I’ve been meaning to write a summary about the feedback I got to my post about being an amateur Android game developer. It was mostly collected from reddit comments, hacker news comments, and comments on the blog post.
If anyone was wondering if the post had any effect on downloads the answer is yes. It was the only marketing which clearly affected the download stats. However, as with traffic to the blog post, the effect was temporary. I guess if you manage to write interesting content regularly you could ride that wave better than I did.
So here are some points collected from the feedback, and some of my own subjective opinions reiterated from the last post now condensed in this handy list.
Have an appropriate amount of polish.
Great game concepts can be ruined by crappy presentation or bad user experience. If you don’t have artistic talent consider getting a guy to do the graphics for you. Ditto for musical talent.
Don’t do ad-based marketing.
Your game probably only costs a buck or so, so you’ll probably end up paying $10 to make a $1 in sales. It’s ok to do do cross-marketing however, e.g. between your games, which doesn’t cost you a dime.
In-game ads make for a poor income unless you have hundreds of thousands of players
You want to risk annoying your players for a few measly cents? You can annoy them when you can afford loosing some of your player base.
A proven concept on platform X doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hit on platform Y
Sometimes it’s just how the stars are aligned. Sometimes your version just sucks.
Updating each week will boost your downloads temporarily
I have simply not found any other easy marketing technique to be as effective.
Do it for fun
Chances are it will never make any substantial sales, so treat it as a hobby. Those cinderella stories about devs striking it rich are just that – cinderella stories.
Don’t re-invent the wheel, or the game engine.
Check out AndEngine for instance. You’ll save a bunch of time.
Pimp out your game whenever you can
It’s not going to make much of a difference but people who don’t know about your game can’t buy your game. Btw. download Theseus and the Minotaur.
Use in-game analytics
You’ll want statistics about your game usage.
Old players of your game are your best source for word-of-mouth marketing. You can achieve better retention by for example adding new levels regularly. In free versions if you don’t want to add more levels you could for example switch which levels are available for free to re-activate old potential customers.
It doesn’t hurt to have lovable characters
If your game doesn’t have characters consider adding some and make sure they have some personality and are memorable.
Cram out several games
Your first game is probably gonna be a dud. If your game doesn’t seem to be picking up and developing it is become a chore, then just cut your losses and move on to the next project. The more games you make the better, faster, leaner and meaner you will get.
Prefer game concepts which have a fast development time
A role playing game is going to need a lot of story and a lot of graphics, and a lot of your time. A game in which the player tries to beat his own high score won’t be infinitely time consuming and might still be a bigger hit.
Thoughts? Go ahead and comment.