In light of some of the recent high-profile complaints against both iPhone
markets I figure I should throw in my 2 cents with FRG's performance over the past 3 months. Prepare to be underwhelmed by the numbers!
As of today (11/21/2009) here are the download and sales figures for FRG:
Total downloads of FRG Lite: 9418
Total sales (minus refunds) of FRG Deluxe: 114
Conversion rate: 1.21%
FRG Deluxe is available for purchase at $3 - I make $2.10 per copy sold. Total sales is $239.40. This figure doesn't include State of Massachusetts sales tax collected which is negligible at this point.
If FRG were a PC shareware game back in the mid-late 90s I'd be thrilled to have a conversion rate above 1%. I'd appreciate it if others would be so kind as to chime in with conversion rates for their games.
Events on the horizon I see affecting my conversion rate:
- Ability to collect money via carrier billing
- Continual improvement of FRG (some form of networked play being the biggie)
- Google allowing more countries access to paid apps
Looking at the downloads of FRG Lite, I'd say I'm not doing a great job of promoting FRG in the first place. Regular updates of FRG, posting on forums and usegroups, being mentioned for ADC2, a $2/day adwords campaign, and a press release via http://www.gamespress.com
is all I've done so far. It's worth noting my daily website traffic at woogames.com has increased by a noticeable amount after submitting the press release.
Improvement in the marketing side would include:
- Submitting FRG for review at Android websites
- Paying for press release distribution although it's too soon to say if the free service at gamespress.com is useful or not. As an aside, search for Gameloft on gamespress.com - you will find a press release from Gameloft declaring their move into Android.
- Paying for advertisement at Android websites although I'm unsure about how many gamers actually go to Android websites for their Android gaming news
This ignores the fact that FRG is somewhat a niche game with a learning curve. Witness the latest 1 star rating on FRG Lite.
I believe selling apps for Android is very similar to the PC shareware market of the 90s. Much legwork must be done by the developer to get your product in people's hands. There are some good things specifically about Android though:
- Central place to sell applications (Android Market). My website sucks. I'm glad I don't have to worry so much about the quality of my website preventing people from purchasing product.
- For all intents and purposes, there's only a single place I have to go to update my application that will reach the majority of my users. I'm glad I don't have to code an update mechanism into FRG and I definitely don't miss the late nights of updating PAD file submissions.
There is actually one notable aspect missing regarding selling games for Android versus the PC - the lack of a strong shareware games publisher that is able to handle the marketing and distribution of your game. If I were writing a PC game, I would try to approach RealArcade, Popcap, Reflexive, and others to "publish" my game. A lone-wolf developer such as myself really can't afford to market a PC game these days - better to settle for a smaller piece of a bigger pie so-to-speak. This option isn't available for Android but I can imagine this is the direction things will go in as Android matures.
Maybe there's a benefit to forming a collective of sorts to do some of the things a traditional publisher would do. I could imagine benefit from an Android app that highlights games in a manner similar to the T-mobile AppsPack.
Enough of my waxing eloquent. Opinions and anecdotes appreciated.