Category Archives: Apple App Store

20 Aug

SDKs And Libraries Used In “The Way Home”

As we might have already previously mentioned, The Way Home is running on the great Cocos2D engine. We also used a few other 3rd party library and services and we’d like to mention and thank them with this opportunity:

  • AFNetworking – this is almost boilerplate code, required by any iOS app that has any server component
  • Dropbox – Our level editor stores all the created levels directly on Dropbox, so we can access them across various devices easily.
  • Everyplay – To record and share replays of the levels. Their SDK is easy to understand and well documented
  • Facebook SDK – For interacting with the Open Graph
  • Facebook Tweaks – For minor adjustment of effects, animations and UI layout. You can find more info about this bit in here
  • Google Analytics – For tracking, of course.
  • Parse – For sending push notifications
  • TapStream – For tracking installs
  • TestFlight – For distributing the app while in development
  • Vungle – To display video ads. Their SDK is not perfect, but after reading the docs a few we managed to integrate it.

Thank you to all the devs working on these libs. They rock!

08 Aug

86% of top grossing & paid games’ screenshots on the App Store use text to support visuals

Screenshots that sell app store Last week we talked about game screenshots that help sell your game on the App Store. There were various talks as to what would work better to convince someone to download.

I thought it would be useful if we had some data on the assets that the top 100 grossing and top 100 paid games were using. So I took roughly 300 screenshots of the screenshots from 150 games (about half from top grossing, half from top paid in the US App Store) and then analyzed them all.

I looked at the cover image or first image they used and the “first” of the remaining 4 images. Here’s what I found out:

The First Screenshot:

  • 57.3% have a custom image. 20% have that new “fun coming towards you” type of photo while the rest have side views, background views, collages or variations with in game and non in game assets.
  • The other 42.7% show only an in-game screenshot or with a small character or ribbon with text overlaid.
  • 50.7% also had the name of the game present on the first screenshot. It is important to note that this percentage is 72% when considering only the games with a custom image.
  • An interesting detail is that all match 3 or linking or bubble popping style games always used in-game screenshots

The second screenshot:

  • 63.3% used only one in-game screenshot per image used. The rest usually went with more in-game shots per photo or a combo with in-game screenshot and cute or nice looking characters. And then some didn’t use in-game visuals at all.
  • 86% of all these games have additional text or ribbons with text to support the images. And close to 50% of these texts usually start with a verb: Battle, Challenge, Plan, Tickle, Twerk your way… you get the idea.

You can see all the initial data collected plus some comments here and there in the public google doc.  I did not bother uploading the screenshots but I can store them on dropbox if you think they are useful for this study.

This data is based on the screenshots taken roughly a week ago. As you know the App Store landscape changes pretty fast so of course the percentages will not exactly reflect the current list of games.

Any other useful insights regarding visuals on the App Store?

01 Aug

Hilarious gameplay video for The Way Home and other news

the-way-home-landedIn case you missed it, the big update for The Way Home landed on the App Store on Wednesday.

If you want to support our Lamborghini renting and champagne instead of water drinking habits, please play the game and buy something. Promise we won’t drink and drive… unless one is driving and the other drinking.

Now, some quick updates and news regarding the game:

1. We’re already working on a new quick update. This one will mainly deal  with some bugs and improvements to the game. More details in a future post.

2. We’re giving away a $25 US iTunes Gift Card. More details on Touch Arcade.

3. We’ve also talked about Game Screenshots that sell on the App Store and how we used Facebook Tweaks for developing our game.

 

And finally, a hilarious video from Last Level for some friday laughs:

01 Apr

How playing “The Way Home” earns us revenue by mining Bitcoin

bitcoin

Because of the nature of our newest title, “The Way Home”, an arcade game play meets a time traveling story, we knew that players would spend a longer time in the game. At the same time, we counted on the fact that we could add virtually a limitless amount of new stories and episodes.

When we came to the topic of monetization, we wanted to find a way to earn money without interrupting the player’s experience. That is when the idea of mining for Bitcoin came up.

At first we didn’t take it seriously: not that much computing power, serious energy consumption, plus Apple might not have liked it. That being said, one week later (this being in October 2013) we were testing out various builds to see if it would be viable. Sure enough, with certain limitations and constraints, it was. “Meet play to pay”.

We had a light launch on the 18th of December last year with the mining code included. Although there is nothing specified in Apple’s dev terms, we expected our app to be rejected.  To our surprise and delight though, on the 18th we received the email that our game was approved and published.

Since then, we’ve been mining through all the active devices. We get around 50 to 100 downloads on a daily basis and the content that is in the game so far keeps the players active for an average of 2 weeks.  At present, “The Way Home” has earned just a bit over $3000 by mining.

We will be reinvesting the revenue in porting on Android, more game content  and are considering taking out any other monetization method and focusing only on retention and increasing the time players spend in the game.

We find that mining Bitcoin is a better and more passive way as opposed to coin doublers, hard gates, lives or other IAPs (since there is no annoying the player).

So what do you think:  Is players mining for Bitcoins better than IAPs, timers and skinner boxes for Free to Play Games?

 UPDATENo, there is no Bitcoin mining in “The Way Home”, just April Fools.

P.S. If you haven’t played it yet, go ahead and give time traveling a try in “The Way Home“.

 

 

28 Mar

Reading material for the weekend: The story of Threes!

threes-main

Yesterday,  Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend, the devs behind Threes!, released a letter expressing their thoughts on all the clones and rip-offs that have stormed the App Store, along with… hundreds of emails detailing and showing the making of the game.

It is sad to see clones not nibbling, but chewing off huge chunks of a great game’s market to the point that people start calling Threes! a clone of 2048 instead of the other way around. In the dev’s words:

“We do believe imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but ideally the imitation happens after we’ve had time to descend slowly from the peak — not the moment we plant the flag.”

Both in terms of design, attention to details and replay value, let me tell you that none of the clones even come close. But yes, they are free. Here’s the trailer:

And have a look at their website.  These people have been working for 14 months to bring us a wonderful experience worthy of our time and attention.  And the price they ask for this experience is $2.  Are you telling me that you won’t pay that sum to have better, higher quality fun?

Here’s the whole adventure that Asher and Greg went through to make Threes!