This article will look back on our experiment of releasing our local multiplayer only game SPiN WARS on 7 platforms with 5 different revenue models, why we did it and what we learned from it.
We developed SPiN WARS originally as a 3 day prototype to submit it to the "Gamma IV one-button challenge" back in 2010. Since then the game was brought out at all Brightside Games parties or game nights. We had so much fun with our SPiN WARS tournaments that we decided it's about time to release this little gem to the public! We knew it wouldn't be easy to market a local multiplayer only game, but we just want everyone to be able to enjoy it as much as we do!
In SPiN WARS you control the movement, shooting and release of a special attack with holding, tapping and releasing the same button. Watch a trailer on spinwars.brightside-games.com or look at the “how to play” picture in this article to understand the game better. Since the first prototype, we played it over and over at parties and showed it at events. If you would like to know more about our game design approach you should read my older blogpost about social aspects of local multiplayer.
Three years after we made the original prototype which gameplay wise is very close to the final game we set out in 2013 to release SPiN WARS for all kinds of platforms and distribution channels which are:
- Apple App-Store on iOS Phone and Tablet
- Google Play on Android for Phone and Tablet
- Desura for PC and Mac
- Samsung App Store for Android Phone and Tablet
Another year later in 2014 we are releasing the game on
- Windows Store for PC and Tablets
- Windows Phone
Besides bringing the game to the players our main goal was to experiment with different platforms and revenue models, which don't necessarily make sense for a local multiplayer only game.
- Paid full version on iOS
- Free with donations on OUYA
- Game bundle on Desura / Indie Royale Bundle
- Free-to-play with in-game currency on Android
- Free 2 player mode and paid upgrade to 4 players on Windows Store
We also tried out the following platforms and plugins, mostly for our own evaluation:
- Tapjoy (was removed before release)
- Everyplay for Video sharing on iOS
- Applifier Game Ads
- 100% Indie by Samsung / EA
- Kiip, real rewards on Android
We decided that we wanted to try this with an absolute focus on the pure local multiplayer only. Therefore we dismissed anything like single player modes a campaign or progress, which for sure would increase the visibility and marketabiliy of the game a lot.
Porting the game to multiple platforms was probably as much work as creating the game itself. If you wanted to come up with a production budget for SPiN WARS it would be very low.
One of the strangest things happening was that we had to photoshop above picture for being too revealing on the Samsung Store. However that resulted in our most shared Facebook post about SPiN WARS :-)
We produced a really cool trailer that took us about a week to create. You can watch the trailer on the SPiN WARS website.
We spent some time on PR but had no marketing budget. We got the usual "pay for your review" answers but weren't picked up by any bigger international app site. However we got some very positive reviews from German sites.
- Featured on the German App Store in "New & Noteworthy"
- Very positive reviews by multiple German App Review site with up to 85%
- Part of the 100% indie program and featured on their website
- Part of the 100% indie showcase at E3 2013
- Featured by OUYA on their console dashboard
- Featured in the Samsung App Store
- Indie Royale Debut 2 Bundle
- Featured by Microsoft in the Windows Store as "Surface Pick"
- Featured in the Windows Newsletter by Microsoft going to 250k subscribers
- Exhibited at the AMaze Berlin Festival 2013 in a huge painted on the wall gameboy
- Tournament at AMaze where we gave away cool SPiN WARS hacky sacks
- Top player played 539 sessions of the game on iOS
- Over 130.000 total sessions played on iOS and Android
- Average of 4.5 stars on the iOS App Store with 29 reviews
All this sounds pretty good, but it didn't have a huge impact on the download numbers. We are actually still waiting to see how the Windows Store will do where we are currently featured.
You can see download statistics on the following slide. Left column are downloads and right column are paid. The roughtly 22.000 downloads on (Android) are copies not through official stores mostly from China. Remember the different revenue models listed above. That meant that players on OUYA generally got the game for free and you could play quite a lot of sessions on Android before you have to unlock the full version (probably way too many to make anyone pay).
We feel like it was worth experimenting with SPiN WARS and think a lot of players had a really good time with it! Everyplay was super easy to implement and can be a very cool feature to add to your game. It is very hard to market a local multiplayer only game especially on iOS and Android since a lot of players are used to downloading and trying a game by themselves. However I still don't think it would have been a good option to add online multiplayer or a single player mode to SPiN WARS, it just doesn't work with what makes this game great. We had a blast playing the game at exhibitions and every review we got so far and user feedback has been great. In the end it's a very niche product and we wish we would have had a bigger reach on the PR concerning international pages.
We are looking forward to your feedback and comments!
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