The Business of Mobile - Make Money with Android, mobile advertising and App Store Optimization

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nintendo, The Missing Giant in the Mobile Games Scene

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Probably a new trend is about to start, and might change the mobile game space as we know it.

Going Mobile


One giant woke up a little late. Maybe they did wake up early, but decided that they aren't gonna get into the mobile gaming space.

Nintendo is probably the last big name missing in the mobile space. And as many must have predicted, sooner or later, they had to get into this space.

And now they are. The pressure must be really great, and let's face it, not keeping up with tech will surely be a tech company's demise.

Its not like we have a lack of Mario clones in the first place. There are better options sometimes out there, and updated to be great on mobile.

On that count too, any indie developers using their IP in the stores better get your acts clean. Who knows when they gonna start submitting DMCA take downs.

Late To The Party


The mobile gaming world is so far ahead, a new comer might not be able to rise to the top.

But let's not play out Nintendo at all. These guys been in the business long enough, and have great IP and moolah that they really will be making their presence felt.

It would really be awesome to see how they dethrone current leaders. (Big budgets surely).

Lots of lessons to learn from all this.

Setting A Moral Trend


Nintendo said they will be doing a free-to-start gaming style.

Now, this means that to further in the game, one has to make a purchase.

And Nintendo said that they don't quite like the free-to-play idea. Thus their IAP will have a limit.

I'm guessing this "moral", and not psychologically manipulating users to spend money, attitude might be the next on how mobile game companies be judged.

Nintendo is also looking at making only a handful of games, and continuing to improve those for the long term.  (Check out my previous post on the shift of the mobile apps game)

A great strategy we can implement in our ventures.

Interesting Times


While the initial gold rush of the mobile space might be over, or at least lessened down, its still full of great adventures ahead.

As the shift moves towards better quality against quantity, towards better user engagement, and more innovative money making ideas, the mobile gaming space really has matured.

Cheers!
Bill

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Game's Changed: Thriving & Surviving in the Mobile Stores!

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There was a time, not too long ago, where you could release a mobile app and get much downloads for it.

It didn't matter what that app was, or how good it was. You could always be sure to get downloads for it.

Those great old days..

Harder To Be Noticed


These days, its gotten tougher. Honestly, it not only affecting you, it also affected me and that other indie developer reading this post a few minutes ago.

You see, there is a shift. The game of app publishing has changed.

Some call it the death of reskinning. I don't totally agree on that though. Reskinning is very much alive, its just  mutated. And for the better.

There was a time, when the best way to build a great revenue stream being a mobile developer was by volume releasing apps on the store.

I've committed that sin too! (And a few others, but that's for another blog post!)

These days, this doesn't get you far. With a bazillion apps on the stores (thanks much to reskinning), it is not easy to pop up to the surface.

This is where the shift comes in.

The New Shift


Now a days, quality trumps quantity. Forget mass releasing apps, the boat for that had left the jetty.
Make fewer apps and games, and build on that. For the long term! Keywords : LONG TERM!

Even if you're reskinning apps and games, add quality to it. Add long life and VALUE to it. Make users want it for a longer while. This is where the shift of reskinning has headed.

You can make more money having one successful app than you can with many unsuccessful ones. I've been there, and I know this is true. Just too bad I did not take the opportunity to build on those successes. My lost!

Plus there are other benefits too, like less stress thinking how to spam the stores, less stress updating your apps to comply with store policy changes. And good karma and love of the human race!

Some say you end up in heaven too! Oh joy!

So, how's a new developer to proceed with this?

How To Grow Your Mobile Business


Well, if you're new, then by all means build your portfolio of apps. These will be your advertising vehicle for your major apps down the road. Use this portfolio to lead users to your big game changer.

But remember, you don't need to spam with reskins. Reskin smartly! You never know, even your reskins could be that hit app for you!

Happy Dev-ing!
Bill

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mobile Game Development: Make a Great First Impression

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An often missed point from many app store optimization topics is "great first impression".

First impression matters tremendously for any app, and more so for mobile games.

A first impression will hook a player longer. So make your first impression BIG!

Take a look at the intro of the first Half Life game. Or Elder's Scroll: Morrowind when you first step off the ship.

The impressions from these games are still fresh in my mind many years later. (OK. The Half Life one got annoying the 3rd time around).

When making your game levels, start off the game with one of your best aspects and effects shown.

Its often a habit to keep our best till further into the game, where we think that a gradual improvement will keep users wanting more.

While this may be true in some cases, it can also cause your users to forget about your game after the initial game play. 

Big impressive impressions, when it comes to mobile games, should also take place at the stores.

You want a potential user to be impressed when they first see your app's page.

Ensure your first 2 or 3 images are the ones with the biggest bang.

If you have a video, make that impressive (explosive!).

Avoid showing the title screen or the game menu as your first screenshot. I often see indies making these mistakes. It kills potential conversion.

So, go get this part of your ASO fixed and improve your downloads.

Cheers!
Bill

Monday, June 29, 2015

What mobile app or game to make next?

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A Million-Download App


I want to make another million download hit.

In fact, I want to make that every time I release an app.

But I know (and have faced) reality, and there are times I release simple, life-lacking mobile games. These are more for my satisfaction that I have completed another one.

Sometimes too, these come out of a challenge for myself.

I recently tried making a pinball game in Unity3D. It is published, with a modified and simplified gameplay. And it took just a day to do it. Ketchapp be the inspiration!

You never know when your release will be a hit , eh? Flappy bird probably best falls into this category.

The Secret to Mobile App Success

This really is a secret to mobile app success. Maybe not each and every app, but eventual apps.

So I sat down today, and tried to list out where I've been successful. I guess one of the mantras of successful people is, "do more of what works ".

My list went with the usual suspects. Golf games, soccer/football, pool/billiards, basketball games.

These are where I've found most of my hits. Games that hit a level that at least gave back a decent amount in revenue, especially beyond the first month.

While I continue to explore new fronts, aircraft dogfight and racing games, I know these are where I need to focus to continue a level of growth.

Its the same reason EA focuses on certain games year after year. Or why Rovio keep releasing more angry birds variants.

Once you find a formula that works for you, repeat it.

Of Angry Birds and Naughty Pigs


Do note though, that one person's formula will almost very likely not work for another.

So if you're thinking making "angry pigeons" is gonna make you a million download hit, you may want to think it again.

Create a portfolio of games, see where you get your hits from, expand on those.

Cross promotion comes in very handy in these cases too. A player playing a racing game is more likely to download another racing game.

And about the Translation


And speaking of downloads, my last post about the influence of translations on app downloads, well, it has continued to maintain its run. I added a few more missing translations, and it gave a slightly more upwards swing.

ASO - Download increase after app store description translations (click to enlarge)


Guess this time the translations came through.

Cheers!
Bill

Monday, June 22, 2015

App Store Optimization - How to get more downloads for your apps fast

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There are a million things to do to improve your app store optimization (ASO). And language or translation plays a really important in that strategy.

Updating an Ancient Dinosaur


I recently updated an ancient game of mine on Google Play. This game, a football juggling game, was my first game out on Android.

Yes, it is ancient, and the museums have contacted me numerous times to get it listed beside the Dinosaur gallery. And it goes to show how far things have progressed. (If you're curious, those are just panels bouncing up and down.)

The drop in downloads


When I did the update to the APK (I removed all ads from it), what I was worried was if my old self-translated texts actually complied with Google's policies.

So I thought to myself, that I might as well delete all the translations, and leave the default English in. After all, it was not really getting much downloads anyway (and no more profits directly from it as I've removed all the ads.).

But I did keep an eye on the downloads, and it showed that drop. Check out the graph. See where I published the update. Right at the drop.

ASO translation impact on downloads
ASO - Impact of removing and adding translation to app downloads

Translations matter for ASO


As far as app store optimization goes, translation of store listing descriptions and title plays a pretty big role.

So I added in some translations (37 initially), as I wasn't really sure if the effort to add all the translations in was going to be any useful. And when I checked the results, it looks like it was a worthwhile effort.

App translation got me about a 200% rise in downloads.

Roller coaster and making your own luck


Will it always work out? Honestly, NO. It won't. And of course this is a small game with a very small download count. So the boost looks more visible.

But here is the deal. Say you are showing up at the top of searches for "futbol". Do note that you will have great downloads, not only from Spain, you will also get it from other Spanish speaking countries. And it also helps when a Spanish guy is searching for it in US.

App releasing and optimizing is an on-going strategy. You will need to keep fine tuning till it gets right.

After all the hard work, you will find luck. (Yes yes! Luck comes after hard work!)

So if you haven't used translations to your advantage for your ASO strategy, take a while, and try it out. It would hopefully give you a boost as it did mine.

Cheers!
Bill