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Ranking Metrics for "Nameless" Premium iOS RPG with no IAP

Why aren’t there more Premium Games and Higher Prices on the AppStore? We’re not sure, but we have some interesting metrics about “Sessions” and “Formula” hearsay. "Nameless the Hackers" is a 12+ hour traditional turn-based RPG with no Virtual Pad.

This is the second in a multi-part blog about our adventures creating "Nameless: the Hackers RPG". You can read our first post for our pre-launch efforts here: 

Gamasutra Blog: Breaking In - Nameless the Hackers RPG

When we decided to make our first game "Nameless: the Hackers RPG", we couldn't find much information about how well premium games did on the iOS AppStore. We did however find tons of articles talking about how important it is to be ranked. There is a strong co-relation between revenue and rank.

Below, we are sharing our launch experiences and metrics. We were not featured by iTunes and did not have much money to spend on Marketing. We're hoping our information will be useful to other developers looking to make premium games on iOS.

Nameless: the Hackers RPG for iOS

Nameless Game Play Image for AppStore ranking details

iTunes Link:
Reviews & Mentions:

Rank by Downloads Between March 16th (launch) and April 18th
- On March 18th, we reached Rank #5 in Role-Playing for two days
- We attribute this to our 680 sales on 3/17 and 3/18
- We stayed in the top-150 for the entire month

AppAnnie Nameless the Hackers Ranking Top 5 Role-playing iOS

We were breathless when we saw Nameless rising in the charts. We have no viral/social elements in our game design.

We can confirm, by experience, that the AppStore ranks have an exponential affect on our sales. As we lost or gained position, we could dramatically see the sales change as well. You can compare this to our sales graph here:

Copies Downloaded Between March 16th (launch) and April 18th
iOS Premium App Sales Graph

Rank by Downloads with Categories
- On March 24th, we switched our secondary category from Simulation to Adventure
- We found there is a competitive difference in each category
- Role-playing seems less competitive than Simulation
- Adventure is more competitive than Simulation
iOS JRPG RPG Simulation Category Changes

After switching categories, we noticed a visible difference between Simulation and Adventure. On 3/25 we were at GDC, but at night we were debating a storm at the "lovely" Motel 6. We started digging into ranking metrics on to compare multiple categories.

We found the following details based on the games in rank 20-30 for March 25h, 2013.

- Action & Arcade seem to be the most competitive categories
- Adventure
- Puzzle
- Simulation
- Sports
- Strategy
- Kids & Family seem similar
- Racing
- Board
- Role-Playing
- Card, Casino, Dice, Education, Music, Trivia, Word are the least competitive

We made a very large image to explain what we saw. (Click here)

This gave us a lot of insight into our current performance. We knew our sales were not stellar and reaching rank 5 within an AppStore category felt “too simple” for the number of sales we were getting. Turns out that the competitiveness of Role-Playing is very low. We didn’t know this when we chose to make Nameless.

That being said, we took away that it doesn't take many downloads per day to achieve ranking in these lower categories. Something we will be considering in our next design.

Our Thoughts on Ranking

  • We were lucky to have been in a less competitive category; we didn't plan for it.
  • At the risk of having everyone flood our RPG category, we think it's important to take the volume of downloads required to stay ranked for your game type. It's something we plan to consider in our next design.
Next Upcoming Topics
We have the following topics we'll be also touching on in the next few days. It takes a while to make these, we'll be posting every few days until we're done.
Check out our website: BoxCat Games

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Feel free to ask us anything in the comments. =) 

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