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Indie Success (Discussion)

billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
Flappy Bird, 2048, Don't Step on the White Tiles and most recently, 100 balls...

While we think the app business is more and more difficult for indies, over the last few months we also saw one after one seemingly indie wonder surging to the top in the App Store chart. Frankly those apps did not look sexy at first glance and while the game may be fun, I am sure there are other games which are better than them buried somewhere in the App Store.

I just can't figure out their winning formula? Don't think the developer has a multi-million budget. So did they come up with some magic marketing? or some dark arts behind? or it's just pure a smile from lady luck?

Just want to see what everyone thinks here.
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Replies

  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 823Registered Users @ @ @
    I think social media had a very strong play in all of these especially flappy.
  • maccyfinmaccyfin Posts: 315Registered Users @ @
    Social media, but another guess is using bots to generate the downloads. we're experimenting more with social media marketing now. but tracking where the download came from is a little tricky
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  • billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
    social media - you mean facebook ad or similar thing? It'd take lots of $$ to achieve such download number!
  • RudyRudy Ottawa, CanadaPosts: 1,787Registered Users @ @ @ @
    maccyfin wrote: »
    Social media, but another guess is using bots to generate the downloads. we're experimenting more with social media marketing now. but tracking where the download came from is a little tricky

    Sadly I think you're right
  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
    Flappy birds success started as a joke. Someone found the app, saw how ridiculous it was to play and posted a funny review. Then 4Chan or some other deviant message board picked it up and began to try "outdoing" each other with the most outrageous review they could write.

    The game started rising up the charts getting more visibility and "regular" people started playing it. While the game was certainly never meant to be a success, it had some addictive quality to it that made it the phenomenon it has become. It was 100% luck, coupled with a virality that was not designed but completely organic.

    One thing I've noticed about these recent successes, they are extremely simple games. Its pretty much a "one tap" game play experience. You tap, something reacts, repeat. And when you think about it, people are playing these games on the car ride to school, during their bathroom breaks at work etc. they don;t want to think or have involved gameplay. Its something quick and simple to pass the time...I know what my next app is going to be...
  • billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
    Don't get me wrong - I am not trying to discredit those games. I agree with @mediaspree last paragraph that the simple (but not sexy) game play can actually attract lots of people especially for those who just want something to burn a minute or two. After all the judgement on a product always lies with customers and so as soon as a game can bring fun to people, it does not matter whether it was built in a day by a novice programmer or by Blizzard.

    If it's all down to luck, then it's actually a good news to indie because it levels the playing field. We can just pump out simple apps in a day or two constantly and hope to win the jackpot - it's just like buying a lottery ticket. Having said that, for me this "luck" just seemed to happen too frequently. Flappy Bird took off in end 2013 and since then, we saw similar "lucky" apps popping up each month. Can anyone think of any such "lucky" app appear before Flappy Bird?

    If it's really down to bots, then all we need to do is to stop developing app and instead go to develop bots. This is really sad - but is there any clear evidence that they are really from bots?
  • RudyRudy Ottawa, CanadaPosts: 1,787Registered Users @ @ @ @
    billyk wrote: »
    but is there any clear evidence that they are really from bots?
    The only realy evidence is that the games really came out of nowhere. Usually you'll somewhat be able to trace back the beginning of the download wave (example a popular website does a review or something) but these new "lucky" apps are coming out of left field with almost no information about them online
  • maccyfinmaccyfin Posts: 315Registered Users @ @
    Its strange though because we had a game with flappy in the keywords which did no where near as good as the other clones which rocketed up to the top.
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  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
  • billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
    @mediaspree‌ yeah the article is interesting. The guy said he spent "about $10,000 and a few weeks’ time" to develop "Make it rain". Yet the most interesting point is he spent " $1,000 worth of Facebook ads got about 3,000 installs" and since then he spent nothing on promotion.

    I don't think 3,000 installs can get it high up the chart to drive sustainable organic install. Yet at least the game looks very appealing and indeed looking at its ranking history in appannie, it's climbing up the chart gradually (with occasional peaks and troughs). So probably it's a very good game and people just share it with friends.

    If no foul play is in place, it's a very encouraging case: With a reasonable budget and a good game, indie can still stand a chance.
  • KarlJayKarlJay Posts: 437Registered Users @ @
    Wasn't flappy reviewed by some blogger just before it went viral? Flappy also got media attention when he announced he would take it down. It's interesting that he announced he was going to take it down instead of just taking it down.

    The real question is CAN bots be used without being detected?

    luck is always a factor, so is cheating. It's also an issue of getting high enough to get noticed. If you double your initial bounce, you more than double the chance of going viral. Every person that downloads your app is another chance of someone posting/texting/etc... about it.

    As for the keyword search... flappy had it's day, it's day is mostly gone, the search is diluted quickly because of a flood of reskins/keyword chasers.
  • billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
    Just had a look at US Top 5 Free Apps - 4 of them are those simple "tap" games....

    Time to fire up Xcode and create a project called TapToRich.... :))
  • BulkheadBulkhead MassPosts: 12New Users *
    I've been watching the store pretty closely since the whole Flappy Bird thing. There's been a lot of extremely simple games rising to the top, it sure seems like something fishy is going on.

    How could bots be used to generate downloads? Wouldn't someone who say wanted to push installs with a bot still need a ton of physical devices since once you download on a device, it's "in your cloud"? (and i assume doesn't count as a download again on the same device if deleted)
  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
    What surprised me about the 'Make it Rain' article was that the developers claimed to already be making 10k PER DAY off "Disco Bees". Never heard of Disco Bees, and it seems to be a candy crush/bejeweled/match 3 clone. Needless to say I am happy for them and inspired by their success...but it frustrates me that I haven't yet been able to "crack the code" to app store riches :)
  • raymngraymng Posts: 2,046Registered Users @ @ @ @
    It is really strange that those simple games suddenly climb up to the chart altogether.. what is the secret?
  • RudyRudy Ottawa, CanadaPosts: 1,787Registered Users @ @ @ @
    raymng wrote: »
    It is really strange that those simple games suddenly climb up to the chart altogether.. what is the secret?
    If you figure it out let me know ;)
  • billykbillyk Posts: 103New Users @ @
    @mediaspree‌ I did have some memory of Disco Bees - I think it was "lucky" enough to be featured in Apple's Editor Choice before.
  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
    billyk wrote: »
    @mediaspree‌ I did have some memory of Disco Bees - I think it was "lucky" enough to be featured in Apple's Editor Choice before.

    After some more research (and it being right there in the article) apparently the company behind Disco Bees and Make It Rain is partnered with the guitarist of a relatively famous band ( though I could not name one of their songs) While these apps are still "Indie" they have some serious financial backing behind them....for whatever that is worth to the discussion..
  • felipewatanabefelipewatanabe São Paulo / BrazilPosts: 152Registered Users @ @
    It's fun to see these smaller games climbing the rankings lately. Personally, I was tired of seeing the same big guys up there. Can't say I understand why all of them do so great, but at least it shows that the App Store can be more dynamic sometimes and give chance to more developers despite the huge marketing investments many companies are doing nowadays..
    Head of Marketing at Tapps Games
  • marktwomarktwo Posts: 57New Users @
    Flappy Bird had thousands of fake generated reviews. That's what I remembered when I looked at it for the first time. Whoever says their success was genuine, is full of it.
  • raymngraymng Posts: 2,046Registered Users @ @ @ @
    marktwo wrote: »
    Flappy Bird had thousands of fake generated reviews. That's what I remembered when I looked at it for the first time. Whoever says their success was genuine, is full of it.

    How to generate so many fake reviews? I think they are posted by real users... but motivated by illegal methods maybe..
  • EnaxaEnaxa Posts: 21New Users @
    edited June 2014
    As a indie game developer, I'm pushing facebook ads very hard. Spent over $1.000 in 4 days to app install ads ( which are basicly CPC, there is no actual CPI on facebook ads ).

    Promoting the game in New Zealand, Japan, Turkey, Netherlands and Australia they all have appox. %1.5-2 click rate and my CPC is avg. of $0.38. In return i got only 18 downloads which is terrible.

    My main problem is that Mind Mould 2 is a $0.99 game. I stopped facebook ads now, and I dont know where to spend any more money to make my game seen by players.
    Post edited by Enaxa on
  • iosandwiniosandwin MumbaiPosts: 374New Users @ @
    edited June 2014
    @Enaxa did you select relevant interests in which to put the ads like iOS gaming eg. I usually get good downloads with fb ads I'm running a campaign with $20 I got abt 7 downloads with half of the money spent till now for a $0.99 app. Earlier I used to make much more profitable campaigns with not only getting much more revenue than money spent but also my other paid apps being picked up bcoz of the ads. but these days the effects are lesser. I've never tried for games though
  • iosandwiniosandwin MumbaiPosts: 374New Users @ @
    edited June 2014
    The trick is that worked for me, select good interests relevant to your app n set the setting to automatically optimize cpc for better results. So my cpc ranges from $0.50-.70
  • EnaxaEnaxa Posts: 21New Users @
    @iosandwin, I guess i did, my game is a puzzle game which is combining tetris and tangram gameplays. My selected interests was; tetris, tangram, puzzle, sudoku, crosswords.
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