Previously, I wrote about getting Epic Orchestra (my swipe-based rhythm game) featured on Apple TV (see here). In that post, I shared how I used the human approach to getting featured by making contacts at an Apple TV Tech Talk. In this post, I detail the launch and subsequent feature of Epic Orchestra's iOS port.
Despite the fact that EO had been featured on Apple TV, I was quite pessimistic about its chances of being featured on iOS. I drove myself mad with conspiracy theories as to why they were not going to feature it: my emails weren't received, they found a breaking bug, the port is shit!!!
On launch day, Thursday Oct. 26th, I refreshed the UK's App Store searching for the feature (their store updates before the US). There it was! The app icon was featured on the front page in "New Games We Love" PLUS a banner feature on the Games page! Relief and exhaustion ensued. I was thrilled they had selected my passion project!
When the US store updated, I found the app featured in the Games category, but not on the main page. I had inadvertently chosen a launch date the week the US features were entirely Halloween themed. No biggie, I couldn't complain. I emailed my Apple contact to thank them for their consideration and for being an advocate for the game. They wrote back congratulating me and saying the game would get better coverage in the US store after Halloween. The second week, the app did hit the front page of the US App Store and it received a banner feature in the Games > Music category which it still holds today (11 weeks and counting)! Update: Just this week, it landed in "Our Favorite Music Games" in the Games category.
Earlier I shared that the Apple TV version got around 15.4K downloads and earned $1k in its first 90 days. The iOS version was downloaded 419k times in 90 days. Monetization for the iOS version also included reward ads in addition to the IAP. Revenue for the first 5 months is 4.15k IAP + 2.53k ads = $6,680.
The In-App Purchase conversion rate for EO is around 0.58%. That means for every 200 downloads, 1 person purchases the "Unlock All Songs" In-App Purchase. The typical conversion rate for a mobile game is between 0.5%-2%.
Reasons for EO being on the low end of the conversion rate spectrum could be:
• The app gives a lot away for free
• Video Ads allow players to sample paid content at any time, free
• Downloads from the initial release feature bump were not from our niche, classical music retro rhythm game fans
Ways EO could increase the conversion rate:
• Remind players more visably that more songs are available
• Add more content and showcase the IAP's value
Waywardchicken asked on Reddit:
Great questions! The prompt for an opt-in reward ad shows after every level (2-4 minutes). If the player beat the level, the reward video will allow them to play a locked IAP song. If the player loses, the reward video will allow them to replay the previous stage with 30 seconds of invulnerability. I decided this frequency because it is the earliest place to show ads that wouldn't interrupt gameplay. The player's incentive to watch more ads is that they get to play more of the locked songs. A full screen prompt informing the benefits of watching ads might be a good and simple idea for improving conversion rate.
People seem to really enjoy the app! It has been getting great reviews including write-ups in PocketGamer, AppAdvice, Tap!, and Edamame Games. Here are a few of my favorites:
It worked! I made a game I wanted to play, got it featured on Apple TV, and piggybacked on its success to get featured on iOS. Although this particular project was never about the money, I did expect it to earn more given its visibility and popularity. I give a lot away for free in the game which yields a lower IAP conversion rate, but I think the game as a whole is better for it. You shouldn't be required to pay to enjoy a free game.
What I've learned is that getting featured isn't just about luck. Use every advantage you can find to get your app in the right hands. If that means going to WWDC and networking, do it! And remember, the App Store editors are people too.
• Making a mobile game takes way more time than other apps.
• Rhythm gamers like high difficulty.
• Getting featured by Apple won't make you rich. It could, but it won't. It helps to have a high average revenue per user.
• When choosing a game dev project, choose the one that express your unique vision. Games that only you could make.
Since I neglected an entire catalog of apps while making Epic Orchestra, my first work task after taking some time off is to update those suckers. After that I'm hoping to have a big update for Epic Orchestra some time in 2017, adding a new maestro plus 5 new songs. For Halloween and Christmas, I'll be including some seasonal featured content. Then… more games! I've learned a lot in making Epic Orchestra and I'm ready to start applying that to making my next project—a procedurally generated retro rhythm game featuring 100 playable characters. Follow @MobyPixel for updates on the project and yeah, thanks for reading!