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Martin

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hey guys. I just seen a post from amazon interviewing the Half Brick dev manager talking about their recent success on the new amazon underground. I'm wondering if anyone else has had success in that area or seen any improvement in their overall revenue?
We were going to publish an amazon underground game but because we had published it previously as a standard app with in-app purchases, we couldn't change it to an amazon underground app.

Here's the amazon blog link:

https://developer.amazon.com/public/community/post/TxUHJC33MDDDDJ/Halfbrick-Studios-Sees-Triple-the-Downloads-and-a-750-Increase-in-Total-Revenue

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Grumpy

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I launched an app on underground to see if it was any good. I got really good numbers to start with, but very few of the people who "purchased" it actually played it (I guess people just went through the list purchasing everything so that they could play them later). Then the downloads dropped to the point where I get about 10 a day. I'm making about $0.5-$1 a day from it, but the game gets quite good gameplay time for the number of downloads. I did launch it at the very start of the Amazon Underground thing, so maybe if you launched a new game now it would do better as there'd be less launch-time competition.

That's interesting about HalfBrick. I've found that their games offer very good gameplay value for the amount they monetize it. I must have played Jetpack Joyride for like 48hrs and I only ever bought the coin doubler (and I'm somebody who spends money in games). So they would be good candidates for Amazon Underground IMO.
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kompleted.com

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Wrote an article about this issue. I will never let my apps go free on Amazon Underground. 
https://medium.com/@GLPlatform/amazon-underground-could-destroy-the-billion-dollar-iap-market-e5ee9c053530#.byxk5twbx

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bestgamesstudios

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kompleted.com
Wrote an article about this issue. I will never let my apps go free on Amazon Underground. 
https://medium.com/@GLPlatform/amazon-underground-could-destroy-the-billion-dollar-iap-market-e5ee9c053530#.byxk5twbx

wow.. thanks for the heads-up/ great article!
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kompleted.com

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bestgamesstudios
Quote:
Originally Posted by kompleted.com
Wrote an article about this issue. I will never let my apps go free on Amazon Underground. 
https://medium.com/@GLPlatform/amazon-underground-could-destroy-the-billion-dollar-iap-market-e5ee9c053530#.byxk5twbx


wow.. thanks for the heads-up/ great article!

Thanks for giving that a read! The worst part of Amazon Underground is that you give up ANY IAP revenue because they are being given away for free. The only apps I see that get substantial play time are coin pusher games and casino/slots. 
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Martin

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Hey guys, thanks for the reply to this thread.

@Grumpy - thanks for sharing your results. As you said it seems like players were just downloading as many free games as possible since they are on the list.
True, Halfbrick do some really good games. Im a Jetpack Joyride fan too, the music is awesome [smile] I'm guessing they got some featured promotion though from Amazon which is why they've also achieved so many downloads and gathered so many minutes in the underground section. Like you said, yours dropped down to about 10 a day now.

@Kompleted - Great article.
Quote:

The race-to-the-bottom in the app stores has created conditions so toxic that even the biggest players are having trouble (indie developers? what are those?)


Yep. I completely agree with this. This is why I thought amazon underground was big problem for the industry as a whole. Players have gotten used to paying $10 for a mobile game, then $5, then $1, then free (with ads + IAP). And now its completely free. In my mind when a product / service is free it has no value, and I also expect other products / services to be free too. When I pay for something I feel it has value, and I will use it.

I've not played any amazon underground games but from a game design standpoint isn't it wrong that players won't pay / grind for anything. Its like when I play an emulator game on MAME or something similar, I can just tap a button and a virtual $0.25 is added so I can just continue forever. There's no challenge. If I die I just tap the quarter button again. Its the same with amazon underground and no IAP is it not?

The point you made about the amount of time a player would need to spend in the game is very interesting too. Players don't spend a lot of time our games and so it looks like we would also lose big time in the underground arena.

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kompleted.com

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin

I've not played any amazon underground games but from a game design standpoint isn't it wrong that players won't pay / grind for anything. Its like when I play an emulator game on MAME or something similar, I can just tap a button and a virtual $0.25 is added so I can just continue forever. There's no challenge. If I die I just tap the quarter button again. Its the same with amazon underground and no IAP is it not?

The point you made about the amount of time a player would need to spend in the game is very interesting too. Players don't spend a lot of time our games and so it looks like we would also lose big time in the underground arena.

Martin


Thanks for giving it a read! There's a lot in there that is purely my perspective and most of it I honestly hope turns out to be false! The thing about player retention and keeping players playing is that your game has to be designed around it from the get go. Coin Pusher and other games by the same company do this in the best way I've seen. Without Amazon Underground, beating Coin Pusher is a 6 months endeavor unless you spend $100 on some very expensive IAPs. With Amazon Underground, I still ended up playing it for over 12 hours because of the time limit on prizes. Towards the end, I would just keep the phone open to log time, which is EXACTLY what the devs want! 

In the end, I think it is all about market fit. The only apps that benefit from Amazon Underground are those that manage to retain players that would otherwise not play or quit than pay real money. 

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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #8 
Interesting article Kompleted. I don't agree entirely. Your sweet shop analogy is interesting, if you made a sweet shop free, you'd get a lot of sick kids - and that's what I think will happen with Amazon Underground. People value in-game currency because of the amount of time (or skill or money) it takes to earn it, if you suddenly make it free the value drops instantly. More than that the perceived value of the game drops quickly, most goals become pointless and very quickly the game becomes boring. It's like playing a game with the cheats on. Sure people may flock over to unlock the Golden Hammer of Doom, but very quickly they'll get bored with that game and move on to something else that offers a challenge or more entertainment. I think games like Jetpack Joyride are the exception to this rule because they offer a lot of gameplay that isn't just tied to in game currency and because it's such an iconic game people want to play around with essentially a hacked a version (maybe to friends or whatever).

However, largely I believe the Freemium model (especially games that focus on currency) won't translate well to Underground, and the developers who do find themselves benefiting are probably developers who haven't monetised their games well (for whatever reasons). That said, I think the paid model may translate very well to Underground. If I pay money for a paid game I expect to get gameplay out of it. I downloaded Crashlands and have already played for 15hrs+. Now, having launched a paid game, and seen how difficult it is to get downloads I would much rather get paid by game time than downloads if you have a good quality, engaging game.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think Underground will chip away at the freemium model because it's not going to offer enough long term satisfaction for the player or be rewarding enough for the developer. I do, however, think it shows some promise for people who want to build traditional paid games (providing Amazon can deliver on the downloads).
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javaexp

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Reply with quote  #9 
@grumpy, I humbly disagree with you on that people don't want hacked/free IAP. They want free IAP to beat their social circle. Many friends of mine boast of their current level in King's Match 3 game. In Time magazine, there was mention about how King uses social media to create competition. There was a youtube video on causalconnect where speaker also mentioned that Candy Crush uses social media as main funnel for user acquisition so that people can compete with each other and hence less pressure on the developer to release new levels frequently. So if users can get that cheat for free then they would want it. Even if they use IAP to reach say level 500, they never post on FB about using IAP because its cheating on their end. They just post a screenshot of the game.

On side note, how amazon benefits from this is that people would spend time on amazon services and will want to come and purchase some stuff from amazon (FMCG, Electronics, Books etc.) -- As told by Amazon's chief in an interview I saw.

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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #10 
@Javaexp, you're right of course that people do want hacked/free IAP. But I think largely people only want hacked/Free IAP in games that are well established, popular and (probably) games that they've spent a long time playing already. I get a few players playing hacked versions of my game and from data tracking I can see that they spend hardly any time playing at all - they buy huge cash packs, unlock everything and then stop playing. In Amazon Underground that would earn me only a tiny bit of money and the player only gets a bit of satisfaction from it. Sure, if it's a game they care about or are in competition with other people over they may play the hacked version to show screenshots, but I don't think they're going to spend a long time playing this version and so there's no money in it.
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