Tag Archives: App Store

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?

29 Jul

Game Screenshots that sell on the Apple App Store

moWOW Screenshots that Sell

You’ve just uploaded the binary, created an awesome icon, added the description and then iTunes asks you for the screenshots.

Now, before talking about game screenshots that sell, let’s think from a user’s perspective what is the order of importance of those elements when it comes to discovering and choosing your game. This is more or less what happens:

  1. The user searches for something on the App Store (not a specific game name).  Usually from their mobile device.
  2. He/She look at the icons and focus on those that are good looking and high quality
  3. They eliminate those that usually have less than 4 stars. I would say 3, but would you be able to answer me if I asked what was your last 3 star game that you installed?
  4. At this point, they compare the first screenshot.  App information is now displayed in a card (icon, title, ratings/reviews, price and the first screenshot).
  5. They tap on those that seem at the same level. And they start reading the description, right? Well isn’t that cute… but it’s wrong! They go straight down to the screenshots.

So the order is in fact: icon -> rating -> screenshots -> (maybe) description. I say maybe because sometimes they get all their info from the reviews below the screenshots.

As Jen Gordon from Designboost wrote in a similar article:

“You tap into comparably priced and comparably reviewed apps to see which one looks the best”

Apps or games.

With screenshots being so important, we wanted to examine some tips and tricks for creating screenshots that will help sell your game.

The first screenshot 

In short, that baby needs to be so good players will be attracted to it like flies are attracted to lights.  That first image needs to convince them to tap on the game and find out more.

Splash image or in game visuals?  Depending on what your game is about, an in game screenshot might not do it justice, even with captions or text. That is why some games prefer to create an attractive wallpaper-ish image.

  Read More

26 Mar

2048: You’re cloning it wrong!


Flappy Bird isn’t the only title to get a clone fest on the App Store. Threes! has that going too. Of course it was only a matter of time before someone cloned it to offer a free version. In comes 1024. Then we got 2048, a web version. And now we have dozens of clones. There are devs out there actually cloning clones of the Threes game.

I understand it’s easy to clone, but I have to believe that people spending time to make a clone and promoting it are actually doing that to also make some money. That being said, just making an identical game and calling it different because you reskinned it won’t get you far. In fact, all you get is time wasted.

Do you want your clone to get seen and played and remembered? Then try and stand out. Try and be creative. Try and show us a side of this fun mechanic that we have not seen yet. Try and bring something hilarious (Like the Doge version of the game) to the table. Do all it takes so that your game be remembered.

When people playing Threes! or 2048 look at your game, they are either going to say clone or they are going to describe it as similar to.

Bring something new to the table. Try and aim for the latter. 

25 Mar

Apple launches the Indie Game Showcase

indie game showcase

Today Apple has launched a new section on the App Store dedicated to showcasing indie games. With this showcase however, we don’t have just another list.

Apple has chosen and will choose a developer (probably each week). It will showcase the dev’s latest hit game and also other games by that developer.

The last list is for us the most interesting one as it highlights that dev’s favourite games from other studios.

Simogo games

Another thing that we like is that  most of the indie games in this week’s showcase are paid games and higher than the $0.99 standard.

Apple decided to debut this showcase alongside Simogo with their latest game: Device 6. So head on to the App Store and see what this dev has recommended.

Good move Apple, but we want to see more.

21 Mar

Doing rampant sales might hurt your revenue in the long run

Huge Sale red hanging tags

A great deal of game developers on the App Store do frequent sales. They are scheduled sales. On any site that tracks app changes, you can see the price evolution. Price goes up to $3 in October, goes free just before winter holidays. Leave it like that for a week. Put the price back up to $0.99 or to the original price.

They don’t do it on a special day, special occasion or for a secondary/special reason. They just use the price drop to get promoted by sites that look for such deals.

Don’t get me wrong, sales are great, but not used properly and used too often, this tactic loses its power.

Players that get their games on Steam are already used to playing the waiting game. And they already have hundreds of games that they have not played yet.  They will tell you you’re a fool if you pay full price.

The difference though between Steam Store and the App Store is that the former knows how to organize and promote sales. Players know about the sales. It’s organized and promoted. So even though the games are discounted, they make more money because of the volume. Not the same for the App Store.

So what would be good reasons to have a sale? Here’s what we agree to being ok or at least a bit better:

  • Important update or important day. I’m not talking about having a sale because it’s Madonna’s birthday. By important day I mean the studio anniversary, a number of downloads or players mark reached, black Friday, etc.
  • Doing sales to promote another game launch. I’ve been seeing this more and more. A studio sets some of its games to free. In the description of the game and via in-game message, they promote their new launch.
  • Doing sales to drive action. This is not necessarily related to the price of the game itself, but to the price of an iAP. Some games / apps dropped the price of one or more iAPS if you completed certain tasks in the game. For example, for each 5 friends that you invited and actually joined the game, the price for Full Unlock decreased until it reached $0.99.

In the end though, no matter how big a sale you have, they will still compare the price to the value and experience that your game offers. If they don’t perceive it as a deal, they won’t buy even if it’s free.