I've been working for couple on couple of game dev projects as well as doing client work in the same field and my part was usualy game design and development, I never bothered with marketing or bussiness logic.
And the truth is, that nowadays marketing is the hardest part of making a mobile game. But as not having much experience in it, I wanted to know, how bad is it really is? How hard it is to get organic visibility to your app.
So I created a small and simple game with free assets graphics and launched it on most popular android markets without any marketing and promotions apart from simply submitting the game.
And after about 30 days, I started collecting the downloads data (more info here). And the results were, well not so shocking, but still kind of sad.
So if you launch a free game without any marketing on app stores, you can expect these results:
I remember about 3 years ago (maybe a little more) when launching our first studio game, we got around five thousand downloads on Google Play alone, in less than a week, with minimal marketing efforts (basically publishing to facebook and twitter accounts and having a link on our unpopular website).
Now combining all the markets download data from 30 days together, you won't reach that number. That's how bad it is.
Curently SlideMe does the great job with it's new app category on the main page and tweeting and posting to facebook every new app.
GetJar also provides comparably decent download amount, through their discovery engine.
Vodafone provides some emerging markets as Kenya and South Africa, that for now seems to run ok, but how monetizable are they?
Other stats, well, you see.
So next time you publish your app/game, don't expect great results without marketing effort and prepare to talk and collaborate with stores, to get featured or any possible additiobal visibility.
More information on the experiment, read on Water Bread Internet blog.