180 for iPhone - Almost 2 months to the day our game has been released. All things considered, I am happy with how it has all played out. Today I'd like to talk a bit about follow-up promotion and "where do we go from here."
The app is no longer fresh, everyone who would have been excited about it has got their hands on it by now and played a few rounds. There's still a whole casual market out there to crack, but breaking through to that point takes a good amount of luck and/or a huge amount of money. This means, you can never count on it to get to that level, but try to keep the fires burning while working on whatever is next.
To promote our app and give it some legs, we've been running a pretty big contest that we've been promoting through various means. In some way I have felt that promoting the contest needed to take precedence over the actual app's promotion, and in hindsight I wish I followed through with that idea much more strongly. I was expecting the contest to be a big hit (they are unusual, and therefore special) but like everything else I have learned, the real work starts when you are trying to sell the idea, not coming up with the idea itself. Had I been more aggressive in pushing the matter, and more creative with it, then it could have paid off more.
I would definitely do another contest in the future (and would like to do one with an update of this game, at least) but there's definitely many things which I will do differently next time. I don't regret how things played out, because "you learn by doing" and there's so many little nuances to how all of these things go that it is impossible to predict them all - just gotta chalk them up to experience, and move on.
Looking forward to seeing some post-E3 followup promotion for our game, as usual it's all a bunch of vapor until something comes out. We are talking to some big guys, we are talking to some little guys, we'll see how it plays out in the coming weeks. Expect to hear some more noise from me on some front or other. Meanwhile, the Anime Expo LA is just a week away or so, and I will attend it in some capacity or other and distribute some more swag. Comic Con is also coming up in San Diego, but it's looking less and less likely that I will be pimping the game there (we'll see how things play out in the meantime).
At this point I want to open the floor up to my readers. I have spent a lot of time in this column detailing my plans, what I have done, what I have been planning to do. At this point I am going to seek some advice, "where should we go from here" with 180? This question is posed primarily to other devs, but I welcome anyone with an ounce of marketing sense to chime in as well. This has all been an experiment, and part of that is seeking some feedback/fodder from the outside world. With that in mind..
-The app has been reduced from 1.99 to .99. The sales are the same. Should we stick to a dollar or go back up a buck (or two?)
-We have a free version available, and it demo's the game quite nicely without giving too much away. This is my opinion, however. Have you played both? Did the demo upsell the game to you? Did you feel that the 90-second mode, for free, was all that you needed?
-Is it a sensible, in this period, to have a .99 app on the store and a Free version as well? With the price being so low, are we cannibalizing sales?
I am tempted to play with things a bit (futz with the price, maybe remove the free version for a few days and see what effect it has on things, etc). If we got half the number of free downloads for our paid version, I'd be fairly happy. It is bad to be erratic on the appstore and experiment with this stuff; since we are so far from the spotlight, would anyone even notice?
ALSO - be sure to get in there and compete for a high score, there's still a few days left to place in the contest!
What Else is Going On - that's really all for now. I am just waiting and watching, and in the meantime as we wrap up the contests (and the main thrust of our promotion) I am settling in and doing some work on other things. It's a strange time, not a bad time, but definitely a very busy one, and I have a lot of thinking to do on "what is next." I have another game I'd love to get prototyping, but realistically that won't likely happen for at least another 6 weeks.