Friday, January 21, 2011

iPhone App Game Development Blog #45

iPhone App Game Development Blog #45

Time for an update - thar she blows!

180 for iPhone - sick of hearing me talk about this one yet? No you aren't! Well I sure have seemingly said all there is to on the matter, but guess what - there's a ways to go! Here's some juicy tidbits:
- installed on a hair shy of 140,000 iDevices
- nearly %30 of v1.0 users have updated to the latest version
- still at 4 stars on iTunes and holding
- still "featured on iTunes" to some degree (though not in any prominent, meaningful way)
- hasn't crashed in months! (sales)
- in development for a different platform, and releasing very shortly :)
- was free for all of December, and for a minute last week. Effects on sales were profoundly minimal (this was expected)

Bizdev - always the interesting part. I am working on a couple of things, I seem to say that a lot. I am actually trying to find the time to advance something int he short-term. I have a programmer and possibly a small staff to help me between the necessary disciplines - I just need to find some time to organize and delegate things. It might actually pick up shortly.

GDC, PAX East are both looming closely on the horizon. While I'd love to attend at least one of these events, it is unfortunate that I am just way too busy and far too broke for either to be a reality. It's more and more important to get out there and be seen, and all of that - but it's a luxury I haven't got right now. To be honest I do feel kinda conventioned-out after all the craziness last year - yeah, still - so I don't really feel much remorse on the matter. I do believe my time will be well-spent producing in the interim, though I can't argue that meeting and connecting with folks in person is essential to growth and success. Well, there is always E3..

What Else is Going On - I was speaking to a couple of literary agents about writing a book (should this come as a shock?) It's something I've been too busy to follow-up with, but I think I might dust off the cobwebs shortly since my journalist brother has some free time on his hands. 3 guesses what it might be about, hint: there's a lot of material already lying around.

I am unbelievably busy with freelance work right now. It's been a very, very long drought and it's so nice to be back in the thick of it, even though it does pull me away from my independent/personal projects. Fortunately, the work is good, I enjoy it very much, and it helps me out in a lot of ways. I am doing the best I can to keep on top of things, but it's a battle at times. I think people going through similar circumstances know what I am talking about.

Promotion - I've long said "2011 will mark the end of my promotion of 180," well it seems not to be the case. I've merely been mixing things up. Gone are the days of forcing my way through TouchArcade, I've looked long and hard at my clicks and the research resoundingly screams "Facebook" so I have been working hard to grow my presence there. It's not easy - especially for such a tiny operation - but it's growing fairly strongly across all that I've been doing. I get several hundred views per day, and it is growing. Mind you, I have several pages spread across my campaign (my personal page with @2200 connections, my HcG page with @500-odd fans, my dedicated 180 page with over 50 fans, my FreeAppTracker page with a couple hundred fans.. I've started experimenting with some Facebook advertising as well. It's costly, and "probably not worth it" but it is something I need to familiarize myself with, and that's just by throwing into the fire. I'll push it further very soon with more aggressive/intriguing promotion and see if that grows anything.

A lot of people say "the game is done, let it go" but I have a very different philosophy and looking at my numbers, it makes sense to go this route (also, I am not telling all of my plans at once...) Anyway we have a good 14,000 active users right now - that we know of - which I consider to be a fairly healthy number, and I want to stoke the embers a little bit in light of what's to come. Besides, in the ensuing follow-up, if it falls flat I can always just cut the line fairly easily. As I see these numbers keep ballooning, it makes sense to keep pushing things.

Otherwise, I am anticipating a very crazy 2011 for the games industry. It's a little bizarre to be sitting here in what feels like the calm before the storm. I felt like last year was one of the quietest in many ways, but what's to come should be fairly earth-shattering. I think mobile is going to start to really disrupt the scene in 2011, unless you have your head down a hole I think many would be inclined to agree. This is just the beginning and if you can hang on and continue to be active and knowledgable, you will get to be a part of it all.

There's certainly a lot more to say and I will do my best to keep reporting it to you who would read it. I still owe a nice "numbers post" and I know there are folks who are interested in that, I will put it out when I have the time to present it appropriately. I think I've pretty much outlined the long and short of things already, but even for my own edification it is nice to present it all in black and white. It will get put together soon.

Lastly, I need help from my community! As usual, I am still the scrappy little guy fighting my way up this giant mountain, and there's still a ways to go! If you haven't already, please do these:

Like us on Facebook
Write a review of 180 on iTunes
Keep our TouchArcade post alive :)

Both of these things are very crucial to our growth. I can't stress that enough.

I want to open up the floor to questions/comments/criticism as well. I have tried this in the forums, I have tried it on reddit, both places are fairly useless for this sort of thing I have found. Please ask me anything regarding this all (my process, my plans, my delusions!) and I will do my best to give you an answer that is satisfactory. I enjoy writing in this blog, but I prefer to have it be open and share with the community, with other developers, with the people who enjoy our games, than just "this is me talking AT you."

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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