Posts tagged game development

Road Trip Friends is a really fun 3D multiplayer racing game with retro muscle cars that we built in #Unity using Nextpeer for synchronous live social multiplayer.

The worst thing about developing mobile games is when developers don’t get downloads after spending so long building a great game.

Unfortunately, growth hacking the charts and app store algorithm is MORE important than building a great game, as discoverability is broken. Theres a pile of spam at the top, sucking up those precious downloads.

After spending about 4 months of development on this game, we knew we had to put a good effort into our meta data, and have a solid launch to get enough traction so that we would get about 3500 downloads per day minimum after launch.

There are some basic things you need to do to launch an iOS game successfully. If you don’t do ALL of these things, your launch will most likely fail.

  • Icon. You need an awesome icon that stands out from the pile. CHECK


  • Screenshots. You need awesome screenshots that advertise your game like a movie poster does, especially your first screenshot. CHECK.



  • Metadata. You need aTitle & Keywords that includes the most popular keyword search combinations for your type of game. CHECK.

Title: Road Trip Friends: Free Multiplayer Battle Racing Game
Keywords: best,fun,games,10,3,drive,big,air,nitro,extreme,flip,stunt,climb,hill,turbo,race,rally,run,top,ios7

^this is a super exhaustive list of top searches for racing games!

  • LOCALIZATION. You want to translate your title & keywords into the most popular languages and upload these into itunes to get a boost of downloads from ranking high on the appstore in other countries. CHECK.

Dear Brad Mills, your translation project for the following languages is complete:

dutch, english, french, german, italian, japanese, korean, portuguese, russian, simplified chinese, spanish, traditional chinese, swedish

Best regards,
ICanLocalize Team

  • LAUNCH DATE. You want to set your launch day at least 48 hours from when the game goes live so that you can be featured in all of the release categories globally. CHECK. Read more about this here. 
  • USER ACQUISITION. You should do a paid launch from a few different sources to get a burst of users to get your game as high up in the charts as possible. We spent between $0.25 and $1.00 per user on this game and got 10,000 users on our launch day. CHECK.
  • REVIEWS. You need 5 positive reviews as soon as possible. CHECK. This is because 1) to show up as having any ratings, you need 5 and 2) it also affects the algorithm, higher rated games rank higher for the same search terms as lower rated games, regardless of quality of the game.

I’m not sure what happened, but you can see from the above screenshot of app annie, we got 10k, downloads on launch through various promotions with good users, and our retention and session times are good.

About a week after launch we are down to between 50 and 100 downloads per day. That is a major flop.

We did everything right but this time I guess the dice roll didn’t fall in our favor.  If anyone has any suggestions or insight, I’d be very happy to hear it!


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