Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rebound Development: App Store Story Part 1

The iPhone App market has treated me very well so far. As soon as the SDK was announced, I immediately downloaded it and started poking around. The timing couldn’t have been better either, as I had just finished my first Cocoa project. Within a few months I had a working iPhone puzzle game, Lumen (App Store). Lumen was already a desktop application (although not written in Cocoa) that has had mild success, so I thought the iPhone version would sell reasonably well, especially because it could access all of the online puzzles created by other Lumen players. To make a long story short, here are my sales up to yesterday:

In the pdf I have many of the significant events marked. For example, you can see the spike in sales when TUAW did a review of Lumen. Also, Lumen was featured as a "Staff Favorite" on the App Store, which had a huge impact on sales. A price change, although it doubled the original price, did not seem to have a noticeable effect on the download numbers. One of the scariest trends is the definite downward slope though. The sales have all but bottomed off, but I would say the total income so far has made the after school coding time more than worth it. Certainly not a bad job for a high school senior. Of course, I haven’t given up on Lumen. I will try paid advertising and such, but it is time to get another app on the store.

Getting an application all the way from development to the App Store is a daunting process. There was ton of stuff I had to learn to get Lumen out there from caveats with the developer program to finding a good designer. That is why I have decided to blog every aspect of developing and selling my upcoming application, including the daily sales numbers. Keep an eye out for more updates!


Blogger Ryan D. said...

Hey, so you think it's worth it overall? I'm about 90% done my game and I keep having thoughts of just stopping because it's a time sink and I'm not sure if I will make back my investment. I'm assuming you think it's worth it because you're doing another game but I wonder if your success was because it was an early launch title...will it repeat is the question. What if you didn't get reviewed, what if it was a staff pick?

October 23, 2008 7:08 AM  
Blogger Bridgeyman said...

I understand that you are nervous! It certainly is risky. I am able to go forward anyway because I am just a high school student trying to earn extra cash, not support a family.

I would still say that you should definitely go forward, especially if you are 90% done already. One tip is just to make sure your game is very polished before you release it. If you haven't already, talk to a good mac designer for the interface. Make sure you don't have a list of major features you are reserving for a later update. And of course, make sure it has been tested the best you can.

Getting the word out about your app is certainly important, but reviews and the App Store aren't the only way. I haven't tried paid advertising, but have heard it is effective. I will give it a try and show my download numbers later.

October 23, 2008 7:41 AM  
OpenID Magnulus said...

I think you'll find that in selling anything, the sales numbers go down significantly after some time until they're just a slight trickle. That's why new models of cameras come out every six months. That's why iPods are refreshed every year. That's why people keep making new games. That's why there are way too many MMOs being made.

Wow, though. You've really done well for yourself, I have to say. 20K USDs in that short a time is quite good for a high schooler, isn't it?

I've been trying to get people to program games with me (I'm a non-programmer. Never could manage to learn it) but it's hard to find people who are capable or dependable enough to put my designs into action. I will definitely be using your numbers as an aid to enticing people to join forces with me. ^_^

Good luck with future games!

October 24, 2008 11:46 AM  

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