So WarPath, our tactical, turn based, tank fighting game came out yesterday. We got in the real figures (not our made up April Fools figure of 2.5 million).
Total sales : 11 copies
4 – UK
3 – US
1 – Switzerland
1 – New Zealand
1 – France
1 – Sweden
Less than I expected to sell, but I hope to gain more as I do more updates and improvements. I am however quite pleased it was a variety of places as I expected it was mainly going to be UK buyers.
Release Date Problem
I possibly have missed out on sales with my Release Date listings. Although you should never rely on being on these sort of lists it does help. I am going for the long term approach of constantly improving and adding to the game, so launch day and appearing in the New Releases list is less important to me.
Anyway, I’ll explain the problem so any other new developers can avoid the mistake I did.
You have 3 dates to make yourself aware of.
- Availability Date
- Approval Date
- Release Date
Availability Date – Set by developer in iTunes connect
Approval Date – The date that Apple approves your app ( out of your control )
Release Date – The date that appears on the App Store and is used when Sorting by Release Date ( funny that ).
The problem that I encountered, is as follows.
I set the availability date to far in the future. When it was approved I changed it so I had 2 weeks to try and get a bit of hype/marketing going.
My Availability date was set to 31st March, the Approval Date was 14th March.
When my game WarPath released on 31st March the Release date appeared as the 14th March ( even though this was it’s first appearance in the App Store ), because of this I was buried multiple pages deep when sorted by Release Date despite this was the first day it was in the App Store.
Apparently the system will choose the earlier of the two as your release date. So you have the following situations.
Availability Date before Approved = Release Date as Availability Date – Buried
Apparently no longer the case, it will update to Approved Date now so you will be on the first pages of sorted by Release Date section
Approved before Availability = Release Date as Approved Date – Buried ( what I have done )
Approved on Availability = You are far too lucky - First pages of sorted by Release Date section
According to a FAQ on the AppStore
The Released date displayed on an application product page is the date the latest version of that application went live on the App Store.
But currently it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Also be aware that after being sorted by date, the list is sorted by Alphabetical order.
I thought it would also be helpful for people to know what my marketing efforts were and how successful they are to get a better idea of what they should try.
Along with Paul we wrote our press releases for the announcement and release day and sent them out via PrMac from where it was automatically re-posted in full on various sites. It might help your SEO a bit, but I am unsure of the value, as far as I know most of the sites it appeared on were automatic, and I am unsure people would regularly visit a part of a site which contains any old press release.
What I intended for these releases was a way to reach out generally for interviews or human coverage. I got a number of emails from various sites, but nearly all of them asked me to pay for advertising or a feature which I have decided against. I am unsure if the lack of pickup is due to my game, the game being my first game or what. I got one bit of free coverage from Arnold Zafra at iPadNewsHub.com who did a preview (and possibly upcoming is a review of the game) and have been contacted by a few others for promo codes which will hopefully turn into something.
Submitting game to review sites
No reviews yet, a few responded asking me to buy advertising or paid features. Looking at iTunes Connect about half of the promocodes were loaded so people did have a look at the app which is good. Getting reviews would be great promotion, but also I would really love feedback on the game so I know what to improve.
Touch Arcade Posts
Touch Arcade posts I would definitely recommend. For the preview post we got some early feedback and lots of people looking at it. With the right game I think this could convert into lots of sales.
Touch Arcade Preview post
Touch Arcade Release post
I had a poor number of views for my post in the TIGSource Feedback forum could be because not many of the users have iPads, or because I am quite new there.
Twitter – My tweet announcing game release retweeted 12 times and various people did tweets encouraging people to try my game.
Facebook – Release announcement that was sent out by lots of people too
I am unsure how effective these have been, but the word has definitely been spread. Twitter I use mostly as a networking tool, I have a number of people in my Follow list that support me and help me out which is nice.
Game in Scotland Event
Because I have my company listed on ScottishGames.net (who plan on doing a piece on me soon) I was asked by Game in Scotland if I wanted to attend. The event is a games industry recruitment event, and I’m not currently recruiting, but I pitched to her that I could come as an adviser to people who wanted to set up their own companies and so forth which they were fine with.
So at the event I was an adviser and promoted my game there, lots of good feedback and amazing amount of people came over just because they liked our company name or logo which was nice. I was introduced at one point as “The owner of the best named games company in Scotland”. This event was great for getting general feedback, and also as a good networking event with games companies around Scotland (and there was free food and drink there too which is a bonus).
In total all these things drove 99 visitors to my website in one day (highest count so far) and led to the 11 sales on release day, hopefully more in the future too. As it is the first game I have designed, developed and marketed I have to remember to keep my expectations in check, it’s very easy to get carried away seeing successes on the App Store and forget that there are a small number of hits and thousands that fail.
I plan to continually improve WarPath to gain more users, and as time goes on I should improve my skills in making and promoting games and hopefully it will pay off. If not, as the plan has always been, I will have picked up valuable skills and at least I can say I have tried when I had the chance.
And before I finish I would like to thank everybody for their support so far. I have been amazed how many people have been really supportive of me in general and helped promote Whisky Biscuit and WarPath, obviously going Indie full-time as any start up is a risky business (but fun one) and having all this support has really kept me going.
Feedback on my promotion efforts and how I can improve sales are definitely welcome, please leave some in the comments.