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Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Discussion about Rogue Touch for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby CommanderData » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:55 am

I agree with the previous few posts about a cheaper price, at this point now that I am back from my business trip it's too late to affect it. We've dropped out of the top 25 in our categories completely and are rapidly approaching the big ZERO in sales. Hope it doesn't get to that point, but it might. Here's the short analysis for people who might be curious on App Store Economics:


1) Ending a sale price on Sunday night/Monday AM border is suicide, due to the normal drop in sales you get after a weekend at the same price. Doing this accelerates the problem dramatically.

2) Not many people buy something in the week after it goes "off-sale"

3) RT, being a unique, retro gaming experience means that our market is already a subset of app-store users. Further, that subset of users is broken up into groups that would:
3A) Buy a great roguelike at any price, ie- $2.99 and up. We've probably saturated this group, all of you great people here :mrgreen:
3B) People who might be willing to try it for less, $0.99 or perhaps $1.99 (we saw a lot of $0.99 people join during the sale!)
3C) People who would never pay for a roguelike and would rather play the seriously underwhelming free version than support a paid roguelike (even if it was months of work and obviously well done).
3D) People who would be willing to buy if they could try a lite version first.


So, I feel like I'm laying out the business in front of my customers here, but it helps you if people get a bit of perspective on the App Store's "get rich quick view". We obviously had no illusions of getting rich quick, and I picked rogue for the love of the game and genre. This was basically to make the game I always wanted to play, and if some others enjoyed it too, then great! :D I did have some hopes of seeing enough interest to be able to jump into this full time though...

From my readings and discussions with other developers we had a decent freshman run here. So many people put out games or apps and see 0-5 sales a day. We were fortunate enough to do better than those poor souls and learn a lot on the way, but this one game won't let us quit our day jobs and focus on iPhone gaming!

I think there's still a bit of life left in Rogue Touch, even if we do hit zero new sales. We've got a few great features planned that could turn things on their head. I may need the help of everyone here when it's time for that final push to lift RT back out of obscurity! :D
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby Zakia » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:32 am

Keep in mind the age of the audience. A more mature and old group would definitely buy RT as-is, but they are most likely outnumbered by the youngsters who check Itunes every week ;). I think we've kind of filled up our niche audience, now our main goal should be inviting others into Roguelikes. Since I think the best way to do this would be curb appeal, I think we need to really A) Get our app out there, especially in the top 100 free apps, and B) Make a 'curb appeal' that will really hook gamers ages 10-18. Keep in mind most kids are compulsive spenders!
There's nothing in the world as ruthless or impartial as death. All living matter ages over time and eventually dies... No matter how mighty or tiny its life force... So being alive means you're creeping closer to death with every second...
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Re: Saving games

Postby XVar » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:00 pm

Going a bit off topic here but...

swhatley wrote:I do have to admit with RT on the iPhone, I miss being able to do a 'cp -p rogue.sav ~/rogue-bak.sav' if I wanted to save a game that was going real good. That's knda hard to do on the iPhone. :( ;)

Or is there a way to pull out the data for RT from a iPhone backup on the Mac side and then do a selective app restore? Hmmm, :?: :?: :?:


If you've jailbroken the save file is located at /private/var/mobile/Applications/C4C3CEF3-FD60-4254-B56C-E12D8E4F3C33/Documents/rogueWorld.dat (the random bit in the middle will probably be different). Did a quick test and saving/loading by restoring that file does work.

Perhaps the game should transmit a hash of the rogueWorld.dat file to the server upon save, and verify it upon load and if it's different, not submit that particular run to the leaderboards? That is, if it doesn't already. I suppose that would alienate iPod Touch users who play without wifi though.
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby LordGek » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:42 pm

CommanderData wrote:I agree with the previous few posts about a cheaper price, at this point now that I am back from my business trip it's too late to affect it. We've dropped out of the top 25 in our categories completely and are rapidly approaching the big ZERO in sales. Hope it doesn't get to that point, but it might. Here's the short analysis for people who might be curious on App Store Economics:


1) Ending a sale price on Sunday night/Monday AM border is suicide, due to the normal drop in sales you get after a weekend at the same price. Doing this accelerates the problem dramatically.

2) Not many people buy something in the week after it goes "off-sale"

3) RT, being a unique, retro gaming experience means that our market is already a subset of app-store users. Further, that subset of users is broken up into groups that would:
3A) Buy a great roguelike at any price, ie- $2.99 and up. We've probably saturated this group, all of you great people here :mrgreen:
3B) People who might be willing to try it for less, $0.99 or perhaps $1.99 (we saw a lot of $0.99 people join during the sale!)
3C) People who would never pay for a roguelike and would rather play the seriously underwhelming free version than support a paid roguelike (even if it was months of work and obviously well done).
3D) People who would be willing to buy if they could try a lite version first.


So, I feel like I'm laying out the business in front of my customers here, but it helps you if people get a bit of perspective on the App Store's "get rich quick view". We obviously had no illusions of getting rich quick, and I picked rogue for the love of the game and genre. This was basically to make the game I always wanted to play, and if some others enjoyed it too, then great! :D I did have some hopes of seeing enough interest to be able to jump into this full time though...

From my readings and discussions with other developers we had a decent freshman run here. So many people put out games or apps and see 0-5 sales a day. We were fortunate enough to do better than those poor souls and learn a lot on the way, but this one game won't let us quit our day jobs and focus on iPhone gaming!

I think there's still a bit of life left in Rogue Touch, even if we do hit zero new sales. We've got a few great features planned that could turn things on their head. I may need the help of everyone here when it's time for that final push to lift RT back out of obscurity! :D


You got to know that Rogue Touch, like any other roguelike out there, no matter how flashy you make it, is going to rub many the wrong way as it isn't a traditional RPG. You can't let those who don't get it bring you down. The very aspects that give your game a fanatical following are the same that are going to really piss others off.
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby Xanmyral » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:10 am

I'd have to agree with LordGek here. While some people love the randomness of the levels, the critical thinking required to get your self narrowly out of the clutches of a griffin, and the punishment that must be avoided in the game, like most of the people here at the forums, some people will be put off, or even just flat out hate it. While I do agree that we should try to appeal a little to the teenage community of App buyers, since they are the majority of the pie here, I'm not that sure exactly how to appeal to them unfortunately. Most of my friends would hate this kind of game, since they are already spending most of their time playing other games like Wow, or Halo 3 and the likes. A lot of teenagers seem to be prideful, so maybe we could challenge that? Like "Are you tough enough to go down to the last level and retrieve the amulet, or will you just watch from the sidelines as other heroes do?" I'm not much of a business man, but I will try to get the word out to app buyers about RT!
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby Jim2wheels » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:45 am

Gotta aim for the D&D fans - their the only ones who would understand the concept of the game.
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Re: 10-18 curb appeal

Postby swhatley » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:32 am

Zakia wrote:... B) Make a 'curb appeal' that will really hook gamers ages 10-18. Keep in mind most kids are compulsive spenders!

Hmmm, let's think about this. How about if slaying monsters left blood splatters on the dungeon floor? The bigger the monster, the bigger the splatter! ;) Personally, this would turn me off. I wouldn't want this in RT. :(

The ambient sound is eerie but gets annoying after awhile. Battle sounds and footfalls sounds would be be good. But, I can do those sounds in my head. It seems that kids don't want to use their imagination anymore. So for them, the graphics and sounds would need to be taken up a notch to two. But, would it be worth the effort? I prefer playability and challenges over whizzbang graphics and special fx any day. I was quite happy with my Atari 2600 game system.

Thanks!
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby Kestre » Wed May 20, 2009 1:41 pm

What if you connect with other retro game developers to cross promote your games? For example, on the main screen if there were a button that brought you to a screen with mini screencaps of four other retro games. The five of you could help increase sales. I'd trust you to recommend other quality retro games. There are a boatload of games out there.

I'm a believer of low prices and larger volume. The better word of mouth and the higher you are on the App Store List, you're going to see a dramatic increase in sales. I can't imagine you've tapped into a very large % of actual iPhone app owners so there's significant room for expansion given the right price. And yes, $1 is the right price. The number of bad reviewers from people who "expect more" from a $3 is going to offset any improved profit.

Lastly, more competitions with active participation on community sites like toucharcade will bring in more interest. Having more secret characters will eventually be unwieldy but you could probably brainstorm on other ideas for promotions.
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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby Nathan 0 » Thu May 21, 2009 1:06 pm

I'd be curious what the numbers are like on other apps jumping from $1 to $3, and how the sales numbers behave (in general) over time. Intuitively, I feel like game apps are going to tend to have a short shelf life, primarily driven by getting onto lists like this one.

Rogue is an excellent value at $3. I suggested it (at that price) to a friend the other day and he said, "isn't it funny how the economics of iPhone applications make it feel as though $3 is a lot of money?" And he's right, it does (particularly in light of all the free and 99c apps). However in addition to being well designed for pick up and play - as iPhone games should be - Rogue Touch stands up quite well as a destination game (such that I stopped playing other games for a bit and dumped about 25 hours into Rogue). It's easily worth $3.

Will it sell at $3?

Absent an advertising budget, your best bet is to cozen yourself to the various big-market list makers (IGN, GameSpot, etc) and do what you can to get on their lists. Start with a friendly/open email: "Heard you guys are working on a feature about iPhone/retro gaming, hope you'll consider my game..." Also keep a very close eye on aggregaters such as Fark.com and Digg.com - try to get an early comment in when an iPhone game list gets picked up (which seems to be happening about once per week right now). Tweet #Rogue with the hash so that people can search you a little more readily there. Draft some promotional material so that when you see an opportunity you can fire off quality copy right away.

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Re: Ridiculous, vindictive review department

Postby jhawk » Thu May 21, 2009 10:06 pm

i currently have 49 games on m iphone, and probably have played at least 50 others that no longer remain, i have not ventured over the 4.99 range

thank god the iphone doesnt have a /time command referring to my old WoW days because i really wouldnt want to know

rogue touch is definately my top 5, and probably has the most time played on it, and has by far the best response time and consumer influence as to changes and improvements and just overall good business, good communication makes all the difference

a couple of my other favs,
fieldrunners
iDracula
heavymach
besiegement
elemental TD
trace
orions
enigmo
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