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Adventures in Alternative App Markets Part 2

This is a continuation of a previous post which can be found here,

With Sudoku In Space we tried out many new things. Among them were multiple language support, a bit of paid advertisements, and distribution among various markets. Multiple language support was quite painful, but I think for Spanish it was well worth it as we have had some fair success in Spanish speaking countries. I’m not sure if our popularity in those countries is natural or more due to running a Chartboost campaign in those countries and they have a very low Cost Per Install. Japanese and Korean were not so much worth it. We’ve found that it is really difficult to break into those markets and I don’t really think that Sudoku In Space is appealing to that demographic.

Our adventures in distribution turned out to be a mixed bag of results. For the most part the stores were pretty easy to publish on. There were a few exceptions which I mention in the previous post. In short, most were not worth the effort even as minimal as it was. The only one that stands out is SlideME. SlideME is one of the most popular markets we published on and they even gave us a featured spot which boosted our downloads quite a bit. Being featured by them is apparently pretty common, which is awesome because it gives many developers a fair chance at exposure. I’d highly suggest that an Android app is also published on this store. The effort was minimal and the return was pretty good.

On to the numbers!
I wanted to compare our results with those of Arturs Sosins¬†as best as possible. I’m not sure if he was featured on SlideME so our numbers may be skewed in that way, but overall his app did much better than ours. It could be that it is more accessible as it is a casual game and not a puzzle game. Another major challenge was that AGK only supports IAP via the Google Play store. So we opted to publish 2 versions of the app on each store that blocked Google Play IAP. This was very painful and has led to 0 sales this way other that on Amazon. I have since tried to convince the developers of AGK to include OpenIAB support for Android which would give access to just about any IAP store. The numbers below are for the free version of the app only.

Markets Month 1 Month 2 Increase 0% total xGP
SlideMe 377 152 (225) (60)% 529 48.09
GetJar 0 1 1 1 1 0.09
Google Play 75 46 (29) (39)% 121 11.00
Opera 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Socio FREE 4 7 3 1 11 1.00
Amazon FREE 0 7 7 7 7 0.64
Aptoide FREE 3 4 1 0 7 0.64
Mobogenie 1 0 (1) (100)% 1 0.09

As you can see, SlideME was by far the top market. Note that none of these markets had any paid advertising until after these dates. I’d also like to mention that these numbers are from Chartboost’s recorded installs of our games and not from the sites themselves. Very early on we noticed a huge discrepancy between what the sites were reporting as downloads and what actually turned into installs. All of these markets were subject to this issue and I can only explain it as: There are bots clicking the download links. These markets have limited device ID tracking and don’t seem to do a post install check, but only a link click. The other possibility is that users are downloading but not installing or cancelling. This seems pretty odd, especially for a game that was under 15MB at the time. There also could be things like download corruption and device compatibility issues. Ultimately we have no way of knowing, but we do know that what these store report is completely erroneous.

You may notice that this list is extremely trimmed from the previous blog post. So many markets were huge duds. They were riddled with download issues, only allowed payments via wire, were unresponsive to questions, etc, etc, I should also note that with Aptiode they offered us some free marketing credits, which was nice. Unfortunately, it turned out to equal about $1 per install and that was the only time we had installs through them. So if you’re interested in pay about $1 CPI for non-guaranteed installs, that’s the place for you…

Since this time we’ve done our first paid marketing campaigns with Chartboost. They all turned out just fine. We bid for $0.50 per install and that’s what we paid. Most of the installs went to Spanish speaking countries because the bids there were lower on average, but if we wanted to wait we could likely have shut that off to focus more installs on the US / English speaking countries. Since the game is fully translated to Spanish, we didn’t worry about this. We’ve had a lot of good reviews for the game and will still continue to work on making it visible, as that is the main problem (so many Sudoku games).

Sudoku In Space has just recently received coverage from NewsWatchTV.com. You can view their video review of the game here:

Also we’re excited to announce that Sudoku In Space is one of Android Headline’s top ten Sudoku games! Pretty sweet. I’m glad Allen is getting some attention and I hope this helps introduce Sudoku to many new people who wouldn’t have tried the traditional grid and numbers style. The full article on that can be found here.

Soon I’ll be talking about our next game, Gravitone. It is an arcade style game where you collect orbs by pushing them into their respective vortexes all the while the vortexes are shrinking and the dots are fighting against being put in their place. The whole game reacts to music and has some really interesting graphics. It is our first game with Unity and I’m having a great time using their tools. We’ll finally have a game with all of the features we want like Facebook, Google Play, and Game Circle leaderboards and achievements, IAP in all of the markets with OpenIAB. We’ll be able to share screenshots for bragging and all sorts of things we could never have done with AGK (without spending months extending its functionality and learning C++). We also hope to be able to publish this game as an online Facebook game. It should also be available via the web and if I can figure it out we can do Linux as well as Mac and PC, and maybe even Windows Phone 8. Stay tuned for more info on that.


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