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[This post was originally posted on the Kindling Games blog. It evaluates our first 3 weeks of numbers from our game Rainbow Rapture. Be sure to check out the Kindling Games website for more info!]

Rainbow Rapture has now hit the 3 week old mark and what a 3 weeks it’s been. Rainbow Rapture has been the most successful game for the Kindling Games team and we’re excited to continue to give our fans more features and goodies in an attempt to thank you guys for your support (more on that later).

Here’s what has happened these last three weeks: according to Microsoft’s data as of about a week ago our downloads have reached over 14,000! In this time we’ve been written up by WPCentral, hit #27 on the Marketplace’s top free list (and gaining every day), and had over 200 people review our game giving us 4 1/2 stars!

In an indie effort to be open and honest, we thought it’d be a good point to share some data. The download data lags behind about a week but we’ve gotten a pretty good idea of our players and player data from our ads.

uniques

This chart is by far my favorite. According to our Smaato ad data, we’ve served ads to about 12,800 unique players. More importantly, though, we have around 2000 unique players getting served ads daily. That means 16% of our player base is playing our game daily! The second chart also shows us that the 2000 players are playing the game roughly 13000 times, which averages out to the daily player playing our game 6.5 times per day!

Now, granted, trying to count players by ads served certainly leads to an imprecise number. However, even if we assume the numbers are inflated by 20%, we’re still very happy with how well our game has been received and how extremely high the retention has been.

The next two charts are just data on who our players are – where they are from and what devices they are playing on. You can see that most of our players are from the U.S. and are playing on an Omnia 7 (I’m guessing that the Samsung Focus is included in that bucket).

Countries:

Devices:

That sums up the three weeks of data for Rainbow Rapture. We’re excited to continue to see the number of players grow as we get higher and higher on the marketplace. Also, be on the lookout for new features coming your way!

In case you haven’t seen this come across your feed yet, there was an interesting survey on iOS revenue done by the guys over at Streaming Colour iOS studio. They’ve finally posted the results from this survey (and its 252 respondents) and while I would’ve preferred to have the raw data to analyze myself I thought I’d give my initial thoughts on the results.

While a sample size of 252 is hardly enough to get any data that is statistically significant, there are a few patterns that emerge that do support a few theories that I’ve spoken to on this site. (Remember, these are just my theories and should be taken as such.)

The more games you ship -> the better you get at it -> the more money you make

This one is pretty self explanatory and, to me, is the most interesting of all the slides. This supports a lot of theories around failing repeatedly in order to find success and is certainly something that we take to heart at Drizzly Bear.

We’re clearly moving towards non-sales revenue models

No one can deny that as an industry we’ve done a major shift towards IAP. These two charts show that the revenue generated from sales vs. non-sales is almost exactly the same over the last 12 months. I would be willing to bet that if this time was shorten, let’s say to the past 3 months, that you would see that non-sales have eclipsed the sales revenue.

Conclusion I didn’t agree with:

When I looked at the survey, I disagreed with the developer type question and seeing the data presented now even further supports my discomfort with this question. First of all, what is the difference between an iOS game company and a full time indie developer? A distinction was not made in the survey. Also, this question fails to capture people that may have moved between groups. For example, an indie developer may have been full-time, failed, and moved to part-time. Now you’ve framed all of his failures in the “part-time” category when really those failures (or lack of revenue in this definition) should go under full-time. There’s just far too much subjectivity in the answers to these questions to make the data useful.

In all, revenue information is extremely difficult to find and I’m happy that someone took the initiative to try and compile some conclusive information in a safe, compelling way. Even if we can’t draw hard conclusions from the data it is certainly a good starting point for making conclusion in the future. At the very least it helps this indie dev know that she’s on the right track with her theory of shipping early and often. :)

Phew. I didn’t expect my Gamasutra article to cause such a stir. There are tons of comments over there and on AltDevBlogADay, but I think most notable is Andy Moore’s thoughts on my article.

A few responses:

  • I wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t be outraged. I was pointing out that being outraged won’t make consumers change. I understand the need to draw a line in the sand between ethical and unethical. My article was merely saying that as indies we should control what we can control: ship dates and time to market.
  • I wasn’t encouraging shovelware. My main scenario is that you already have a successful product, likely on flash portals, and you spend time polishing it up to get it just right for iOS. Very similar to the Ridiculous Fishing case. You already know the game is going to be popular so you’re doing yourself a disservice to not get it out as soon as possible. Although the quality vs. speed argument is one that I’d love to have with anyone.
  • Yes, Rainbow Rapture is a Tiny Wings clone. Tiny Wings is not yet on the Windows Phone 7 and it was a brand new platform for us (and everyone else!). Rainbow Rapture was a way for us to explore the new platform and frankly mobile as a whole as this was our first mobile game. In the same way that FortressCraft brought Minecraft to XBLIG, we brought Tiny Wings (granted with our own flavor) to Window Phone. Full disclaimer: We’re not making any money off of this guys. The platform is a dead platform.
  • So there you have it. I support indies and I definitely won’t be cloning any games in the future (as indie devs know, ideas are the easy part). If you want to see what I’m up to right now, you can check out a rough web version of the game that I’m doing with the Drizzly Bear team here.

    I don’t need to tell anyone that teams are important. There are tons of articles on this topic from the games industry (my personal fav) to the startup world. (Even I wrote on the topic of teams and some research of adding a female to a group.) Instead of trying to tell you what the makeup of your team should look like or that you should be stringent in your hiring (seriously, EVERY studio that I talk to believes they are doing this), I’m going to focus on the things I’ve learned from being on multiple teams from AAA to indie.

    Passion != Strong team dynamics
    Just because you met at work and have a equally strong hatred for AAA development, it does not mean that working together would be a good fit. You’re probably even all very talented in your respective fields and you think that you balance each other out. This still doesn’t mean that it would be a good fit. In my opinion, the only thing that matters are your goals for that project. What do you want to accomplish and how do you think you’ll get there? Sure, your game might not be as strong if you don’t have a dedicated artist. Sure, your game mechanics might be a bit on the weak side until you test without a dedicated designer. But when you start out your team with a solid base understanding of goals then you can power through all those weaknesses. It’s not guaranteed that a great designer and a great artist will lead to a successful game, but it is guaranteed that misaligned goals will lead to the ruin of a team. Which leads me to the next point…

    Make sure your goals are the same – every day
    Once your team is established, just like the relationship with your significant other, you need to make sure (EVERY DAY!) that you and your team are heading down the same path. This could change, and honestly it probably should change, but you need to always make sure that you want and are headed in the same direction. Some key questions, especially for indie game devs are good to ask: Do you want to make money? If this ever became moderately successful, would you quit your job even if there were risks? What is your philosophy on how games become successful – hard work or luck? Do we want to be published? Make sure you’re on the same page. Ask those key, what I like to call, “do-you-want-babies” questions. It’ll save you a lot of heartache in the future.

    One irrelevant person will such the soul out of the room
    God forbid you ever hire or bring onto the team someone that is not as important to the group as the others because this person will suck the soul out of the room. Usually this person knows that they are not as valued and they slack off because of it. Then the rest of the team because resentful over the slacking. I’ve seen this happen more then once in both AAA and smaller teams. First of all, don’t do that. Make sure everyone has a specified place that they can easily settle into. Don’t make they have to worry about forging a niche for themselves – you should have an idea of what they need to do already. Second, if it does get that far and you’ve made a mistake – let them go. Sure, you’ll have to take on a little extra work when there’s no room for that but, believe me, your team will thank you.

    Know the weaknesses
    Make sure your teammates know and understand their weaknesses. This to me is the most important quality of good team members. You can’t have a lead that refuses to give up power because they think they do it right ever single time – when they don’t or they are too busy to attend to everything at once. You can’t have a designer sticking to their faulty guns because they are emotionally connected to their ideas. Make sure that when you bring on teammates that they are aware of their weaknesses and are open to trying to conquer those weaknesses. (This goes for you too!)

    I’m sure I’ll expand on these points as I try to learn from my failed teams and try to emulate my successful ones. I’ll be sure to update this post if I do. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this subject!

    kristen

    Guild Wars 2 Development Director. Exploring my writing through my thoughts about games, running, and life.