Author Topic: Starlink - The First Month  (Read 8929 times)

ArenMook

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Starlink - The First Month
« on: May 11, 2013, 12:16:01 AM »
Starlink was, and still is an experiment. I started it off as a premium game, then added a free version alongside, then converted to a freemium app where the full version is unlocked via IAP. Two days ago the sales were $474 on Android, $329 on iOS, $141 on Desura, $54 on Amazon, and $45 via PayPal. In total that's $1043. This means:

45.4% - Google Play
31.5% - iOS
13.5% - Desura
5.2% - Amazon
4.3% - PayPal

Some notes:
  • iOS version launched later than others, but it also had a much quicker falloff -- likely due to visibility of the app dropping off shortly after launch (within 48 hours).
  • Android version was pirated on the first day, and majority of the traffic was coming from pirate sites.
  • Piracy had a very positive effect on the Android version of the game, directly leading to exposure and sales.
  • Day-to-day sales remain mostly constant on Google Play, unlike iOS. Even though it's been out over a month now.
  • Free+Premium combo netted the same sales as the freemium version with IAP unlocks.
  • Many people (~17%) were abusing Google Play's 15 minute cancellation policy by buying the full game, then canceling the order. Since the APK is not deleted after a cancellation, this netted them a free game every time they did that. Pirates were doing the same thing btw.
  • IAP-based version is superior here because of the cancellation policy, as if the customer cancels the order, IAP-based unlock is automatically removed, so they lose their full game access.
  • After the freemium version went live, cancellations disappeared altogether.
  • Just for fun, I added a 2nd unlock to the game: +2 Ability points priced at $3 (the game costs $2 on mobiles!). It was a minor thing, added as a "just in case you want it", and again meant as an experiment. To put it in context, max points for abilities is 12 without it, 14 with it -- so it's not that big of a deal. In addition, this unlock is not even offered to the player until the player obtains both the first IAP (full game unlock), and a mid-level. Net result? 7 people bought that unlock so far.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 12:31:18 AM by ArenMook »

helioxfilm

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 07:19:56 AM »
Do you use any analytics services in the game? If yes, which?

ArenMook

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 12:45:02 PM »
appfigures.com -- it's powerful, but not fully reliable as it relies on Google's reports rather than actual sales, and google's reports can be innacurate and/or flat out missing. For example I'm missing sale figures for the 10th of this month.

Trithilon

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 02:35:25 PM »
Quick question...
Did you do any PR or promotion? Or was this a purely organic release with the sales bound to luck.
If yes... it would be nice if you could share some insights. :)

ArenMook

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 03:13:01 PM »
No PR at all. It was all organic in nature.

Majicpanda

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 03:24:08 PM »
Your reputation and traffic you've built up having this site have done you extreme wonders though.  Most of us would not have as good an entry point as you starting from complete scratch.

I'm quite surprised at your Android sales.  Do you think it really was due to piracy being free advertising or that it's actually a lot harder to find good Android games?

Do you happen to have a brief example on how you did IAP to unlock you Freemium version? We were thinking about doing the same, but wouldn't that be a PlayerPref stored variable or something simple that is flagged and then you have a global variable simply forking code within your game to determine access?

ArenMook

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 08:21:53 PM »
I'm not a good person to ask for advice regarding this stuff, as I myself am a newbie with the monetization and the mobile market. There are plenty of much more experienced devs than I that frequent these forums.

In regards to IAP, I do indeed use PlayerPrefs, but the value in player prefs is updated every time the application starts by checking with the IAP interface. If the transaction is found, that feature is unlocked by setting the player prefs value. If the transaction was canceled, same thing -- player prefs value gets updated. The rest of the game relies on the class that uses playerprefs for its data, so this approach works for both IAP-enabled games as well as not. I have no idea if it's the best approach, but it's just something I've come up with after some playing around.

One thing I have to say though, Google Play is a much more pleasant platform to work with compared to others. Updates are easy, only take a few hours at most, not days like in Amazon's or weeks like in iOS's case. Google Play also gives a lot of useful statistics, and lets you see exactly who bought the game, so when someone contacts you for support, you can easily verify if they are legit.

In regards to my reputation -- while I am indeed fairly well known in the Unity dev community, I am a nobody in the game dev world. Typical players have no idea what Tasharen Entertainment is, or NGUI, and certainly don't know "ArenMook"... so I think I am pretty much in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to releasing games.

Nicki

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 01:11:38 PM »
Don't use playerprefs. That's essentially raw text on the saved data and for jailbroken devices there are straight-up text editors for them.

As for marketing, if you don't have lots and lots of moneys to use, then do something as simple as post it to reddit on the relevant subreddits and do preview posts on toucharcade and hope that you can generate some interest there.

FussenKuh

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 01:58:52 PM »
Just pulled up the Amazon App store to check out the Free App of the Day to find that it was none other than Starlink!

I've been considering submitting my game to the Amazon App store. Now that you have a few more months of data under your belt, do you have any more desires to share it with us interested folks?  In particular, I'd be curious to know if your Amazon profits have picked up any... if nothing else, being the FAOTD today, I'm guessing you're getting a huge spike in full game downloads.

ArenMook

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 06:32:27 PM »
Huge spike -- most certainly, but not in profit of course (since the app is free). Google Play and iOS both are averaging around $6 a day now, so nothing worth mentioning. I will post more details on the Amazon App feature effect after it's over and I've had a week or so to see the effect. I expect it to have little effect to be honest. It seems a lot of people found it difficult to understand how to play it despite the tutorial -- but that too is expected. Strategy genres attract thinkers, while free app promotions attract crowds. As such, naturally grown traffic for such games is always going to result in much higher ratings and retention from people that actively look for such games rather than those who have such games thrust upon them. :)

ArenMook

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Re: Starlink - The First Month
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 10:19:27 PM »
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 11:23:06 PM by ArenMook »