OpenFeint Features Spazzle II as Free Game of the Day

The new OpenFeint standalone app, which is currently featured in What’s Hot on the App Store, is now featuring Spazzle II as the Free Game of the Day. As you may know, OpenFeint is a social gaming network. It allows a global community of gamers to compare scores and game achievements and see what everyone else is playing. Fairlady Media incorporated this system into our new iPhone game Spazzle II in early September 2009 (see previous blog post).

The new OpenFeint standalone app provides users with instant access to OpenFeint, where players can see game achievements, manage their profiles, chat with friends, and participate in forums.

Plus, each day the app features a Free Game of the Day. Today, that game is Spazzle II! That’s right, for one day only, you can download the full version of Spazzle II (without advertisements) for free! We hope you enjoy the game!

🙂 fairlady

Spazzle Takes Off in Asian Countries

This morning I was entering our download information for Spazzle into the January spreadsheet and noticed something very different happening with our numbers. Normally, our percentage of international downloads is about 21% (see dates 12/28-12/31 in the chart below). But for the period 1/1 through 1/10, I noticed that our international downloads accounted for a whopping 52% of our downloads! Hm, this required further investigation…

As it turns out, there has been a big spike in downloads coming from Taiwan. The following graph shows just the Taiwanese downloads for the same time period:

We checked our app rankings in Taiwan, and sure enough, we’ve climbed the charts to the #21 game overall and the #1 free game. We’ve also seen increases in other Asian countries, although the bumps have not been quite as dramatic as in Taiwan. We’re not sure what has caused the sudden interest in our game in the Asian markets, but we sure do appreciate the business from the Taiwanese customers and hope that the folks on the other side of the world are enjoying the game!

🙂 fairlady

Buying your way into the App Store’s Top 25

Is it possible? Yup. Read on!

I’m the lead developer for Fairlady Media, Inc where we’ve developed 10 games (and counting) with over a million downloads. The projections that follow are based on our experiences with advertising games for the iPhone and ipod Touch on Apple’s App Store.

More than 125,000 developers are registered to create apps for the iPhone. That’s a lot of competition. Can only the biggest developers (EA,Gameloft,Freeverse,etc.) make it into the Top 25? Nope, everyone’s welcome!

While its certainly possible to make great money with apps that never get into the Top 25, most developers want very badly to be on that list. Being in the Top 25 during the last week in 2009 meant a profit of between $12,000 and $22,000 a day.

Conventional marketing ideas have evolved as hoards of developers fight for spots in the lucrative Top 25. Outside of getting lucky (defined as getting featured by Apple, getting reviewed by one of the major review sites or getting into the Top 25 through pure chance), most developers end up looking at buying in-app ads for your app to boost sales numbers long enough to raise your rankings.

To get into the Top 25 with a free game, you’ll need to average more than 10,000 downloads per day. A Top 10 free app will average more than 20,000 downloads a day. Less ambitious? To be in the top 100 free games in a gaming category like Family Games, you’ll still need to average more than 2,000 downloads per day.

AdMob is currently the leading in-app advertising company. At AdMob, the minimum cost for a click on your ad is 5 cents. The highest conversion rate (how many people download your app after clicking on your ad) we’ve ever experienced is 20%. Using that as an average, you would have to purchase 50,000 clicks to get 10,000 downloads. That would add up to $2,500 per day. Note that this conversion rate would be optimistic for free games and would be much lower for paid games.

AdMob’s cost structure is based on bidding. That means that by bidding 5 cents per click, you’ll be competing against others who bid as much as 60 cents per click. In our experience, you would need to average at least 20 cents per click to actually get 50,000 clicks in a single day. That means $10,000 per day.

Our experience is that rankings on the App Store are based on a 3 day average. That means that you would need to maintain your ranking for 3 days to achieve the highest ranking possible.

Total cost to be in the Top 25 by advertising with AdMob? At least $30,000.

Too much? How about raising your ranking from 75 to 10 for a free game in a gaming category like Family Games? That would mean going from 1,000 downloads per day to at least 4,000 downloads per day. At least $9,000.

We have now tried this experiment 4 times for 3 different apps. Results have varied and are very hard to quantify. Our best results were for Spazzle, which went from several downloads a day and complete obscurity to 14th overall. Total ad spend: $5,850 (with another $4,600 after we got into the Top 25). This was in February of 2009 so the volume of the App Store was much less at the time. We were also on the front page of CNET, Digg and several other sites during that month.

Let’s say you read this article and decide to take the plunge (we’re not liable!). Let’s further say that you achieve the expected results (don’t blame us if you don’t). Congratulations! You now have a highly ranked app!!! How long will that last? For us, it depends entirely on the quality of the app. A great app with a great icon, name, screen shots and description may retain its position for months or years. Spazzle is still ranked in the top 50 in the Family Games category a year after its release.

Well, that about sums it up! Please let us know if you would like more information about any of this. Why not download Spazzle now! 😉

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Spazzle’s Count Up to a MILLION Downloads!

Our classic critter-whacking game, Spazzle!, is close to reaching 1 MILLION DOWNLOADS! To date, we’ve had over 982,000 customers download this popular fast-paced game…

To celebrate, we’ll be releasing 3 all-new levels with a new bonus item! Look for it soon on the App Store! That’ll be 15 levels total!

Help us reach a MILLION!

Download the full-featured free version today! (with ads)

Download the full-featured .99 version today! (no ads)

A HUGE thank you goes out to all of our customers who have made this game a smashing success! I’ll post updates to let you know when the new levels have been released and when we’ve hit our million download mark!

How an iPhone game can make a small difference…

Recently I received an email that contained a touching story about how one of our iPhone games, Spazzle!, has made a small difference in the lives of some folks who need regular physical therapy. With her permission, I am sharing the story with you. She wrote:

“So thought you would be interested to hear this – I just got Spazzle a few days ago. I have been playing a lot. Ok that’s the background.

“My mom (69) has MS and has had a flare up recently meaning I need to be spending time there to help out. Well we were waiting for one of the visiting Physical Therapists to arrive and I showed her my “new game” to like distract her. She thought it was cute and asked how to play. So I let her play around with it. The PT came in while she was playing and asked what game she was playing so she showed her. The PT was REALLY impressed and said that was a great game to help with her finger movement! So SHE is going to download it to have it as a distraction for patients she thinks can benefit from it!”

Spazzle has had almost 1 million downloads to date..

But this is my favorite one. 🙂

– fairlady

Whizzit Words iPhone game for kids 3-6 is now out!

screenshot1

Right on the heels of the successful launch of Whizzit Counting (a counting game for preschoolers), Fairlady Media is proud to announce release of a new game for the kiddies: Whizzit Words!

Game Description: What’s missing in the picture? Let’s find out! Touch the letters to spell a word and the missing item will magically appear! Don’t worry, Wilton the Weasel is there to help young spellers find the right letters to build the word.

Wilton the Weasel helps your child build a wordAs your children build words to fill in the missing part of the picture, they will be encouraged by our animated mascot, Wilton the Weasel. They will also be delighted with animated effects such as starbursts and balloons as they progress through the game.

“We created Whizzit Words to help develop pre-reading and reading skills in young children. The game passes the real test, which is that my own daughter loves it!” – Connie Bossert, Ph. D., Educational Psychology
The cow magically appears

Download Now!

We continually strive to improve our games; please let us know what you think (either in this blog or via App Store reviews). Thanks!

If you give a toddler an iPhone…

A toddler with an iPhone

A toddler with an iPhone

Recently Fairlady Media began developing educational games for preschoolers. I’ve asked a few others in the vast community of  iPhone/iPod Touch users to come up with the best advice they have for making the most of your little one’s interactions with your iPhone or iPod Touch. Here are some ideas:

1. Get a sturdy non-slip case to protect your expensive device. My kids are pretty good about not throwing my iPhone, but drops are inevitable. As one parent wrote, “My rubber case is a lifesaver” – Toucharcade user darchinst

2. Expect it to get sticky. No matter how clean his/her hands are, you’ll always get your iPhone back with “kid goo” and fingerprints smearing the entire surface. Eyeglasses cleaner works great to remove the smudges!

One Toucharcade user wrote: “My 7-year old brother usually gets a bunch of unidentifiable sticky stuff on the screen, and once got the home button almost permanently depressed, but never seriously damaged it.” – Kamazar

3. The quality of the apps is more important than you might think. You may think that a polished well-designed game is overkill for a 3 year old, but believe me, they know what’s good and what’s not. My daughter becomes just as easily bored with hack-job flash cards as I would. Check out the reviews and screen shots before buying.

4. If it’s in the educational category, here are a few key things to look for in the app description:

a) targeted age group (be cautious of games that provide too wide a range… rarely will an educational game be appropriate for ages 3-10!),
b) specific skills taught or reinforced (e.g. letters, numbers, words, etc),
c) specific descriptions of how skills are taught (e.g. through drill and practice, through animation, audio, video, interaction, gameplay, etc),
d) qualifications of the developers (e.g. parents, educators, learning specialists).

A child with an iPhone

A child with an iPhone

5. Check the age restrictions posted in the app description. Many Apps that LOOK kid-friendly (to a kid) are actually NOT kid-friendly. Consider grouping all of the kid-apps on one page of your device. Then tell your child to only select games from that
page.

6. Come to terms with the fact that if you give your child your iPhone, you may not get it back!

As one Dad wrote, “My 3.5 year old has been playing with my iPhone for the last 10 months. Loves it. To the point that when he sees me he doesn’t say “PAPA” any more. He shouts “iPhone” when I reach home, with a hell of a lot more enthusiasm!” – ImNoSuperMan, Toucharcade User

Many thanks to the users in Toucharcade for the great discussion on the topic:
http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=19354&highlight=toddler

– fairlady

Whizzit Counting game by Fairlady Media

Whizzit Counting game by Fairlady Media