This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the App Store launch. It sounds, and feels like a lifetime ago. It’s sometimes hard to remember how “unconnected” our lives were before the iPhone, but I can say that prior to June of 2007 I absolutely hated every cell phone I owned. There was the Qualcomm clunker, the Motorola junker, the Samsung clamshell, etc. More often than not the phone was merely a device to slap the carrier’s label on to. People got a “verizon phone,” or an “at&t phone” if you lived in the U.S. We were, and still are, captives of the telcos, but that’s starting to change finally.
Like pay-to-play or in-app ads, prompting for a rating is controversial in that some developers frown upon it. Free apps tend to have an average 3 star rating. People rarely bother to go back to the App Store to rate an app. There’s always a small minority that will go out of their way to provide negative reviews. So why not solicit positive feedback by providing a reminder to rate the game? In my opinion, there’s nothing overtly annoying or obnoxious about presenting an alert view that can easily be dismissed.
We are sad to see that AGON Online is shutting down at the end of June. A couple of years ago when I was researching services for online leaderboards, I decided to use AGON for two of our holiday games. This was an easy choice on my part, because at the time Open Feint and Scoreloop were a little rough around the edges. Both have matured fantastically, of course, and with the advent of Game Center, the folks at Aptocore (makers of AGON Online) have felt the inevitable squeeze of the bigger competitors.
A while back I wrote about adding code to support multiple analytics packages inside your apps. While updating that code for a talk I gave at a recent iPhone developer meetup I published the code on Github, so now it’s a little easier to use. Just download the analytics libraries you want to use and add my wrapper classes to your application. It’s really that easy.
Full details on the new and improved MMTrackingController are on Github. Enjoy!
As every seasoned iPhone developer knows, the Christmas season is Big. Retailers, online and physical, make most of their annual revenue in the fourth quarter. It’s not quite that lopsided for iDevs, but the rewards can be great, both before and after Christmas. As everyone knows now, Apple shuts off access to the iTunes Connect portal from December 23rd to 28th, meaning you must get all updates and price changes in effect by the 22nd.
Four weeks have elapsed since we raised the price of reMovem and the skies have not fallen. Yes, the daily rankings have taken a hit, but the revenue is holding steady and has even grown a tad. Interestingly, I haven’t had a single comment about the price change, and the ratings are still a solid 4-½ stars. We don’t consider this an experiment, but will closely monitor the results over the next few weeks to help decide if/when to lower the price again. If you’re curious about the effects of such a change on a stable mature app, then read on.
I was going to write about how awful the current App Store review times are. I’d been waiting for an important update for 9 days, which seems about normal these days. I frankly expected it to take up to 14 days, which has unfortunately been more common lately. Then I got that happy email with those three magic words.
It’s widely assumed that lowering price can increase sales. In theory the lower the price, the larger the increase in sales. This can indeed offset the difference in price and possibly even increase bottom-line revenue. What happens when you raise the price instead?
As an indie developer it is sometimes easy to forget who I work for. I worked for many years as a salaried employee, usually for a large company, often with little contact with customers. In that environment compensation is more dependent on decisions made by others and corporate success as a whole. Now it’s a different story. My income comes from many sources. I get “paid” by Apple, Google, LinkShare, etc. But I don’t work for any of them. I work for myself, but more precisely, for the iPhone customers who use our software. If we don’t keep them happy we don’t eat.
This post could be subtitled “No good deed goes unpunished.” This is a story about how updating existing products can be a painful and frustrating process. Over the last 4 weeks I’ve updated 4 different apps and can share the common pitfalls encountered in the process. It turns out that some users can never be pleased, though the silent majority are just fine with incremental improvements.