Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Android Market. What's in it for me?

Much to my surprise, the Android Market finally earned a proper web interface that allows to purchase games from a web browser and without having to browse with an actual Android device !

This is a great step forward, and now there is even a rumor that Google will implement a fixed pricing system like Apple's App Store.. so that game prices won't look like numbers taken out of a currency exchange ticker (Final Freeway for Android is 105 yen, but shows as anything between $1.25 and $1.29 ..depending on the current Dollar/Yen rate).

There are a few things that we did (using the plural here as it's not just me working on this) to improve sales (which are still very low) but apparently none of them brought any results so far:

- Small 125x125 banner in a couple of sites (Android sites, but not strictly gaming sites)
In only a few days, 275,000 impressions, 300 clicks on the banner.. but no improvement (easy to verify, when you're only selling 3-5 copies of the game per day anyway).
I tried to have the banner redirect to and then directly to ..but that doesn't seem to make a difference.

One thing to say is that with the latest user review saying: "Refund !!!", more than one potential customer may be put off 8P

- Added OpenFeint and made it to the New Releases screen
This also seems to have had basically 0 effect on sales. (link here, may require reloading, as it rotates).
As I said in a previous post, apparently new releases are really for games that are new, not new updates that add OF integration. So, if that's an exception for us, then it's definitely one that we welcome.
Without saying too much, I think that we may have had a chance to go into the "OF Picks" if we had OF integration going for iOS as well.. however, the minimum space required by the OF stuff on iOS is 3 MB for universal apps (iPhone and iPad).. and that was going to break the 20 MB barrier for download of the game over 3G connection.. which I really want to preserve (I want people to be able to download the game on the go, when there is no WiFi available).

- Changed the display name to "Final Freeway Racing"
There is still no racing category in the Android Market.. but there is a search feature, and I figured that if one searches for "racing" then it's more likely that having that in the title will show the game earlier in the results.
This actually worked, as the game went from the 9th page to the 5th page of results. But this didn't help either.
Maybe things will change in a few days, but searching for "racing" and then scrolling 5 pages is still too much.

- Asked for more (read: ANY !) reviews
So far, the only review for the Android version of the game that I know of, is that from a Japanese web site.
That brought some business (incidentally.. still less than 500 actual copies sold).
I've made a request for review to but, I received no answer so far, and I can see from their site that they are looking for "Android writers" and that their ad banners in the Android section are not very popular.
I was kind of hoping for PG to perhaps acknowledge the game, since in the past I did a sponsored (paid) feature with them. Paid or not.. they already talked about the game and how the Android version should come out..  it wouldn't hurt to actually follow on that 8)

I also did more requests to other sites that seem popular... and it would be great if any of them would finally pick the ball and give the game a little space.

..I mean, if you see some of the stuff that is listed far above FF in the Android Market.. surely we deserve a little more visibility.

It's a tough world, but I can't really complain. All this marketing a PR stuff is part of the business, and while making games is fun (as in: painful but fun) selling them is what ultimately really matters.