How $2 deprived the company of $100 thousand

Developers from a small studio Tiger Style told why they earned $ 100 thousand less on their second project in two months than on the first. It turns out that it’s all about the price. Their last game cost $ 2 more in the market than the debut project. 

There are only free projects in the top right now, earning either on micropayments or on advertising. About 90% of the revenue of mobile games in the United States is again accounted for by IAP. It would seem that it’s time to completely abandon the development of paid games, and even without in-game microtransactions. Nevertheless, there are development teams defending the classical distribution model. Tiger Style is one of them.

In 2009, the company became famous for the Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor arcade, which received a wild number of awards at the same time – including from Apple. Portal ign.com so I put it on the 5th place in the top of the best gaming applications of 2009 (then Angry Birds took the 4th place from them). 

And now, almost three years later, on February 25, 2012, Tiger Style presented its new project – the environmental platformer Waking Mars. The game was immediately caressed by the press. What are passages like “the most interesting story ever told on an iPhone” by Joystiq or “Waking Mars gave me some of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve ever had on iOS” by TouchArcade. 

Despite this (as well as the active development of the project), as the developers themselves say, two months later, Waking Mars earned almost 100 thousand dollars less than Spider for the same period. If the “Spider” scored $244,196 in two months, then Waking Mars only $151,051. 

In his article, Dave Kalina, one of the founders of Tiger Style, suggested that the reason for the relatively low sales of Waking Mars, first of all, is the wrong pricing policy: while Spider cost $ 2.99 at the start, the price for Waking Mars was $4.99.

Casual players who could, following an impulsive desire, purchase a project of an unknown independent developer for $2.99 were less likely to want to buy it for $4.99,” says Kalina. 

He also notes that a lot of time has passed since 2009, now there are a huge number of high-quality games on the market at low prices (often free). Most of them are session projects. So in such conditions, it is difficult to hit a big jackpot in a game focused on a long single passage. 

Waking Mars is not one of those games that occasionally occupy the player for a long time. It was created for a single passage, which should take about 6-12 hours,” Kalina emphasizes.

Another reason for the conditional failure is, in his opinion, the initially wrong approach to the game. Spider was understandable to the casual audience: indeed, what is difficult about the adventures of a spider. The situation with Waking Mars is completely different: it has a complex, somewhat frightening fantastic setting. And the motivation of the hero is not obvious (it’s one thing to shoot mutants on Mars, it’s quite another to study and restore the ecosystem of the planet).

We are sure that we were smarter when we developed Spider specifically for the iPhone audience. Waking Mars is more like a traditional console game, which would be much better suited to any other platform,” Kalina sums up. 

In any case, the price in the Tiger Style studio is considered the main reason for the relatively low sales of Waking Mars. Therefore, the other day they lowered it to $2.99. According to them, the next day the number of downloads immediately jumped. 

By the way, at the moment Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor has earned the studio $577 thousand. 

Source of the statistics given in the material: Tiger Style

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