added online multiplayer functionality and improved the game pace among other small fixes. At this point my UI wasn't completely fixed yet and I was still getting complaints about this. It is also worth noting that I started a Twitter follow contest around here. I didn't note it on the chart because it is hard to distinguish any effect from the update. It helped me get up to about 140 followers (mostly ones who don't retweet or engage at all), but that is it.
Version 1.15 / Mini -Feature
This is when I properly fixed my UI among other improvements. This is also when I was put into a "Mini Feature" as I call it in several European App Stores. I call it a "Mini-Feature" because it is not a Front Page deal like the New & Noteworthy section. Rather a user who enters the App Store would find me in this order :
Featured Tab -> Games -> Best Role Playing -> List of Games -> Pixel Fighters
So that's a solid 2 extra clicks to get to me. I'm sure this has a significant impact on traffic to your feature. Nonetheless, it was a very exciting thing to see. I went from 6 sales a day to a much more steady 20 - 30 sales on average (I peaked at 85). This feature has lasted over a month now and at least doubled my total sales since before. The game has been selling quite well all month in Germany, which now accounts for 22% of my total Worldwide revenue!
My thoughts on getting attention
While this feature has been less than life-altering, it has been very welcome. Its a bittersweet relationship with Apple sometimes, but when they do this for you, you can only be thankful. It seemed like too much of a coincidence though, that my latest release was approved within 24 hours of the Mini-Feature starting.
With the sheer amount of apps flowing in to the store daily, the wave of "CrApps" has never been bigger. I don't blame Apple for taking less risks with new Indie games and apps on release. As I see it, success will likely be spared for hard working indie developers, not only during development but also during their time in market.
By working hard both before AND after entering the market, I probably earned a second chance at some exposure. If you are discouraged enough that you can't even update one or more times in response to initial feedback, I don't see why Apple would be eager to feature anything you've made anyway. The App Store market is what really whips your apps into shape - so if you've never tasted it before, maybe you should before you expect the world.
_So, work hard and get featured? _Not guaranteed. After-all, if your app stinks, it stinks. If it lacks uniqueness, I would imagine its much harder too. Nonetheless, I think this is a solid mantra to have. Many of the best developers have a reputation for supporting their work, and to me a lack of initial momentum doesn't seem like adequate reason to just give up improving.
Facebook Picture Contest
From the moment I launched, I really wanted to have a picture contest, I just never knew when was the best time. A few weeks ago, a player on Touch Arcade was asking me about it saying he had a few ideas which got me excited. If I was smart, I would have done the contest with my launch or with my next big release. If I was dumb, I would have done it Mid - March with no other marketing support or visibility because a fan got me excited. Guess which one I picked?
While I'm not expecting this contest (ending April 18th) to go very well, it's not something I'll be giving up on yet, I just think my timing was less than perfect this first try. The contest has gotten me about 10 new Facebook followers and near to no legitimate Picture entries. As you can see from the graph, also 0 impact on sales.
Lesson learned - Throw contests with care and don't expect any denomination of iTunes Gift Cards to suddenly motivate a new wave of interest. I offered a $25 grand prize, and I've seen some companies offer $1000 . Both of us have less than 100 Facebook followers...
Final Fantasy 3
Something makes me proud that one of my most beloved game developers as a child is now one of my biggest competitors in market. My game was developed directly in response to the high price tag of the old Final Fantasy games that weren't even good on iPhone anyway.
Well, despite the price tag on FF3 ($16 USD), it hasn't moved sales for my game anywhere but downward. Prior to release, I've been slowly losing steam from my Mini-Feature but FF3 probably hasn't helped much either.
It has only been a week though and I'll be curious to see sales direction in the longer term (especially if my Mini-Feature continues)
You might notice that I've claimed my income to be 62% of Sales (CAD) and wonder why I'm not making 70%. There are 2 main reasons.
- Exchange rates! Unfortunately for me, the Canadian dollar is very strong right now. I make 0.57c for every UK sale, for example :S
- Promo codes are included in total sales. This is between 100 - 150 of the sales, (not all have been redeemed)
My first inclination is to think I should just price higher and make a better buck on each sale. However, I believe that price is not a toy that you adjust like your living room temperature. I've picked my app's positioning until next chapter's release at the very least.
There is still so much on the horizon. I've got many tricks up my sleeve to come including a massive update, a new free game that promotes Pixel Fighters and potentially a lite version too after next chapter. If all these fail, I will probably go Free for a day, but this wouldn't be until July at the earliest.
I still believe there is some room for improvement of Pixel Fighters and I would prefer to make a bigger marketing splash when I've got all my ducks in a row rather than hawk an 80% game.