It's been near enough a month since launching my latest app Poker Conquest in the Windows Store. So it feels like a good time to sit back and review how the game is performing and reflect on things I would do differently next time.
Time to launch
It's suprisingly difficult when developing an app/game/product to decide when is the right time to make it publically available. There always seems to be one more bug to fix, one more feature to add before you feel your creation is ready to be released into the world.
I made the uncomfortable (but probably correct) decision to release the app before I was 100% happy with it. Among other things this encouraged me to do 8? minor updates of the app within the first month alone to fix bugs and issues that had cropped up.
Real users sure are a good incentive to fix bugs.
It's just me. Designing, developing, marketing, blogging, tweeting, promoting and improving the game. And honestly it's probably too much for one person.
It is not the easiest thing in the world to pour your free time into a side project when you have a demanding full time job as well as 2 young children (a 3 year old and a 11 month old).
There are a number of areas that could have benefitted from a larger team size, expecially design and promotion and it's difficult juggling things. Even when writing this blog post, I would rather be making a few changes in the app.
I still absolutely love the name. It had that trifecta of name awesomeness.
It's also short and catchy and doesn't seem to be used by anything else (no copyright / trademark worries)
I'm quite pleased with the logo. Most of all how much it cost me. Five dollars from Fiverr.com
This was one of my first experiences with Fiverr.com and was so positive, I continue to use it's services. It's a great site with affordable options for people without much of a budget.
The only negative I can think about the logo is that it doesn't really stand out in the store and looks a bit plain compared to some of the others. I suppose I could jazz it up a little.
By marketting visuals, I mean graphics created solely with the intention of marketting the game.
Beyond screenshots, I didn't create any and if you look at most popular apps in the app stores you'll see masterful artworks promoting the apps. This is something I may consider outsourcing to someone on Fiverr.com in the future.
The app store is a vain place.
Downloads to date
I'm moderately pleased with the number of downloads i've had to date with 119 as of 3rd March.
Having only ever used Google Analytics for tracking website analytics, It came as a suprise to me that there is a version to track in app usage.
During development of the game, I made sure to send 'pageviews' for all screens and record events for everything from numbers of hands dealt, achievements attained and countries conquered.
So since lauch I can see that in the game there has been a total of:
- Over 3,000 hands played
- 65 countries conquered
And because of the real-time section of Google Analytics can see real time events.
I didn't develop the game with the view that it would be an overnight success. If you read enough about overnight successes you learn that the majority have taken a long time to succeed but the media coverage spins their eventual success into a sensationalised success story.
I think that the popularity of Poker Conquest will continue to grow given it's unique nature. And with an increase in usage, I predict an increase in in app purchases.
During launch it seemed sooo important to get onto ProductHunt. After all it is the latest trendiest place to have your app appear.
I reached out to the ProductHunt people and they seemed surprisingly approachable and were more then happy to let me beccome a 'submitter' to submit the game.
One thing I found out later and didn't quite realise at the time is that if you manage to get on ProductHunt, you should ideally have a large number of people ready to upvote it for it to appear in the 'trending products' section. Lesson learned.
Poker conquest is here on ProductHunt, and i'd still appreciate any upvotes.
I didn't really have a formal launch plan per se and I think that was a mistake. I should have at the very least reviewed a few different launch plans.
Social media plan
Again, I don't have one, and that has hurt me. The dismal number of twitter followers and Facebook likes is a reflection of my lack of effort in growing the social media side.
This is something that another team member could easily have picked up. My next move to grow my Twitter audience is to give away a poker book to a follower type competition.
Feedback & Reviews
This suprised me. Getting feedback, ANY feedback is really, really difficult. After all I want to continue to make the game better. However, expressing your openness to feeback does not guarentee you will get it and to date i've had almost no feedback on the game. As a result I intend to create a feedback screen within the app itself in case people are more likely to give feedback that way.
Also, Despite there being a 'Review' button on the about page in the app, I think I may have to put in some 'Review this game' popups after certain achievements. They are annoying I know but I have come to realise that store reviews and ratings are the life blood of an app.
I *think* the more positive reviews and ratings the app gets in the store the closer to the to top of the search results the app will appear when searching for 'poker'
I could be way better at version management. And by that I mean keep a detailed log of what bugs were fixed and improvements made in each release then publish it on the website. As well has maintain a list of improvements / bug fixes for future versions.
Windows Store analytics
One of the biggest dissapointments I have about the windows store analytics is that they seem to be 48 hours old.
For example, I could get a superbowl add and only see if it affected installs 48 hours later.
Right now I can only see the number of installs PokerConquest has had as of 48 hours ago.
I have began plans to develop an iOS version of the game. It is difficult to choose a technology to use to do this.
The logic is already written in C# so I could do with something to-reuse this, leaving only the visuals & screens to re-create.
My choices so far seem to be wither Monogame or Unity and I am leaning towards Monogame.
I'm pleased with how things have gone. I know that downloads will increase organically over time and that every bit of promotion will help. I also need to get more feedback and reviews. My next benchmark is 500 downloads, 10,000 hands played etc