Mobile game maker Amir Rajan (Noble Circle, A Dark Room) took to Reddit over the weekend to share his philosophy of mobile game design, which includes some notable do's and don'ts for getting your game promoted by Apple.
It's a notable look at how one successful indie mobile dev operates, and it's well in line with both Rajan's history of sharing sales stats on Reddit and his goal to market himself as a success story (he's currently writing a book about succeeding on Apple's App Store, based on his experience making A Dark Room.)
While some of Rajan's tips are no-brainers ("your game needs to have a compelling description and good screenshots") they're all still worth studying, especially if you've designed your game's marketing campaign to appeal to players rather than App Store gatekeepers.
For example, Rajan suggests developers localize their mobile games and create a compelling preview video for them, as that's what Apple representatives have told him are valued when Apple's editorial team selects which games to feature each week. The use of newly-released Apple device features (3D Touch or Apple Watch compatibility, for example) will also reportedly up your game's chances of being featured.
On the flip side, Rajan cautions that requests to be featured on the App Store are more likely to go unheeded during holiday weeks (since that's a prime time for major mobile game releases/updates), and you aren't likely to be featured if your game looks like a spinoff or a clone of something else.
And when you first email Apple to request promotion for your game, Rajan suggests it's best to shoot for one of the App Store's many niche featured game lists ("Great Game Soundtracks," for example) rather than a prominent list like "Editor's Choice" or "Best New Games", since you're far more likely to succeed.
Even if you take Rajan's advice, he admits you aren't necessarily guaranteed to succeed. "For me (even with a #1 app in the App Store). It took four months of emailing, before I got a response," he writes.
You can read the rest of his advice, which includes some notable tips on making a sustainable living as a mobile game developer, over on Reddit.