Wednesday, December 8, 2010

iPhone App Game Development Blog #42

iPhone App Game Development Blog #42

Wow. WOW! It has been one of the busiest weeks of my life. Good stuff happened, bad stuff happened, weird stuff happened. All in all my head is still spinning from all the activity around here, I figured it would be a good time to step back and deliver a status update on things. Here goes!

180 for iPhone - well, the Grand Experiment is in full swing. A week ago, after some buildup, we reduced the price of this game to FREE and let loose with the media barrage. The biggest point was partnering with GameGiveaway, which got us unheard-of exposure. As their iPhone app rocketed to the top, the prominent feature we got by association meant that we got some heavy-duty numbers of downloads, much much heavier than anything we had ever seen. My head is still reeling from this - 100,000 downloads of 180 as of today! (We were at 23,000 a week ago). Yes, the majority of that were free downloads, but to me it is very worthwhile to have my app in so many user's hands. Realistically, 100,000 is still a tiny number in the big scheme of things (and further, a good portion of that number may never even launch the app!) but for a tiny little developer like us who has never got any major-league attention, it certainly is a case worth celebrating!

So what next? We have collected an enormous amount of useful data during the course of this experiment, and while it is not yet over (the app is free for the entire month), the relatively big exposition sure is. Our visibility burst nice and brightly for a moment, and it's steadily been tumbling back into the nether since (we are no longer charting) but the opportunity to showcase our product was wonderful, and it led to some useful developments. This brings about a lot more behind-the-scenes work for me to deal with, as we try to chart the next course of this plan.

Bizdev - As things have been completely wrapped-up with the promotion and all that it entails for so long, a lot of things have been cooling on the shelf. Sadly, they will stay there for the time being as there's plenty of fallout to deal with. It's a busy and crazy time of the year, and of utmost importance for my own well-being is A. finding a way to get paid and B. keeping things running with Headcase in a satisfactory manner. I like to keep it vague on this blog for obvious reasons, but rest assured work is being done now on different productions - and some of them will actually give some yield shortly. I am working hard to follow that up with other sensible steps, and a lot of that requires me being out "in the field" talking and schmoozing and making the necessary connections. I do quite a lot of that, and more needs to happen until I can lock down into heavy production mode once more. It is very gratifying to have enough things moving forward in a positive direction (especially in light of all that's been happening) that I can see more big news to announce in the near future, when the time is right. As I mentioned, I am still in the middle of things - I need to properly organize and display the data we've collected over the past week, it makes for some extremely interesting/useful reading if you've a mind for development and sales. Watch this space, hopefully it will see light within some days.

What Else Is Going On - Plenty! The App Store education continues! True to form, we have good/nasty luck all rolled together as Headcase seems quiet during all the industry's quiet times, and as soon as we decide to make some kinda splash, the rest of the world seems to do the same with everyone else! We just missed the meat of it (and it's surely affected our follow-through, drastically) but anyone who is partially paying attention can sense that right now is probably the busiest period in the entire year, on the App Store. It's exciting and maddening all at once. For my fellow small indie developers who are releasing projects right now, I feel for them, as they are up against a particularly nasty amount of huge-name competition. There's just less and less room for smaller projects to carry any water these days; if you aren't a particularly well-known name and your work doesn't measure up to the higher standards being put out by the Moneybags pubs and devs, then you are in a real world of hurt right now as your apps are just getting utterly lost in the noise. I am so happy we decided to concentrate on being free for this period rather than expect to recoup any sales, because - although I strongly feel that my product is certainly worth some money - with the way things are right now, the odds of getting much back versus the good we can do by continuing promotion are really night-and-day differences.

The App Store is really turning into such an unruly monster, in so many ways, that I absolutely do not want to approach it in the terms it invites people to, anymore. I have learned that there are a few other things you can do (have to do!) to seek success in this crazy market, and playing the traditional game is really not relevant anymore.

Alright, I am really sleepy. There's mountains of laundry to fold, dishes to wash, and plenty of other digital loose-ends to tie up as well. Plus, I will be enjoying a few days away from this madness in Vegas two days from now! Wish me luck - the odds are better than on iTunes!!

Lastly, to sign off I want to note that I have quite the laundry-list (laundry, here he goes again about his laundry) of folks to thank for their help during this promotion. Lots of devs, lots of friends, lots of fans.. we couldn't have got anywhere without your help. If I've not pinged you back since you said something for us, know that I haven't forgotten, I am just catching my breath. I'll hit you up individually very soon, but in the meantime, big thanks :)

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