This report follows on from my January report on the progress and experiments on my 3D tetris-like game Tower Blocks. In February Flappy Birds became a phenomenon and download figures for Tower Blocks improved slightly. I've also made good progress on the iOS and Windows Phone 8 versions of the game.
The iOS version has been submitted to Apple and is waiting for review. The most difficult part of getting my code to run on different platforms has been converting the 3D models, images, sounds and fonts to the different formats that each platforms supports. I’m currently working on making the models work on the Windows Phone 8 version. I think it might be something to do with the textures.
In January's report I explained some assumptions I had about my game that I was experimenting with to see if they were true. In this report I'll show the evidence for the correctness or incorrectness of those assumptions, and then go on to my new experiments
In February a player could choose to upgrade the game to remove advertising and have unlimited blocks.
Results: No one has upgraded and I’ve decided that the numbers are high enough to say that the current reasons for upgrading are not good enough. I suspect that running out of blocks and having to wait for new ones may actually slightly decrease player engagement and in the long run make them less likely to feel like upgrading. So I’ve removed the block limit and just kept the upgrade to remove advertising button. In the future I’d like to offer extra modes or content for the upgrade, but for now I’m going to mainly concentrate on seeing how viable revenue from advertising is.
In February a new version of the game went live which finally got rid of my slightly embarrassing placeholder graphics for the splash screen and logo. The new 2D graphics are the work of the very talented Andy Skyes AKA Hexjibber and are excellent.
Results: Windows 8 Store downloads in February went from 4 a day the previous month to 7 a day. As the only change I made was the graphics (in particular the logo tile shown on the store list page) I think this is the reason for the improvement. So I’m very happy with investing in improving the first impression of the game. Now I need to improve the 3D graphics of the game. I’d like them to have a bit of a wow factor.
Results: I am slightly disappointed to announce that the total advertising revenue from January was £0.09. I'm pleased with the results from adding AdDuplex. This has led to my advert being shown 2,058 times and 14 people clicking on it. A conversion of 0.68%. Perhaps I could experiment with different banners for my game to see if I can improve this.
The fill rates from MS did improve to 41%, but it’s obvious that advertising is a big numbers game and I need to improve both the numbers of downloads and player engagement.
One nice thing that has come from adding AdDuplex is the stats of daily active users. I had assumed that as more people downloaded the game, the daily active users would gradually increase. However it’s staying fairly constant at 9.5 active users a day. If I want to make money from advertising I need to make the game far more sticky.
Experiment 7: The mobile app stores (in particular iOS) will be more active
The Windows 8 Store is not very mature and I expect it to be the least active. I’m expecting there to be more downloads on both the iOS store and on the Windows Phone 8 store. The flipside of this, is that there is far more competition in these stores, so I may get less downloads.
The iOS version of Tower Block is currently waiting for review by Apple. The Windows Phone 8 version is close, but I’m working through a problem with the 3D models at the moment. I’m hoping I can get both in the store in March and have some download figures for my March report.
Experiment 8: People will play the mobile version more
I think this game is more suited to mobile that laptops and desktop PCs. So I’m expecting people who download the game on mobile to be more engaged that the desktop equivalent. I won’t have the tracking in place to test this straight away. Once I know the difference I can look at other ways of improving engagement.
So March is going to be all about getting the mobile versions in the store. Then I can move on to trying to find some effective ways to market my game.