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Big in South Africa. Not sure why.

Our game, Realm of Empires, has seemingly taken the South African Apple App Store by storm. Our only problem is: we don't know why. Has this happened to any of you? How did you figure it out?

Greg Bala, Blogger

September 23, 2013

3 Min Read

Fellow developers,


Has this ever happened to you:

you launch a game, promote it and then it becomes successful in a geography you didn't specifically target and you don't know why...?  If so, please help us figure this out.


A bit of background

We've been running a successful MMORTS game called Realm of Empires on Facebook for a few years. We decided to port our game to Android and iOS and we released both of those versions recently.


Android was first and we saw roughly what we expected to see. Users and revenues mirroring our Facebook user base - mostly US players followed by the rest of the usual suspects of the English speaking world (UK, Canada, Australia etc...) as per the graph below.

South Africa Takes Off!

A few weeks later we released the iOS version and we started to notice something strange. Most of our new players (and most of our revenues) were from South Africa. To be clear, we've never had a significant South African user base. We're not based in South Africa (we're in Toronto, Canada). We've never specifically targeted South Africa in our advertising (beyond being one of the many English-speaking countries we target in our Facebook ads) and as far as I know not a single one of us has ever been to the country.


Initially we thought it was a blip. Something that, unfortunately, would pass. But look at the graph below - the light blue that makes up most of the volume are sales from South Africa. This is one large blip.



We're well into the second month of this pattern and while we're very pleased with what's happening we would love to know HOW it happened.


So why? why big in South Africa?

We've done the usual googling to see if there was an article written about us or a blog post or something but we've come-up empty. We're hovering near the top of the Top Grossing apps in the South African app store (we hit #1 a few times!) so we're assuming that just being there is responsible for the continued sales momentum but we don't know what got us going.


So, dear reader, if you've had experience with a similar situation, if you're in South Africa and you've seen something about our game that could've triggered this level of popularity or if you're just a smart person with a good idea or two, please let us know in the comments.




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