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True stats of visibility on Android markets
by Arturs Sosins on 08/04/14 02:06:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I've been working for couple on couple of game dev projects as well as doing client work in the same field and my part was usualy game design and development, I never bothered with marketing or bussiness logic.

And the truth is, that nowadays marketing is the hardest part of making a mobile game. But as not having much experience in it, I wanted to know, how bad is it really is? How hard it is to get organic visibility to your app.

So I created a small and simple game with free assets graphics and launched it on most popular android markets without any marketing and promotions apart from simply submitting the game.

And after about 30 days, I started collecting the downloads data (more info here). And the results were, well not so shocking, but still kind of sad.

So if you launch a free game without any marketing on app stores, you can expect these results:

I remember about 3 years ago (maybe a little more) when launching our first studio game, we got around five thousand downloads on Google Play alone, in less than a week, with minimal marketing efforts (basically publishing to facebook and twitter accounts and having a link on our unpopular website).

Now combining all the markets download data from 30 days together, you won't reach that number. That's how bad it is.

Curently SlideMe does the great job with it's new app category on the main page and tweeting and posting to facebook every new app.

GetJar also provides comparably decent download amount, through their discovery engine.

Vodafone provides some emerging markets as Kenya and South Africa, that for now seems to run ok, but how monetizable are they?

Other stats, well, you see.

So next time you publish your app/game, don't expect great results without marketing effort and prepare to talk and collaborate with stores, to get featured or any possible additiobal visibility.

More information on the experiment, read on Water Bread Internet blog.


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Adrian Mro
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Interesting article, thank you!

Wendelin Reich
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So these are downloads you would attribute mainly to the icon and the title, as displayed in the app stores, rather than the quality of your game? If that's so, that would indeed be an interesting baseline, although there must still be huge variation depending on the nature and quality of icon and title...

I have to say, these numbers are much better than I would have guessed. Some time ago, an article claimed that >50% of games don't even get a single download. If your goal is to release a free title in order to test a concept, to gather data etc., then >2000 downloads isnt so bad.

Did you / are you gathering user data to determine how many of those downloads translate into 1, 2, or more play sessions?

Arturs Sosins
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Sorry meant to reply to you, but accidentally posted as new comment

Tanvi Kapoor
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I have heard that getting featured by the app store helps get a huge spike in the downloads. Did you have an option to do so? If not, based on your experience, how should a developer go about getting "featured" by the app store?

Arturs Sosins
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One of our colleagues from quite popular Indie game studio (unfortunately I don't know if I can mention any titles right now) got their paid app featured on Google Play, and they shared their statistics with us, and there were no spikes in sales after being featured.
Basically they did most of the sales, because it was a sequel of their previous already popular game.

Maybe Google Play feature did provide some downloads, but it was not significant enough to spike, probably only made average daily sales last longer.
Which basically means their own visibility and user base provided more sales than featuring. And the overall numbers were not so high.

But that is for paid apps. For free, it might make more difference. Unfortunately we never got to be featured in any store from all Indie studios that I worked for. Because in most cases it does not depend much on the app itself, as on having contacts and good relationship with the store.

For Google Play probably, a first step would be to become top developer there -developer

Arturs Sosins
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@Wendelin Reich
Yes, this is only the first game to try to establish the baseline. There will be a second game in similar matter but different genre to test if market performance and amount of downloads would be similar.

The third game (which is already released and gathering data) is a researched game, targeting specific audience, with graphics and icon appealing to this audience and with ASO optimized name and descriptions and appstore information localizations. But without marketing. Again to test if it would make any difference.

And about user retention on this game, yes I'm monitoring the data and here are retention by days:
Day, "Users", "Percentage of all"
1 ,"1,184","58.0%"
2 ,"463","22.7%"
3 - 4 ,"276","13.5%"
5 - 6 ,"59","2.9%"
7 - 9 ,"37","1.8%"
10 - 14 ,"16","0.8%"
15 - 19 ,"3","0.1%"
20+ ,"2","<0.1%"

Alan Barton
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Thanks for the figures. Its very disturbing Google & Amazon are so low. I would have expected Google to be easy top, with perhaps Amazon in 2nd place.

Also 1548+866+128+38+29+24+18+17+11+6+5+2+1+1 = 2694 total app downloads

So if 2694 app downloads was for a F2P game, with say 2% of apps paying $0.99, then that would earn only about ((2694/100)*2)*0.99 = $53.34 per month! and that assumes its possible to keep maintaining these kinds of download numbers.

It would be very interesting to see how this compared with an iPhone version release of the same app?

Arturs Sosins
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Well that is a very optimistic assumption.

1) generating such downloads monthly will be hard, because I assume, that most of it came from being showed on new app page, and after that visibility diminishes and is compeltely gone
But of course I can post another update after a month to compare stats

2) converting 2% users to paid is probably also too optimistic, but our game was not intented to have iap (also it could). Instead we showed interstitials on level lost screen and banner on menu screen, which altogether earned us around 11$ for that single month from this single app :)