Sunday, July 12, 2015

End of the Road

Hello Headcasers! What brings you by this way?

Lots going on lately as life has been extremely busy for me. It seems nearly ridiculous to consider the fact that I am submitting 2 blog entries within a single month's span of time, right? (This, from a guy who used to write daily updates.. sort of).

Anyway, we finally released our second game this year (again, inside of a month!) as JumpBurger has been approved for sale on the Apple App Store. You can get it here - it is free, if you like it please rate and review, and tell you friends even. I'll be straight, the launch of a game is hardly ever easy  especially a game like this one. We got a good 170 downloads after three days (peaked on day 2, dropped off considerably on day 3) with shy of 200 clicks on the link provided above (not all DLs are through that link, of course). For a free game, with adMob monetization, that nabs me less than $3 in profit for a game that took a year and change to make. Worth it? Business-wise, not very much, but I have never really thought of this as a moneymaking proposition. The majority of referred clicks were through a Facebook promotion that I ran - I paid @ $27/day for 2 days. Now with all of that gone, it will be interesting to see if there is any leftover energy or if it completely dries up..

I have yet to finish my campaign (still building it) and if things were different, that would have been done by now, as well as a trip to Comic Con in SD (event took place during this weekend) to distribute, schmooze, and promote. That didn't happen for a bunch of reasons, mostly time and money. While I regret that, I also stress that I am just a guy with a job and some semblance of a life still. In all honesty if I did push to the 9s and try to accomplish all of that as well - WITHOUT cocaine, I don't know if I'd even have doubled my download numbers.

So what, then, to take away from all of this? It's a good time to be analytical. The takeaway is that the mobile arena is as harsh as it's ever been, if not substantially gnarlier than it was a few years ago (already a minefield, then). There's something to the tune of 500 apps released a week, or so, and trying to envision a real-world counterpart to that is like a Walmart the size of Downtown LA, and it's something like 300 stories high. Also, each app is the size of a deck of cards. And the lights are dim. You get the picture.

Other than that, I've had some reliance on social media to bolster my chances. Between twitter and facebook - I've spent countless hours building up & maintaining both - I see that they are mostly useless, as far as my utilization of them. Unless you have something particularly captivating to showcase, and do it properly in advance and with some kind of appropriate production budget, even the well-est of wishers will not be there to electronically high-five you on a low-profile product launch. "Why should they?" Well, there's the perception that the social networks are more than the merest of echo-chambers for ADD memes and hype-train and such - but unless you live and die by it, and produce constant product for consumption (of a considerable quality), then it's just almost like a big waste of time to expect anything from it. If one tries to do things surgically, of course more prper use can be made of such resources.

Where does this leave me? I've got 2 apps freshly out with not much revenue to show for it, and likely that's how it will stay for some time. I've got another app that I'd like to release in the coming months as well, with little expectation for a different result. I'm also considering to release some other smaller things before the year is up, if possible - and hopefully get back on track with "my dream project" as well at some point that is not too far off.

But WHY?

Because I love to do this. I love making games, good ones. The mobile and (some of the) indie markets are harsh environments, but there is still something very special about this place and what it affords a creator. Even with the crazy launch conditions, it is such a charge to see your own little project go out there into the world, see that some strangers are enjoying it, getting that feedback. Even if it is small, even if it nets you no $$ - and not even any goodwill - it feels good to put positive things out there in the world which might make people happy.

Would I love to strike it rich with this, get better feedback, get some bonafide support from the community beyond a couple of kind-hearted souls and close friends? Of course I would. Furthermore, is that reality even a possibility? Well, sure - we will find out, won't we?