Prison Life RPG was first released on iOS on 26 Feb 2015, follow by GooglePlay Store on 1st April. Priced at $3.99 USD with no IAP.
Prison in 1 sentence: Play as any one of the 100 prisoners, survive harsh prison life and escape!
About me: I am a full-time indie game dev since 2008. For all games I did everything myself except music. Prison Life RPG is my biggest project(gamble) which took over 1 year full time to make.
Powerful Effect of Famous Let's Player
First day iOS sale: 416 copies. It was not featured anywhere on AppStore.
I was disappointed by the launch sale as we all know first day is usually the biggest sales day. I thought my 1 year+ of hard work was doomed and I had to look for jobs. 1 week after the game was released, a popular French Youtuber fantabobgames made a Let's Play series.
FantaBobGames: Let's Play Prison Life RPG youtube series in French
Release on GooglePlay
I released the game on 1st April, 1 month after AppStore. I never expected GooglePlay sales to surpass AppStore within 1 month!
Some cool facts of GooglePlay Store Paid App:
- Top 3 New Paid, 24 Overall paid, Top 2 RPG in US: 300 ~ 400 downloads per day
- Top 1 Paid App in France: 200~400+ downloads per day
- Top 1 Paid App in France(Apple): 250~600+ downloads per day
- Top 2 Paid App in Australia: 120+ downloads per day
- Top 5 Paid App in Canada: 120+ downloads per day
- Top 7 Paid App in UK: 220+ downloads per day
- Minecraft dominates Paid Chart of almost all countries for many months.
- Prison Life RPG is NOT featured anywhere on GooglePlay or AppStore.
- I spent at least 1 hour per day to reply and troubleshoot emails and reviews on GooglePlay.
- I submitted an update to fix bugs everyday for the first 10 days.
- Prison Life RPG was translated to French, and a special character Fanta was added.
- I reached legend on Hearthstone with secret mech paladin.
GooglePlay vs Apple AppStore
I was a big App Store supporter, and I thought GooglePlay Store is bad for Paid Apps. I was wrong!
User Review system: GooglePlay Wins!
GooglePlay Store: shows all reviews of all versions and countries, able to reply to each review and interact with angry customers. I believe the positive user reviews really helped my game.
Apple AppStore: each new update reset to 0 ratings. No way to contact users. Life sucks if you(buyer) live in small country as you can't view user review of other countries.
Purchase and Licensing: Apple AppStore Wins!
GooglePlay Store: Everyday I recieved at least 10 angry emails/reviews due to GooglePlay problems such as failed to download game, failed purchase, failed to download expansion file, failed licensing check etc
Apple AppStore: Never have any problem.
Updating Game: GooglePlay Wins!
GooglePlay Store: Daily update? No problem!
Apple AppStore: Wait 2 weeks for App Review, and reset user ratings to 0.
Top Charts and Game Discovery: GooglePlay Wins....?
GooglePlay Store: Top New Paid/Free chart is great for new apps(less than 30 days). I hope Prison Life RPG can maintain the sales after 30 days. But without App Review, indie devs have almost zero chance being featured on GooglePlay Store.
Apple AppStore: Even if you are being featured by Apple, it only lasts for 1 week. I hope Apple can add a 30 days Top New Paid/Free chart.
Why GooglePlay out-sell AppStore:
The game benifits from Let's Player fans on both platform. On App Store, the effect stays in France. But on GooglePlay, thanks to the good review system and 30 days New Top Charts, it has spreaded to other countries.
Releasing game for iOS is like lottery, and to invest 1 year into development is a huge gamble. I didn't won the top prize(Apple Feature), but I got the 2nd prize(fantabobgames). The money has covered my last year's expense. I will be improving further on the game before moving to the next.
I consider Prison Life RPG as very successful on GooglePlay Store and above average on App Store. Yet I am still far from becoming a millionaire:( This shows a Top Paid mobile app is enough to support an indie dev, but probably not enough for a 3+ headcount mobile game studio.
Thank you for reading, Lights out!
Follow the Warden on twitter: https://twitter.com/nobstudio
UPDATE 1: as expected once the game is off Top New Paid after 30 days the sales dropped significantly.