Recently I’ve been hearing a number of complaints from iPhone software developers about pricing. These folks want to get out of the “99 Cent store.” The vast majority of these guys are either producing shovelware, first time coders, first time businessmen, are not making the effort to strategize their applications on the app store.
There are five basic things you need to do to get your app sold.
Price appropriately, price not-free. Have a lite version so users can get a taste, but, do charge money for a full application. Don’t half-ass it with a 99 cent program and think you’ll get into the top-tier of sales. That is essentially a lottery at this point with the 10,000+ applications out there. Don’t go free, because then you lose your standing. Only go free if you want to establish a brand like ngmoco before releasing your paid apps. Also note that reviews are stacked against free apps, since more people will download apps for free, but are less likely to be commited to (and appreciative of) the app. Whenever someone makes a purchase for anything, they become more committed to it. Just like sony/microsoft/nintendo console fanboys become more commited when they own “they greatest console ever.”
Make quality software.
If your software isn’t very good, even the fart app fans will review it appropriately, and it isn’t going to go anywhere. If this is your first app, fine, make it a free application to demonstrate your willingness to learn, and then once you’re a better programmer you can move on to…
Strategize your pricing.
Start out with .99 cents. If your software is good, you’ll get into the top 25. Once it is there you can iterate on the software and raise your price appropriately. Drop the price if you fall out of the top 25, have a sale, whatever.
Iterate the holy hell out of your software.
The biggest purchasers on the app store play with a piece of software for at most a few minutes and then never touch it again. You do not want these people to delete your app and rate it poorly. If my theory is correct, those same people are punching the update app button on the apps part of iTunes every ten minutes. You want to be updated whenever anyone hits that button so that their interest in your application comes back. There are a lot of little parts to this as well. Change your icon so these people understand that your app has undergone a significant change. They’ll see it in iTunes and they’ll see it again on the iPhone. With any luck they may go back to the app store and review your application well, and even give it the benefit of the doubt for any problems it is having because you are updating it. Every time you update, you get back on the new page on the iTunes store, even if you just update to change the version number. Updates are free advertising.
Spend just a little on marketing Most of the applications that are free have some kind of admob integration, buy through them and it won’t take much but the uptick in users could get you to be more sticky in the app store. Do not use admob advertising in your own application, you’d just be advertising for other applications.
Consult with others, network the hell out of yourself and your product before and after release. There are only so many things you can know. You might be a good marketroid but a poor developer. Then you’ll need to talk to find a community of developers on a forum or IRC channel and get chatting. Establish yourself there, help others, and others will help you. The same goes for being a developer and needing tips on marketing, or bizdev, or whatever. Talk to other people about this stuff so you don’t make mistakes in the long run. Lets say you’re writing your first OpenGL application, and it is for the iPhone, talk to OpenGL developers, don’t do it all on your own! The “others” you consult can even include your users, include a feedback form of some kind in your app. Do read and understand their feedback, if the majority of your users want something, you should probably deliver it. Ignore the crazy people who tell you they want more porn in your app.
Once you’ve got one app that has sold really well, and you’re ready to move on, think about continuing to support the older application and lowering the price. Eventually as you get back down to around the 99 cents, you’ll want to think about your strategy for going free with that app. Once it is out of the top 50 it isn’t going to do you any good, so it might as well get into the top 50 on the free chart and become an advertisement for your newer applications.
So there you go, I’m just a reviewer of software, but stop complaining about why it isn’t selling and try some strategies. The worst you can do is fail as poorly as you are now. Or tell me why I’m wrong, I’m sure my strategy isn’t perfect. Talk with other developers and publishers like ngmoco, find out why they’re successful, and use those ideas to make your apps sell.
After the break witness Metal Wolf Chaos, the finest XBox 1 exclusive, and bizarrely never released here. I played this one during my time as a microsoft tester. I wish they would bring it out on the XBox originals function of the XBL marketplace, at least.
Yesterday I found out about the World of Goo sale on Steam, via CAG, just before it ended.
Today I’m rescuing a goo-lady of, shall we say, “Ample carriage?”
Regardless, I’m escorting her down a red carpet, oh and look now, she’s just killed all of her fans. The good thing about this shallow-yet-not-insubstantial debutante is that her fanbase is leading her to a series of gears that will grind her up into the raw materials of beauty.
At least, that is beauty as far as goo is concerned.
So what is World of Goo, and what am I talking about?
World of Goo is an excellent indie physics puzzle game from 2dboy. You can get it on Steam, or a boxed copy via this amazon link. It’s so overlooked that I wanted to give it a mention. Now is the time to go back and try it if you haven’t.
I was like you, having only played through the free demo on Steam, I ignored the atmosphere of the game and dismissed it as shallow cuteness. Just as shallow as the gooball lady?
Now, having played more in the full game, I can hopefully cure you of your apathy. Give World of Goo a chance. I’m only up to Chapter 3, but the game is definitely more substantial than you might think from having just played the demo. It is even available for Linux now! Apple fans can get it, too. One license from 2dboy’s site appears to let you play it on any of those three platforms, as well.
I dare you to try playing it without a smile on your face. Everything from the overworld to the tower-building metagame put one on mine. Each level left me feeling good about my intelligence for having completed it, the way a good puzzle game should. Beyond the demo you also find new kinds of goo that make the solutions to each puzzle feel different.
Even the music is brilliant, but don’t take my word for it, download the soundtrack for free, from the developer. Maybe not something you’ll listen to much before you’ve played the game, but it is demonstrative of the game’s quality.
That metagame I mentioned is also pretty cool, it keeps you moving through the levels, and gives you a reason to go back to them. You see, each time you finish a level you can have a few balls of goo left over. The metagame has you employing those gooballs as joists and struts in support of a giant tower that you’re building to compete with everyone on the internet. It is pretty nifty, you’ll see what I mean when you try the game.
Maybe you’ll even send some ample goo-people to the spinning gears of doom, too.
You know your fancy ass gaming rig can run this game well, people are still super into it, and it came out almost 5 years ago. I’m still playing it, the patches have fixed it a little but it still takes more time to load a level than Crysis. Though I personally think it is more fun than Crysis.
What is it?
Hook your joystick up, find somefools to play with, and go play THAT, fool!
Hello, kids. Old Man Feld here. I’m bringing you today something we’ve been working on for a while now —
Our official Greasemonkey script! (yayyy)
Anyway, here’s the deal. We’ve got some code on the site and we’ve identified you as being a valued consumer of our content. We like you so much that we’re willing to allow you to test this. Remember, it’s only in Alpha and not all features are implemented yet, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it nonetheless. We’re really open to feedback and feature suggestions.
Alright, I have to head out for now. You can find it here. And remember kids, before you tap it you must wrap it!
I’d heard about it before, but never given it a chance, now I know why I was an idiot. Gang Garrison 2 is an hilariously awesome version of Team Fortress 2, minus the 3D, but including TCP/IP (or UDP perhaps) networking. The music is a series of chiptune recreations, the graphics look like the screenshot after the break. Go play the damn game (local mirror), you fool!