How can you make money developing IOS games? An informal survey conducted by one developer suggests 'be in the top 10%'
Owen Goss, an independent video games developer based in Guelph Canada, surveyed 252 developers who created games for Apple's mobile operating system, to find out how much they earned. The survey took place online over seven days. It turned up some interesting results, one of which was that the Pareto principle seems to apply to IOS app revenues; a small number of developers earn a large part of the cash.
One of the great things about being an app developer for Apple's mobile operating system is that the App Store can be used to market your app for you. Millions of App Store users can see it. However, that is also part of the problem: there are many apps to choose from, and it is easy to get lost in the crowd.
On average, games developers make about $165,000 from a title, but here is where statistics can be misleading. That is the mean average. The median splits the developers in half. 50% of developers have made less than $3000 lifetime revenue from the App Store.
The revenue curve is exponential, because the few developers who are most successful make most of the money. Those in the 75th percentile have made roughly $30,000 lifetime revenue from the App Store. The bottom 25% of developers have made less than $200. Those lucky 4% of respondents who are most successful made over $1 million.
Getting into that successful 10% at the top of the pile isn't rocket science, but it isn't easy either. There are some pointers.
Polish your app
the best IOS apps look good. They are shiny, just like the phones they run on. Games are properly play tested, and gameplay is well thought out, so that there is a solid progression throughout the game.
Do your own marketing
Doing your own marketing is also important. Simply relying on being featured in the App Store isn't a realistic business model. Good marketing includes understanding social media and soliciting user feedback.
Don't race to the bottom
There are thousands of apps for the IOS platform, many of them doing almost exactly the same thing. Your app will succeed on its quality. Don't be tempted to rush it out. Concentrate instead on making it better than the others available.
Look for new opportunities
New social media networks and other developments such as Apple's iCloud promise to disrupt games development. These opportunities along with in-app purchases, can be used to maximise your revenue.
It's hard to find originality in the oversaturated app landscape, but not impossible. Spend more time in conceptualisation, and ensure that your idea stands out from the crowd.
With Apple's iPhone 5 rumoured to be launching next week, this will be a big quarter for games developers. Will you be ready to capitalise on the ongoing success of the platform?