A week has gone by since the launch of Brainsss. It’s been a wild ride as expected. We’ve had the highs of being featured by Apple and getting to 17th or so on the iPad charts to the lows of selling far below expectations. There was a night of scrambling when we found out some people bought the game when their device wasn’t supported. Then there were the positive reviews from customers who genuinely loved the game.
Rod and I have learned a lot in the past week. Its the culmination of two years of hard work.
We learned that chart boosting is rampant on the iTunes store. It’s something I had known about, but thought was a freak occurrence, especially since Apple supposedly cracked down on boosting. It’s something that consumers have no idea about, but when you’re a developer and your game releases, you’re looking at the charts on an hour to hour basis, everyday. You notice when an app jumps 100 places out of nowhere, and you see the hundreds of bogus 5 star reviews that comes along with boosting.
I also learned that Brainsss doesn’t draw the mainstream crowd, otherwise our sales would have been higher and we would have maintained our slot much longer. We received a lot of exposure from Apple’s feature and the reviews for Brainsss were generally, positive. Our style is very light-hearted and cute, which should appeal to the casuals, and other zombie games were charting high on the list. Pricing wise, we costed more than 99 cents, but quite a few other games like Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja were priced the same. There were even a number of games that costed more.
What I’m getting at is: what went wrong? I can only assume that the screenshots turned off a lot of consumers.
So what’s wrong with the screenshots? Besides not being flashy, I noticed that our game looks very 3D, even though the game actually plays very 2D. Just about all the other top 20 apps were 2D, unless it was a big franchise like Lego Harry Potter. So it’s only a hunch but I’m sticking with casual players are turned off by 3D as the reasoning for our market meltdown.
We found out that the iPad market is much, much smaller than the iPhone/iPod Touch market. I knew there were more handheld devices, but I just always assumed that iPad users would buy a lot more apps for their premium device.
We also learned that piracy was really low for some reason. It was about a 1 to 1 ratio, which is much lower than the 10 to 1 ratio for Tec-G.
Anyways that’s it for now. Time to figure out what to do next.