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Launching Postmortem : Mini Racing Adventures

This is not a full life cycle postmortem, focused on the launching experience of our debut game Mini Racing Adventures.

Hello World!

We are Minimo, a newcomer indie game dev and we want to share launching post mortem of our debut game Mini Racing Adventures. We are a small indie game dev based in Jakarta, working on this project as side project then take it seriously. We're glad to see fellow indie dev sharing their helpful experience, so it's our time to give back to the community. It's important to note that this writing is a sharing about the launching experience we had, not a full life cycle postmortem. Hopefully we can update this post or make a sequel postmortem later.

Soft Launch

As a newcomer, we don't have any recognition on the market, so it's a challenge for us to take our first step into the water. 16th April 2015, Mini Racing Adventures soft launched in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia on iOS & Android platform. With the intention of preventing major bug in global release and also looking for feedback in English or Bahasa. Right after the game went live on store, we sent out press release to local gaming portal, websites, forum. Surprisingly we got good response from local forum, the thread got 400+ reply and 16k views. Several local media, portal, websites also cover our launching news. And we got the game into Trending chart on Indonesia Playstore with 3328 downloads over 5 days. Meanwhile the iOS got 334 downloads. We can say these downloads came from Indonesia alone, the downloads from Australia and New Zealand is very very low so we can omit it from the count. Seeing the result, we are curious and don't know why Australia and New Zealand preffered for soft launch by some dev or publisher.

We got shocked when we found the game cloned by someone on the playstore, and their downloads hits 50k+ on the store. They charting the top free, racing and trending on Playstore. We guessed they stole the idea from our kickstarter campaign several months ago then create the crap clone in hurry. To prevent them getting more buzz on store and steal our potential user, we released Mini Racing Adventures globally.

Global Launch

22 April 2015, Mini Racing Adventures available globally with some countries excluded. Being in Trending chart in Indonesia does'nt impact to charts in other countries. The game recognized as unknown new game there.  Even the store's search engine not showing us in top result with "Mini Racing Adventures" keyword. It happens in Indonesia before and start climbing up to the 1st place result as the download rising. It's also applied on "racing" keyword as well, the game showed in different position in search results, depending on its popularity in each country.

Right after the game released, we started to sent out press release. We sent out 250+ emails one by one, hoping the editors appreciate our effort to reach them personally and cover our game. Most of them not reply us. Only 5-8% replied us, some of them said the request in queue and asking money for expedited review. Only few cover us on article. After a week waiting, we still did'nt get the response or got covered on their review/article.

Beside contacting press, we also made a thread on TouchArcade, and we found a very supportive people there. They voluntarily made video and promote the game to people. Even some people donating us by buying the IAP just to support us. We found that people like to get in touch with the dev, as we seen on local forum as well. And we made some fanboy that always stay tuned on our Facebook :D

We surprised to know that our game covered in TouchArcade on its first day of release. Its responsible to the surge of downloads in appstore that hits 4420 in a day. Unfortunately the downloads dropped gradually in time. The android version also gaining attention in unofficial stores, we found a lot of sites provide the money hacked APK.

Analytics

We also integrating analytics to monitor the game. We used Google Analytic on android version and Flurry for the iOS. We found that our game leaked to countries where we didnt release there. Such as China, Iran and Japan. And even our highest download came from China with 7950 downloads in Android over 8 days.

It's important to note that I don't have any affiliation with Google, but I would recommend Google Analytics, because it has a really nice feature Realtime Analytics. It's just a personal preference, Flurry also have a good analytic service. We can monitor users that currently playing with their city location information. So we can see how the game spread. Our users are still low in most countries, so we may recognize someone from small city that played our game constantly in hours. And we can see our game being played at 4am in our region. It gave us a very informative information about the retention of the game. You can actually see the summary from the report, but its more exciting for us to see someone in small city in Syria played the game in daily basis for hours. We can tell that Italians plays at day and night meanwhile Brazilians plays at night before bedtime.

The game facing difficulties to spread evenly in every countries. At this time of this writing, our users are mainly from Indonesia, Italy, China, Russia and Brazil. We monitored the new articles and posts in past 24 hours, and see someone posts about the game in Russia. Then followed up by other local articles in the next day and covered by fairly popular media there. And the game spreads and growing there. This scenario also happens in Italy, China and Brazil as well.  Without us spending money on those countries.

Revenue

From its soft launch 16th April and a week of its global release in 22nd April to 29th April,  the official downloads of our game reached 13.317 on iOS and 12.219 on Android, excluding the stray modded APKs or jailbreaks. The revenue generated from both ads and IAP on iOS is $437 and Android $249. If the revenue stable in that number, we will getting $2500-$3000 in a month, which is not sufficient to return our investment on time, hardware, software licenses, operational expense, and our living cost of an artist, a programmer and a business dev.

We know that this is not an easy industry anymore, where past years ago I can see people easier got exposure and making money from simpler game. Hopefully our game getting more exposure in future and we can make our way to make a living from developing games we love. I hope the information I shared here will be helpful for other indie dev out there. Feel free to ask or drop a comment. I wish all the best for you guys, Godspeed! :)

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