How do I make an android game successful?

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  1. Awennor

    Awennor New Member

    Not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but anyways:

    I've been programming for Android for a while, I've put up a couple of games here and there. I've finally made a game that I think could actually fit in the Android market and do well. But it didn't. I can't achieve organic growth.

    How can you achieve organic growth? At first I thought it was about picking popular key words to theme the game, but the most popular key words are already taken. Then, how can you reach some awareness and search list climbing?

    Do you need to use popular key words that don't have apps? They will run out eventually, though. Do you need to aim to get reviews on various sites for your game?

    This is hard.

    This my game, if it'll help the advice:

    Thank you for your time!

    (I'm not trying to advertise it, you can just check the screens and the name of the game, no need to download (; )

  2. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    That's a good question! At the end of the day it doesn't matter how good your game is if people don't know about it. That means putting some work into promoting it, maybe investing in some admob advertising, etc.
  3. powerpoint45

    powerpoint45 Well-Known Member

    I'm going to post my first game soon so i don't have lots of experience,but i would make action games.they tend to be more successfull
  4. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    ^ Well I think you have to start simple and then work up from there, try to have fun and just keep plugging away. One thing I think a lot of people who try to develop their own android game notice is that there's a lot of other people also doing their own game for android and its difficult to get noticed unless you have something that immediately jumps out as original. Google haven't made things any easier for small devs recently by removing the Just In section from the android market.

    Also its not particularly easy to get people to beta test, give constructive feedback, etc (although this site looks promising: The Beta Family, the jury's still out on whether it works for me). As someone also trying to make a game in their spare time (see here hint hint) I'm well aware that I personally have only ever tried one game that was asking for feedback in a forum, so I can't really complain if people can't or won't take the time to comment on mine. One thing I've been thinking of recently is something like a writer's circle for android game developers, maybe set up in google+, where you agree to check out and comment on at least one game a week, in return for which you're guaranteed to have other people in the circle check out your game when you're ready.
    dop2000 and alostpacket like this.
  5. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    Is it a group/circle in google+? How can we find it?

    The thing I don't understand about Android Market - is what do you need to get into top lists?
    My game has more than 10.000 downloads and a very good hard-earned rating of 4.8 (200 votes). However, I don't see it when I browse games in my category "Top Free in Brain & Puzzle".. There are games with same number of downloads and much worse rating (like 2.0, 40 votes), but my game is not there! Why?! :(
  6. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    No, sorry if I gave the wrong impression its just an idea I was mulling over while waiting to see if I got any test reports back from the the beta family.

    There's plenty of speculation about how the market ranking system works but I doubt anyone outside Google knows for sure. I suspect that retention counts higher than number of downloads though. Well done on the rating, that's impressive.
  7. dop2000

    dop2000 Member


    I'm pretty sure my game has better retention than that app with 2.0 rating as well..
    I wonder if advertising through Google can get my game into top lists. (not the extra downloads I get from advertising, but the money I pay Google for it)
  8. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    Well Google's main business is advertising, but I suspect it would cause too much of an outcry, and be anti-competitive, if they were found to be adjusting the rankings to favour apps that buy admob campaigns, or apps that show admob ads instead of leadbold ads, for example. There are marketing companies who specialise in figuring out Googles ranking algorithms. I've read speculation that Google are trying to get the ranking algorithm to favour retention and user engagement. If thats right then the apps highest in the rankings will be the ones that lots of people are using on a daily basis. So if you have a good rating and high retention, you might be losing out to an app that a lot of people hate, hence the low rating of 2, but which also has a large core of users who really like it and play it every day. Sort of the marmite of the app world.
    dop2000 likes this.
  9. jonbonazza

    jonbonazza Well-Known Member

    Thats actually exactly what they do. This is why it's so hard for small devs to make an impact on the market now.
  10. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    What do you guys think of the following approach:

    I currently have a solid game with several thousands of loyal players. What if I make a new version of it, add a couple of new features, call it MyGame-2 and publish it as a new application?
    I will then inform players of MyGame-1 that the new better game is available and quickly get good initial rating and large number of downloads for MyGame-2, which will definitely get it into "Top New Games" in my category. Where it hopefully will be noticed by lots and lots of new players.

    Is it a good plan? :)

    PS: Sorry for bad English, it's not my native language.
  11. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a good plan, if it succeeds in getting a large number of initial downloads then that should also push it up in the rankings and help it to get noticed by more new users. I guess the only way to find out for sure is to try - and don't forget to tell us how it goes.:)
  12. arttuv

    arttuv New Member

    I'm also waiting to hear how it goes. At least you seem to have thought it all through and have a good and reasonable plan. Good luck!
  13. jonbonazza

    jonbonazza Well-Known Member

    I don't think that will work quite like you expect.

    Mobile users expect to have everything at their fingertips. That is, they don't like having to work for something. They want an easy way to get whatever they need and will ALWAYS expect the easiest route possible. Updating an app through the market is easy; just press a button. When you require users to go out and download an entirely new app and have them uninstall the old app (manually, i might add), they will more likely than not, be turned off to your app/game, and quite possibly to you as a developer in general.

    Furthermore, the more apps you have, the more time you will be required to spend maintaining. That is, each app will need to bug fixes and optimizations to appease those who don't wish to keep purchasing new apps.

    While this might sound like a good idea on paper, the logistics behind hte idea are not so easily tamed.
  14. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    I'm going to publish MyGame-2 as a completely new game with different gaming modes/levels etc. Users will not be required to uninstall MyGame-1, they could have both games installed and play both.
  15. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    My app finally appeared in "Top Brain& Puzzle" on 477th place! :) :(

    By the way, I noticed that "Top Casual Games" category seems to be less challenging (there are lots of very poor games) than "Top Brain&Puzzle".
    What if I change category of my game to "Casual"? Does google allow this? Will I loose anything in terms of votes/rating/ etc.?
  16. Snedd

    Snedd Well-Known Member

    Definitely used to be able to switch categories without losing any votes. In terms of ranking I guess it would just be how your apps usage statistics compare with other apps in the same category. I don't think you lose anything by trying and then switching back if it doesn't work out.
  17. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    I found this post. Is the guy wrong?
    I wish somebody could try changing category and then switching back and see if ranking remains the same. :)
  18. dop2000

    dop2000 Member

    Well, it didn't work out.
    My 2nd game quickly got into top50-top20 in "New Brain&Puzzle Games", but it only managed to get 50-100 downloads per day.

    Here are my two games if you are interested:
    Doptrix Evolution

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