Prison Life RPG was first released on iOS on 26 Feb 2015, follow by GooglePlay Store on 1st April. Priced at $3.99 USD with no IAP.¬†
Prison in 1 sentence:¬†Play as any one of the 100 prisoners, survive harsh prison life and escape!¬†
About me: I am a full-time¬†indie game dev since 2008. For all games I¬†did everything myself except music. Prison Life RPG¬†is my biggest project(gamble) which¬†took over 1 year full time to make.
First day iOS sale: 416 copies. It was not featured anywhere on AppStore.
I was disappointed by the launch sale as we all know first day is usually the biggest sales day. I thought my 1 year+¬†of hard work was doomed and I had to look for jobs. 1 week after the game was released, a popular French Youtuber fantabobgames made a Let's Play series.¬†
FantaBobGames:¬†Let's Play Prison Life RPG youtube series in French¬†
I released the game on 1st April, 1 month after AppStore. I never expected GooglePlay sales to surpass AppStore within 1 month!
GooglePlay vs Apple AppStore
I was a big App Store supporter, and I thought GooglePlay Store is bad for Paid Apps. I was wrong!
User Review system: GooglePlay Wins!
GooglePlay Store: shows all reviews of all versions and countries, able to reply to each review and interact with angry customers. I believe the positive¬†user reviews really helped my game.
Apple AppStore: each new update reset to 0 ratings. No way to contact users. Life sucks if you(buyer) live in small country as you can't view user review of other countries.¬†
Purchase and Licensing: Apple AppStore Wins!¬†
GooglePlay Store: Everyday I recieved at least 10 angry emails/reviews due to GooglePlay problems such as¬†failed to download game, failed purchase, failed to download expansion file, failed licensing check etc¬†
Apple AppStore: Never have any problem.¬†
Updating Game: GooglePlay Wins!¬†
GooglePlay Store: Daily update? No problem!¬†
Apple AppStore: Wait 2 weeks for App Review,¬†and reset user ratings to 0.¬†
Top Charts and Game Discovery: GooglePlay Wins....?
GooglePlay Store: Top New Paid/Free chart is great for new apps(less than 30 days). I hope Prison Life RPG can maintain the sales after 30 days. But without App Review, indie devs have almost zero chance being featured on GooglePlay Store.
Apple AppStore: Even if you are being featured by Apple, it only lasts for 1 week. I hope Apple can add a 30 days Top New Paid/Free chart.¬†
Why GooglePlay out-sell AppStore:
The game benifits from Let's Player fans on both platform. On App Store, the effect stays in France. But on GooglePlay, thanks to the good review system¬†and 30 days New Top Charts, it has spreaded to other countries.
Releasing game for iOS is like lottery, and to invest 1 year into development is a huge gamble. I didn't won the top prize(Apple Feature), but I got the 2nd prize(fantabobgames). The money has covered my last year's expense. I will be improving further on the game before moving to the next.¬†
I consider Prison Life RPG as very successful on GooglePlay Store and above average on App Store. Yet I am still far from becoming a millionaire:( This shows a Top Paid mobile app is enough to support an indie dev, but probably not enough for a 3+ headcount mobile game studio.¬†
Thank you for reading, Lights out!¬†
Follow the Warden on twitter:¬†https://twitter.com/nobstudio¬†
UPDATE 1: as expected once the game is off Top New Paid after 30 days the sales dropped significantly.