Sunday, July 18, 2010

iPhone App Game Development Blog #33

iPhone App Game Development Blog #33

Now proud to be a part of the iDevBlogADay group started by @mysterycoconut! Read the other blogs and support independent game development!

180 for iPhone - things have been awful slow lately, but still quite interesting. I haven't spoke with the programmer much lately, and hoping to decide what exactly we will do to update the App. There's a couple of issues I'd like to address, and as mentioned I still need to change some of the marketing and presentation materials. Life has been quite busy and it's kept me from dealing with that.

I've been running a somewhat aggressive viral marketing campaign for Headcase Games and 180 over on TouchArcade, just generally trying to raise the visibility of everything. In some ways it's been successful (a lot more people are cognizant of the fact that we exist, and that our game is well-liked) and in other ways, not so much (it's not bumped our sales numbers at all). On the plus side, the major advantage is that our 180 Thread is constantly buzzing (and that is sort of a whole unwieldy and bloaty advertisement for our game/brand). Hopefully we can just keep rubbing those sticks together for some time.

Expecting to see some more media coverage for the game in the near future, again as I've been busy I've still got a lot of sources to follow-up with (or hit in the first place). Even though the game has been available for months now, there's still things we can do to capitalize on the "freshness." To be honest, I really don't want to spend much more time lingering on it though, I want to close the book and deal with other things. The real big potential at this point is considering a port to a different device, but that's way way up in the air (and will require a ton more homework on my part).

One other thing I'd like to mention: dunno if anyone noticed, but we took down the Free version from the store for the past week. When the game launched it was $1.99, but right after E3 we reduced to 99cents. It seemed a little silly to have a game that cheap alongside a free demo, and we were getting (relatively) respectable DLs of the limited Free version, but actual sales were almost crashed. It seemed like a good experiment to disable Free and see what happened. What happened? After a full week, our sales dropped by another half! Still not crashed, but quite close. I'm hoping to get Free back online ASAP..

What else is going on - game industry was rocked this past week with news of layoffs, this time the afflicted included Ready at Dawn (God of War PSP games) and Rockstar San Diego (Red Dead Redemption). The latter place let a good 40 or so people go. That's nuts - Rockstar is a huge industry leader, the Red Dead team just released their game, and on top of that it's been a critical and commercial hit. So what gives?

What gives is that AAA-development is still so big and risky that even the mega-studios are feeling the pain, more and more. Red Dead may have been a hit, but it still cost an arm and a leg to actually produce it, never mind marketing it. I don't wanna hazard a guess, but I will suppose it's gotta have been upwards of 50 million for a beast like that. Being Rockstar, where I am sure everything costs a lot of money, and whatever politics were going on (always a bunch at any studio), their protracted development time on that game (5 yrs?) was probably the nail in the coffin. Anyway, the point is that as much as I whine about tough times trying to make and sell my own products, when I hear stuff like this (and all the recent Activision business) it really makes me happy to be doing my own thing. I'd like not to have to return to being on the receiving end of that, the Salad Days are over..

Finally, a gesture of Goodwill from Headcase Games - I wanna extend myself out to the other devs out there.. iPhone, or mobile in general really. As you know I run this Retro Game of the Day feature quite regularly, and I use it to advertise my products. I get decent daily hits over here, so might as well put it to some good use right? I'd like to offer ad space on my site for other folks who want some help pushing their games as well. I won't charge for this, all I ask is don't ask me to help sell shovelware :) Gimme a banner 405x90 (fits on and the pertinent link to your app and I'll hook it up for ya. I can even do a little writeup if you like. I have tested this before and got some word-of-mouth going for other folks' products, so what are you waiting for! Drop me an email and we'll talk. (JPG, PNG, whatever... I don't wanna start with animated gifs at this point..)

One last bit, someone linked to this blog on neogaf. TONS of wonderful, free iPhone apps listed in here. (I am not connected to this website, but wanted to share the wealth) --> LINK

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