365 Days Later: What we learned in our first year

A year ago today, ‘Table Tennis Touch’ was released on the App Store so we went to the pub with Wiff Waff and took this photo. It was our first attempt at making a game and somehow it went to the top of the charts around the world. Did we mention we unseated Minecraft? Good times. In the last year, we’ve all learnt a bit about app stores and selling games. If we could go back in time and give ourselves some advice, this is probably what we’d say:

1. Tell people that you’re making a game

There’s not really any reason to be secretive about your game. Don’t be scared of social media. Take your game to game shows whilst you’re making it. It’s not as scary as you think and it’s actually very satisfying and informative to see a stranger playing your game. We didn’t do any of that which made our release even riskier than it needed to be!

2. Mobile games are launched on Wednesday nights

All the major app stores (App Store, Play Store, Amazon App Store) refresh their editorial pages at some point on a Thursday so new releases generally come out on midnight on Wednesdays. We didn’t know that. Thankfully Apple gave us that bit of advice just before release.

3. With a paid game, you will probably make most of your revenue in the first week of release

This is the week that you’ll get the widest exposure with reviews and hopefully an app store feature. Table Tennis Touch made nearly 50% of its year’s revenue in the first week of release on iOS. Make the most of that exposure and save any price cutting for when your exposure is dwindling.

4. Build your game to scale

Prepare for a best-case scenario and have a plan ready for extending the game with features or localisation. in our very British way, we only ever thought about failure before release!

5. Having a number one game neither makes it nor you well known

You’d think that having a number one game would make lots of people aware of Table Tennis Touch. “Wow, you’re the guys that made Table Tennis Touch?” is something that you’ll never hear. You’re constantly having to make people aware of your very existence.

Without being featured on the app stores or charts, you’re pretty much invisible to the world. App stores like it when you use their technologies and when you embrace any new features. Decent updates throughout the year also give them a reason to feature you.

7. Submit your game for awards

Nobody else is going to do this for you. If you want to be an award winning game, you have to actually put yourself forward in the first place. As the lottery people say – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Finally…

My last piece of advice is, be wary of advice. It sometimes seems like everyone’s an expert. But remember, we didn’t know anything and we still did ok!

Vanessa Gratton


COO

Vanessa used to create Hollywood visual effects (and the odd rollercoaster). She now makes plans, spreadsheets and flowcharts.

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