So – Frutorious has now been out on the AppStore for a month. The question is, how is it doing? How close are we to getting that campervan?
The answer is – sadly, not many people have noticed it. Here’s a graph of our downloads since launch…
The first few days were great – our pre-launch advertising definitely seemed to have worked. Our first full day on the AppStore saw us shift 262 copies of the game, then slowly, the numbers started to exponentially plummet. We are now getting under 10 downloads a day. At the moment of writing this, we have had 1021 customers download Frutorious.
Not an awful lot of downloads for a free game, especially one that’s good!
In-App purchases have seen 17 people purchase the Frutorious Key (which unlocks all the levels and Frutorious Pro on Freeplay). The second biggest source of IAP revenue has come from buying the coin packs – we have had 8 people download our coin packs.
What you’ll no doubt be noticing is that these aren’t massive numbers. Not very big at all. We put our target for the games revenue to be roughly the same as a campervan. Having earned $37.29 in a month, we can say that if this trend continues, we’ll meet our target in 16 years.
To us it seems odd that a game that has had almost exclusively five star reviews and a good reception in the games community can shift so few units, but it’s a tough market out there.
Here’s some possible mistakes we’ve made…
We’ve spent nothing on advertising. Possibly naively, we assumed that with the ‘Making Of’ video, lampooning the making of genre, would get us some interest and win over hearts and minds. We assumed that sending press releases out and offering exclusives to online magazines would garner some interest, but so far it has largely been ignored. We have had only one review online, which was positively glowing - but we can’t for the life of us work out why no-where else has looked at it!
We’ve turned down offers of business development from industry bods. Suggestions of setting up Kickstarters and that. It’s worth noting that the whole point of us making this game for ourselves was to avoid all contact with ‘The Man’. As we’ve previously discussed, we’ve found that there’s plenty of people willing to proclaim they know how to make your iPhone game sell. They probably went on a seminar about it. Perhaps we should have entered into that world a little more – instead of thinking if a game is good enough people will eventually hear about it?
We made Frutorious free on launch. Has this depreciated the perceived quality of the product? We often think about the fate that befell Llamasoft’s seminal shooter ‘Space Giraffe’ – released at a mere 400MS points and reportedly not coming up to financial expectations, would it have done better at a higher price?
So what are our plans? How are we going to try and reverse this trend of unimpressive download figures?
Well, we’ve an update currently under way. It contains a few minor bug fixes (we shipped pretty clean), 36 new levels, a whole new world with different enemies and audio, social features (such as tweeting your Frutorious Pro high score) and a new icon (which we hope will make the App more eye-catching). There’s an exciting new gameplay ‘toy’ in the update which will bring an element of bizarre physics wonderfulness familiar to fans of ‘Portal’ which we know will delight fans of our game and gaming in general. More on that later though.
We’re being very active on social media. We can attest to the idea that it’s more important to be interested than to be interesting. By interacting more with fellow developers and our players we’ve got much support both moral and creatively. We have listened to all the feedback we’ve had for improvement ideas and will be implementing so many of them in the update, it is bound to have a positive effect on the game.
Controversially (to some), we’re also making Frutorious cost 69p/99c now. We have decided that our initial idea of launching Free to Play would only have been profitable if we had a very large player base. Lack of visibility of our product means that that ain’t happening in a hurry.
Luckily, plenty of people who’ve downloaded the game have told us they would have been happy to pay for it. People cite the quality of the art and sound, depth and challenge of game play and massive overall charm as reasons why Frutorious was ‘too good to be free‘. Making it ‘paid’ also means that we can reduce the price at a later date, hopefully taking advantage of websites who track price reductions in apps.
So on the whole then, not too bad, not too good. We’ve definitely succeeded in making a good game that people like. That was what we thought the hard part was. The rest seems like it could be a slow war of attrition – especially when the AppStore is currently promoting plucky young underdogs such as these in their New Games section …
We were recently quoted in an article over at NotEnoughShaders.com where our CEO said…
the incentive to do iOS is ease of access to the market, but the drawback is visibility. We would like to see Nintendo’s digital distribution focus on quality-based visibility metric instead of quantity.
With Frutorious, we nailed the quality (as far as a 2 man team can do!) we just need the visibility now. Let’s see what happens in the coming months – and as always, we’ll be sure to keep you guys in the picture!
If you haven’t downloaded and played Frutorious already, here’s the AppStore link http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/frutorious/id524952395?mt=8
We’re happy being the quirky AppStore cult hit that no one has heard of, but we’re still holding out the hope that the campervan might come sooner than in 16 years time…
UPDATE! You can help us out by voting for us to be shortlisted for a TIGA award! Read all about it here. We’re in the ‘Casual’ and ‘Audio Design’ category