Epic Fail? So Far


That’s a funny video someone posted while trying to finish one of the Night Challenge levels (very far into the game).

Unfortunately, that’s not what this post is about. Here are some numbers for Saturday (just Saturday totals, which had the most downloads):

100K (or so)

<100

The first number is the number of downloads (in the world). The second is the number of IAPs purchased. Most of those are of the $1 or $2 variety, with a few being $4-$10. If you know Math, you can figure out that’s not much money.

I don’t know exactly how much Bombcats needed to make to keep Radiangames in business, but these numbers aren’t close. Though it’ll probably have a longer “tail” than my other games (meaning the revenue curve will be less spiked at the beginning), and the game is designed to take a while to get to the “spending” portion, I can’t foresee any likely scenario that would boost the game up to the daily revenue needed.

Why?

Making a free-to-play game that’s not pushy about purchases and signing into Facebook or whatever else just doesn’t work without many millions of downloads, and though Bombcats will get to a million eventually (downloads will drop off after the first week), there are very few examples of a game exploding well after launch. Due to size issues–aka being over the 50MB limit (see more about that in the update section)–the game was always going to have more trouble on iPhone than iPad, and the chart rankings have reflected that. In the US, the game has topped out around #30 on the iPad overall free charts, and #110 on the iPhone.

The bigger problem than downloads: It’s obvious now Bombcats is just too generous with everything. It’s more generous than many paid games. I was hoping the quality and value of the game would draw people in, make them happier to spend some money on it as they further along, and more likely to tell others about it. The 2nd may still happen, but the first is barely happening.

I tried to make a fairly unique, very high-quality physics puzzle game, and I think I succeeded very well there. But in terms of making money from it, I tried to straddle a line (F2P but fair) and it’s failing financially as a result.

What Now?

There are two paths that I’m considering: 1) Change the design/balancing to force people to have to spend more money in-game (there are varying degrees of this path). 2) Change the game to paid, and tweak the balance slightly to prevent the most likely spot for grinding (aka paying for the cat upgrades for night levels).

I will very likely be choosing #2, as I’d rather work on the Android version of the game in the time I have remaining instead of even more UI/balance changes.

1st Update

I’m still working on the 1st update now, but it’s not going to be as big I originally planned. A couple of the bigger features will be pushed back to a later (maybe) update. I’ll give the full list of the updates when I finish it, but the last major thing I’m working on this week is the file size issue.

The game is far too big (117MB download, >468MB installed), and I’m finally putting some focus on the problem. I have the first part of the reduction done, but I now need to test it on real devices and make sure it runs fast enough. In a nutshell, Unity doesn’t store textures as PNGs (or JPGs), but instead as raw bitmaps, which are huge. But I found a way (via Trainyard’s developer) that forces it to use PNGs/JPGs. I’ll post more data when I figure out the technical issues–loading on older devices and rendering speed are the two I’m worried about–though the game will definitely not be under the 50MB limit (it’ll be at least 70MB to download, likely more).

Ending with a Bang

So right now it appears Radiangames will be ending as a full-time thing in a month or so. But I still have a lot of work left to do. Thanks to everyone for your support over the past 3+ years!

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