May 28, 2013 Page 8 of 10
Funny thing is, we originally didn't have any intention of launching the game on the B&N NOOK. As it happens, we were showing the game to some folks at an Android Developer's Conference, and one of the B&N NOOK reps suggested we check out their device. We loaded up the APK then and there, and it worked like a charm. A few hours of setup later and we were pretty much ready to roll on their store -- which ended up being one of our most consistent revenue streams. Supporting Android uniquely enabled us to be able to take advantage of these types of opportunities, with relatively low overhead and potentially significant upside.
As another example, we were approached about releasing Bag It! on the Nabi Fuhu (a kid-centric Android tablet), which required some custom content (no external links, etc.) and support for the hardware. Given the uncertain return on investment, we were skeptical of investing the time and energy required. After discussing with them, we were able to arrange a device preload deal with our Lite SKU. If nothing else, this helped to build awareness of our game on the platform, and gave us some experience with preloads that we hope to leverage moving forward.
Overall, have you found Android dev to be worth the extra work?
Absolutely. For us, releasing on Android has been a critical aspect of our success. After some mild success on iOS at launch, we (like many others) soon experienced a pretty precipitous decline (with oscillations thereafter).
Meanwhile, our sales on Google Play exploded out of the gate (courtesy of a timely feature), and -- even after the feature ended -- each of our Android SKUs remained strong, consistent performers.
Beyond the revenue, we also continued to accumulate heaps of great customer reviews. This gave us confidence that the issues we were experiencing on iOS were primarily discoverability issues, as opposed to concerns about the overall quality of the product.
As such, we stuck with it, continued to actively support the game, and pursued other promotional opportunities -- eventually leading to a temporary free promotion (supported by Appoday) that netted us over three million new downloads. Were it not for our performance on Android, we may have shifted our focus to other projects earlier and missed out on our iOS opportunity.
It goes without saying, but discoverability is one of, if not the biggest risk for any mobile title. As such, the more effectively you can convert any press or word of mouth into an immediate, impulse download, the better chance you have for overall success.
Naturally, Unity certainly helped to make this easier for us than it would have been had we used a different engine. That said, once you figure out exactly what your min specs are, and get some experience with the idiosyncrasies of the OS, it's not that scary.
Are you looking into other mobile platforms?
We've explored options for both, but currently the time required to get the game ported over relative to the known ROI makes it a risky proposition. Instead, we have spent those resources focusing on our second and third projects. However, alternative platforms are definitely still on our radar! We are constantly looking at trends to see when we may justify a move to a new platform. Case in point, we're eager to see how the OUYA performs, and already have tentative plans to bring Bag It! (and future titles) to that platform as well.
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