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Radiangames' Mobile Sales Numbers
by Luke Schneider on 08/12/14 12:06:00 am   Expert Blogs   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.

 

Last month (July 2014), I gave a presentation at the 2014 Midwest Game Developer Summit about making monthly games for 4 platforms.  I'm not going to re-create that in written form, but I'll share the sales data that capped that presentation.

Note that this data only covers my self-published games through early July 2014 with data gathered through AppAnnie.  Super Crossfighter (released July 31) is not covered, nor is the original Super Crossfire, the iOS version of Bombcats, nor any version of Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville.

From March 2012 through now, I've released spurts of games for various mobile platforms, with 2014 being the first time I focused soley on my monthly games across iOS, Android, and WP8.  Unless otherwise noted, the games all sell for $1.99, with occasional 50% off sales, and more rare times where they are free on certain platforms.

On with the stats, starting with the sales chart for iOS:

iOS Sales

The release dates for each game, which each corresponds to a visible spike above:

  • Fireball SE - March 2012 (launch sale at $0.99)
  • Ballistic SE - April 2012
  • Inferno+ - May 2012 (launched at $2.99, lowered to $1.99 after a year)
  • Slydris - July 2012 (launched iPad-only, iPhone support added a couple weeks later)
  • CRUSH - June 2013 (launched at $0.99, raised to $1.99 many months later)
  • SideSwype - April 2014
  • JoyJoy - May 2014
  • Fluid SE - June 2014

The non-launch spikes are for sales (such as Jan. 2013) and other random stuff.

On to the Google Play stats:

Google sales

The release dates, which corresponds to a new surge of sales (usually):

  • Slydris - June 2013
  • CRUSH - June 2013
  • Fireball SE - June 2013
  • Bombcats SE - June 2013
  • Ballistic SE - July 2013
  • Inferno+ - July 2013
  • SideSwype - April 2014
  • JoyJoy - May 2014
  • Fluid SE - June 2014

As you can see, Google Play sales are less spiky, and they tend to feature games for longer periods of time.  The large, continuous sales spike in July 2013 is very unusual, as multiple games were featured by Google Play, and I had 6 games (5 ports) release within 6 weeks.

Getting Featured

In fact, Google Play featured 4 of 6 games released in 2013, but 0 in 2014.  Not entirely sure why, but not having Google Play Game Services might matter more in 2014.

In contrast, only 1 iOS release in 2012/2013 was featured on the Apple AppStore, but all my releases in 2014 (including Super Crossfire) have been on the New & Noteworthy list.

I feel very fortunate to have my games featured as often as they have, as it means thousands more in sales.  At the same time, getting an Apple Editor's Choice or top banner is worth far more than being in the middle or latter part of the New & Noteworthy list.

Amazon and WP8

Success for Radiangames on the Amazon and WP8 stores has been limited.  Getting featured on the WP8 store isn't worth much, though getting coverage on WPCentral.com is worth a couple hundred sales in my experience.  Amazon has featured multiple Radiangames titles as FAOTD (Free App of the Day), but it's not as valuable as you might expect.  You get ~100K downloads, but the bonus sales (for the featured game and other games) are worth less than $1K.  Inferno+ got featured quite prominently on the Amazon store for a week or so, and that made a significant impact.

Lifetime Sales

Combining the sales for all 4 platforms, here are the current (month-old) approximations of Radiangames mobile sales:

  • $24K - Inferno+ (twin-stick shooter/action-RPG-lite)
  • $17K - Slydris (block puzzler)
  • $12K - Ballistic SE (arcade twin-stick shooter)
  • $11K - JoyJoy (arcade twin-stick shooter)
  • $10K - Fireball SE (arcade dodger)
  • $10K - CRUSH (arcade block puzzler)
  • $6K - Fluid SE (arcade overhead racer)
  • $3K* - Bombcats SE (physics puzzler)
  • $3K - SideSwype (block puzzler)

*Does not include iOS sales

JoyJoy and Fluid SE will likely move up a spot or two in the next year.

Platform Comparison

Here's the breakdown by platform:

  • $54K - iOS (Inferno+ and Slydris are #1 and #2)
  • $41K - Google Play (Inferno+ and Fireball SE are #1 and #2)
  • $5K - Amazon (~50% for Inferno+)
  • $1K - WP8 (~50% for JoyJoy)

I haven't given up on Amazon and WP8 yet, but I can't strongly recommend releases on those platforms.  Google Play and iOS are the platforms that drive mobile sales.

And I'm not sure if this is a controversional statement, but I can't really recommend simultaneous releases from my experience.  iOS drives player and press awareness, and it might be better to delay Android/WP8 releases until the word gets out a bit more.  I'd be interested in hearing more insight from other developers regarding this aspect.  At the very least, I can say simultaneous releases don't have a significant positive impact.

Free w/ Ads vs. Paid vs. F2P

I don't have a whole lot of new insight here.  I think everyone has realized that F2P doesn't work for everything, and F2P games can bomb just as hard as paid games (if not harder).  I would like to try releasing a puzzle game as free with ads someday soon just to test how that market compares.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments (or via email).


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Comments


Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Your games used XNA? And moved to MonoGame? Did you move them to Unity I think? If to Unity, how much code change did you have to do? If Unity, did you use that XNA to Unity converter thing, which is basically XNA inside Unity. I believe there was a post at ModDB.com / engines / xna about it. I don't know anything about it, but I figured Unity updates too fast and if that converter never updates, MonoGame will quickly move past it.

Android/iOS compared to WP makes WP's user base seem so pathetic. At least in your stats. No games, no apps, no users apparently.

I also make a twin sticks "twisted" (aka sky camera view, but yaw rotation like a FPS'er) game, so, I like your numbers (: http://www.moddb.com/Games/MonstersofWar

And finally, moving to Steam or already there? You're able to buy a house on every platform you're on. Since your games are pay to play, Steam seems like the spot to setup your mansion.

Luke Schneider
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Curtis: I'm using Unity for my games, most of which originally used XNA. It's not an exact conversion, and I'm not reliant on any converter. Take a look at my XNA-to-Unity posts from a couple years ago for more details.

WP8 is pretty weak, particularly for paid games. Free games seem to be more comparable, as they are featured more prominently in the store. I'm hoping the Windows Store team will change things up, but as is, Inferno 2 will be my last WP8 game.

Steam: Not there currently. It's significantly more work to port to Steam (PC) than another mobile platform, or to Ouya/FireTV. I also don't want to go through Greenlight (if you do, you always have to for every game, from what I've heard), and Valve seems to have no idea how to handle high volumes of new releases in a reasonable way. Apple and Google both handle it better than Steam (Apple's curation focuses on new releases each week, while Google Play has the Top New Paid list, which should be more prominent). All the stores to some extent have a strong "rich get richer" setup, but Steam's current front page is by far the worst in that regard.

Also, PC players tend to look unfavorably on mobile-to-PC ports, even if the game is better on PC.

Barrie Tingle
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I have WP8 (switched from iOS) and the issue I have is that as a console gamer more than mobile, unless a game has Achievements that count towards my Xbox gamerscore it is rare I will pay for a game on WP8 unless it is a brand I know and will instead look at the free to play games.

I already played Bombcats on iOS so didn't buy it a 2nd time.

I may represent a fraction of the WP8 market who is a gamer more than a mobile phone gamer but just food for thought.

Wes Jurica
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Unfortunately Microsoft doesn't let indies use Xbox Live integration unless you sign a publishing deal with them or you sign with an already approved by Xbox publisher. MS are bunch of dumbasses in this regard.

Chris Hellerberg
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Hi Luke,

Nice job releasing all those games. You have a really good amount of data points for analysis, but please be careful about drawing conclusions from your data. Your sample size (9) is fairly small.

I quite enjoyed Red Faction II on my pc back in the day, by the way. :)

Cheers!

Johannes Lehmann
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I just looked at your Windows Phone games and noticed that none of them is offering a free trial. That can prevent quite a lot of customers from buying it, especially if the app has no reviews. I know it's an extra amount of work, but in my experience it is definitively worth the effort.

Kenneth Nussbaum
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Very encouraging. I love your style and presentation. The trick to successful paid mobile sales seems to be creating a style for yourself and then making iterations on similar concepts and releasing titles rapidly. I'd be interested in reading an article on your process if you have the time. Until then I'll be playing some of your titles. Best of luck.

Alejandro Rayon
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Hello Luke,

First of all, congratulations on your vision and your work!

I understand that the mere fact of be featured on the stores can be sufficient to cause a high-ratio of downloads, but if otherwise, have you tried to improve your product visibility using any App Store Optimization (ASO) tool or similar? It means, have you tried to improve the visibility of your non-featured games in any way?

I am a still-beginner developer starting to make my own games: www.arei.es. It is true that I'm still going through a learning phase and my games are still relatively underdeveloped. Anyways, these games are fully operational and free...However, my download rates are very low and falling. I already know that this is completely normal, but I would like to know if you have seen yourself in this situation, and your opinion about mobile app marketing and ASO on AppStore & Google Play.

My congratulations once again and thank you very much.

Alex,

Phil Maxey
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Interesting article, something I don't quite understand, and that's how did you get any sales whatsoever? :) I don't mean that from a quality of game point of view, the games look nice, I mean launching a paid action/arcade game in the iOS App store usually means zero downloads, so I'm curious what did you do to get downloads? did you leverage an already established network (your own fans through your website? previous games?) did you do advertising of some sort? (banners? paid installs?)


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