When I start studying the appStore market there were a few nicely done games but most of them were awful. Back then, almost every game was able to get “featured” by Apple.Back then there were rumors of multi-thousand dollars checks to first time seen developers and there were blogs willing to analyze successful stories and begging* for reviews. App Store goldmine or slave market ?
Some hits I recall at the specific period (about 2008):
- Flight control.
- iSteam (app).
Many intermediate programmers earned thousands of dollars easily, developing b selection titles.
This was appStore’s greatest hook. The gold digging was about to start, turning developers to the Apple’s most profitable customers.
This platinum period did not last long. The obvious secret agreement of silence which Apple had made with the industry – that is to say THE known game publishers – ended and the indy developers start falling into chaos.
The featured slots were no more available for the individual developers. And if a slot opens from time to time, it is usually the definition of deception.
A success story of a small firm or indy (that is to say independent) developer gets known eventually and the poor devs re-hope that maybe – some day – they could actually make a super hit after all.
These questions crash an idiot dev like me:
- Are there actually any reasonable chances to get featured by Apple if your product deserves it and who judges it?
- If not, are there any chances to succeed without Apple`s blessings?
- Or finally, am I doomed to work with a publisher whether I like it or not?
If the appStore was built with some kind of justice it could be a win-win story.
There are dozens of ways to filter the apps and give to hard workers – like independent developers are – a chance to expose their games.
For example, instead wasting time censoring childish details, they could actually spend more time and have more employees (more relevant to games…) reviewing apps.
By whom are the games we send get reviewed?
Are they professional reviewers?
Are they gamers to the bone?
Do they have any gaming experience at all?
I am confident that they have no idea.
Apple could easily support either the education of these employees or the new employment of specialists. But this not Apple’s way. The beloved, innovative, promising, chance giving, high quality, different than the rest, Apple doesn’t give a dime about this.
They are ok squeezing the devs without giving anything back.
It gets 30% of their sales; $99 to $300 yearly from their registration, charge each one app the devs download (most of the apps I have downloaded myself – more than 500 – are for study) and the funniest thing:
Apple uses them as the best “word of mouth” vehicle.
When I create an app, I will share it with my friends on facebook and twitter, I will blog it, I will spend some money to promote it, I will call some journalists friends to drop me a line etc.
Guess who benefits in the long term about all this!
Is this a King’s (or to correct this, a tyrant’s) behavior to his slaves or what?
I said enough but I will come back to this.
Unless you have some thousand dollars to spend on marketing, don’t go alone in there. At least don’t put all your effort and time. Just experiment around. And experiment more.
Even so, you should always consider the factor “luck”. [ check this story of mine about "luck in the app store": Develop an almost successful iPhone game ]
But don’t expect that you will get featured by Apple just because you deserve it.
You will be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you make it in there somehow, there is a lot of cash waiting for you and the hope always dies last.
Until then, consider yourselves as slaves.
On the other hand, when your options are limited, playing slave for a purpose ain’t that bad. When you realize your position on the pyramid, you know what you’re dealing with and consciously becoming a part of it, the only way is up.
* Nowadays don’t you dare to send a game to these reviewers and expect to be noticed, unless some pro do this for you.
I don’t understand it. You are a huge blog, make good money from creative people and when you get bigger, instead of paying some more authors to support more reviews you pretentious claim that “it is not sure that we will review your game because we have many queries at the moment”.
Yes, but when EA or a large publisher pushes a game, you run as a perfectly trained dog after his bone!
And then “Angry Birds” arrives. Is it a phenomenon or a conspiracy?
To be continued…