Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally telling it

Reading the past few blog posts, I realized that I didn't mention in an actual post that around September 3rd, Final Freeway started being featured in the App Store.
I did mention that in comments to another post, but it's worth mentioning it in a post, too.

I was first in the "New and Noteworthy", that lasted for a while (3-4 weeks ?).
Clearly the game is not so new anymore, but luckily it's still featured in other short lists, and that definitely helps to get exposure.

Some developers mention being featured as a huge event.. and it's true that it sensibly improves the the sales. That event made me very excited and made me want to continue on this path, but it hasn't quite made me rich..  more like it repaid me well for the months that I spent without a salary 8)

Early exposure of the game on popular sites made the sales transition look smoother than for some other games which sometimes sit somewhere for weeks selling little or nothing until Apple notices them.
Still, 2-3 days after being featured I went from a lowest of 310 copies (falling from a peak of 1100 copies due to a the TouchArcade review) to slightly more than 2300 copies for one day.. which is a lot ...but it quickly dropped from there.
About 5 weeks are past since being featured, and last week's sales averaged to 650 copies per day (between the slower days in the middle of the week and the Saturday and Sunday highs).

I fear the day that the game will be cleared of all the featured spots on iTunes..  but at the same time I think that I've somehow made one winning decision that has been helping me to stay afloat regardless of being featured.
That decision being: iPad compatibility (making an Universal app, in Apple devs-speak).

Staying around the top charts of iPhone/iPod games is not as easy. It's very crowded there.
Of course iPad can run iPhone/iPod games, but they look ugly (small or scaled) and iPad users certainly want their new shiny device to be used at its best.
It also helps that my game is cheaper than most iPad games, which are often iPhone games re-sold in their "HD" incarnation.. making a few power users angry as they need to buy the iPad version of what they already have on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Unfortunately there is no way to tell how much of the sales truly are from iPad users, but being in the top of the charts is an indication, and the game has been floating around the #1 spot for iPad racing games in Japan and USA.
Actually, the game touched many #1 spots in most countries even on iPhone charts, but for many of the countries being #1 racer or even just #1 game it may mean that one person bough a copy of the game on that day 8)

One negative thing that came with being elected into the "New and Noteworthy" list was that, like some other developers noticed, the game was automatically removed from the Racing category itself.
This was probably a bug with the process..  and I'm sure that being high in the Arcade category has more value than for the Racing category, but I'll never know how much of a difference that made.

In order to choose again to be also in the Racing category I had to post a new update, which could have been a dummy one, but I decided to go ahead and have actual content for a proper update instead (also to avoid upsetting people with meaningless updates).

I'm now waiting for the 1.4 update to be approved. That update should add a bit more fire to the sales for 1-2 days.. but eventually I have to start cranking new games.
Simply updating helps to keep sales going and gives me an opportunity to implement features to be reused in future games, so it's good.. but not as fun (and painful) as making a new game 8P



  1. You should summarise these "Achievements" in the App description page, it seems to be common practice and it should help sales.

    Something like:
    #1 App in Italy, Japan...
    Featured App in ...

    Maybe also 2 lines excerpt from review sites with the rating could be an option.

  2. I did that somewhere once. Also in the English version there are extracts from some reviews.. but that's work too.. (^^;)