I want to build a community around the games I write and for them to feel they are involved and important to the success of the games. As part of this I will share downloads figures a couple of times a year.
When I first decided to start writing and publishing wargames I scoured the Internet for information on how many downloads to expect with my first game. There is surprisingly little information out there. What I did find is cases where developers had spent a year writing a game and then getting only a handful of downloads even if free. I knew my target market was a fairly niched one – so would the same be true for me?
I decided to write my first game, Operation Typhoon, for Android. I had some experience writing for this platform through years of half finished game ideas. I also decided the game should be free to get maximum downloads and more importantly some feedback.
I published Operation Typhoon and then immediately worked on France 1940. I was not very satisfied with the graphics for either game and had a graphics artist rework the map for Operation Typhoon and republished it. I also at that time published it in the Apple Store.
As they were my first games I thought I might get a handful of downloads and some indication that it was worthwhile continuing to write games but charging for them.
Below are the total downloads since publishing those games.
I learnt several things for these two games:
- iOS users give hardly any feedback or rating
- Android users give feedback
- Even free games on Android get pirated.
- There is no money to be made on Android if you are trying to sell a game
- This came from a slew of blogs that started to appear around this time
- Writing games for PC is still the best option if you wanted to sell them
- This came from advice from other wargame developers
- People really liked the games. They didn’t care too much if there was no AI, ability to save game or instructions.
With the above information fresh in my mind I started work on Kursk. The total number of downloads to date has been 133. Considering the game is still in Steam Early Access and has had no publicity I regard this as a great success. It will be interesting to see what the figures are once I formally publish it.
Feedback has been very valuable to me and it has been great receiving emails from people saying how much they like and enjoy the game. It has enthused me to write bigger and better games.