1. It’s all about store visibility
We benefited a lot from Editors’ Choice on Apple (see the graph below). And as brilliant as it was to get Editors’ Choice on the Play Store too – it doesn’t have the same store takeover effect as Apple. Editors’ Choice on Apple means being shoved in people’s faces for a week. Editors’ Choice on Google is lovely but a far more low-key affair. And with no visibility at all on Amazon, well, you can see what happened there.
2. Too much time had passed between initial launch and the Android release
We didn’t release the two versions simultaneously, not even close. By the time we got the game ported (after suffering huge delays due to our well-documented problems with Unity) nine months had passed. It meant we missed out on making the most of media coverage and the general new-game-excitement buzz that we’d generated with the initial launch.
3. Android didn’t get a big bang release
When we did finally launch on the Play Store, we were forced to drastically limit the Android user base. When we were able to widen the release to a lot more Android users, any interest that we’d managed to generate six weeks earlier had worn off. It was dying a slow death until Google resuscitated it with the Editors’ Choice badge. And for the last 4 months, it’s been consistently out-selling iOS.
Compare the download graphs for the first 2 months on both platforms. Obviously, note the drastic differences in the graph scale!
The App Store: the classic hockey stick graph familiar to mobile game developers. The game was Editors’ Choice on launch week.
Play Store: A much more spluttery start that reflects what was going on with our release – note the Editors’ Choice effect at the start of May.
4. The usual bit about piracy
Piracy is often cited as a reason why premium games don’t flourish on Android. We made efforts to make the Android release robust against “casual piracy” at least.
It’s hard to get exact figures for piracy but we can take a guess by comparing paid downloads with total game installs. Some of the differences are easily explained by a user installing on more than one device but obviously Android users don’t all have 7 devices. Surprisingly, considering the popularity of the game in China, these figures aren’t actually as badas they could have been! Every cloud…