What All Mobile Devs Can Learn from Flappy Bird’s Success
The rave success that was Flappy Bird made a preposterous $50,000 a day in ad revenue, before being pulled off from online stores. It took the developer just 3 days to write the game.
Due to Flappy Bird’s undeniable success, a myriad of similar games have sprung up all over mobile stores. Can you cash in and enjoy the same level of success? As long as you have a great gaming idea, you certainly can. All you need is the right template.
Got Room for One More?
In a multi-billion dollar industry, is there any room at all for indie game makers or one-man show devs? Absolutely!
Making your game a global hit is not as difficult to come to terms with, as you might think. You can thank the ever-increasing number of marketplaces where you’d find ready-made games templates. Here’s another kicker: you don’t even need to be a coding maestro to sell games on the Play Store or App Store.
Ever heard of Chupamobile or CodeCanyon? Code marketplaces like these give away game templates if you’re willing to dish out a few hundred dollars, that is. What you get with these templates is the code that’s required to have a general build of the game. Devs later get to carve it out by including their own music, graphics and theme to add finishing touches before readying it up for sale.
Familiar with Swipe to Slice?
Games falling under this category are free to play, and revenue is made via in-game advertising. No need to worry about the code needed for those ads; it is already present in the game template. Just add an account number for every network you’re collaborating with, so you can start earning cash.
If you want to better understand how the template compliments the general concept of your app, look at it this way: you buy a template and you have access to a simple game mechanic – think along the lines of tapping on the screen to shoot or swiping to slice through an object. That’s the core mechanic of your game right there.
As an example, if you’ve purchased a “swipe to slice” template, you could work on a vegetable-slicing game (I know it sounds a bit silly) but does Fruit Ninja ring a bell? You could experiment with different themes – slicing the heads off zombies leaping at you. Just make sure you put a proper rating on that one!
All it takes are some basic design skills, and the only programming knowhow you need really, is to understand how to integrate your custom graphics into the code.
Independent developers can enjoy plenty of success in the mobile market since the entry barriers are much lower than they used to be. You’re certainly not going to be held back the way aspiring console developers are.
Then There’s Tap to Flap
Your typical Xbox One or Playstation 4 game takes a team of 300 devs or more and a million dollar budget. Can you afford that strength as a mobile developer, and more importantly, do you need it? The answer’s a simple no.
Follow the latest game app trends, and find the template you need to make a “copycat app” if you will; that’s one way of cashing in. Sound too good to be true? It kind of is: there are a whole bunch of games following in Flappy Bird’s footsteps. Games like Flappy Fish, Flappy Penguin or Flappy Crocodile, all sporting the same classic “tap to flap” mechanics.
All of these games can be seen as distant cousins so to speak. How do you make yours stand out? A great graphic design can really mean the difference between your app shooting to the top of the charts or taking a nose dive soon after launch.
To better understand the correlation between great design and the duration people use it, consider this: Close to 50% downloaded apps are sent to the bin within 45 seconds of being used. Have a good design in your arsenal and you buy yourself time and also earn ad revenue in the process.
Another key factor to consider is app store optimization – how easy it is to find on app stores. This entails the right keywords and game title for example. We can’t stress enough on how important this part is. Also, you need to know when these keywords need to be translated into another language.
For instance, if someone in China fancies shooting hovering zombies (I know that was a weird pick), and you happen to have an app that does just that, all your efforts aren’t worth didley squat if you haven’t taken the liberty of translating keywords to Mandarin. They won’t find your game, and those are lost sales right there. Watch and weep.
Understanding Game Economics
Let me tell you why so many apps are generally mutual derivatives, or as we put it, distant cousins: most sport a brief shelf life which makes it harder to develop original games and reap the profitability as a result.
When templates hadn’t become so widespread, it used to cost thousands of dollars just to make a game. Now you buy a template for a few hundred dollars and if you’re good with the design and concept, it could make you thousands in cash. Game themes are constantly changing, what’s in and what’s not – the faster you penetrate the market, the better. Templates – embrace them.
What it All Boils Down to
Since the idea is to make money, bear in mind that you need to generate a really high download volume, especially since both Apple and Google make away with 30% of your revenue.
Here’s what it comes down to: understand the trends and there’s an 80% likelihood you’ll succeed. What’s the other 20%? Why, it’s getting the right template of course!
What’s trending for now? Flappy Bird clones are the order of the day. Many popular themes include pixel art, cute and cuddly animal characters etc. Pick the right template and produce a game that features a cute snowboarding penguin, you know half your work is done.
Talk to one of the Social Cubix developers and discuss your game ideas away! You can also leave us a comment or two below.