RPGMMobile Games, Apple iOS and Android Development


What is a $1.99 Game? (Updated)

I recently received a review for Roxy Dark (a $1.99 game) that said it wasn't worth $2, but only $1. Even though the reviewer made other useful comments, I couldn't help but get annoyed at that "$1" comment. So I thought to myself: What does a $1.99 game mean to me when I see it on the App Store? And I came up with two things it means to me:

1. A company has made a high-quality, kick-ass game and plans to pay its payroll, bills, and taxes by selling the game in bulk. The game is great, and they plan on getting tens of thousands of downloads via paid marketing, partner advertising, etc.

2. An independent developer has spent a long time and spent money from his (or her) own pocket to make a game he is really proud of. The game is probably fun and looks decent. They built it in their spare time, and hope to make enough to pay back what they spent.

The second scenario is where I am. I spent 5 solid months building Roxy Dark, spending money out of my pocket to do so. On top of that, I asked favors of people, and basically built the game on a negative budget, hoping to sell enough to at least make up for what I spent on the game (and maybe a little extra to help pay for the next game). And it was fun!

So yes, I plan on making Roxy Dark better by adding features and making improvements. And yes, I think the 150+ hours and hundreds of dollars I put into making this game already justify a $1.99 price tag.

These are very interesting times. When you can get a game for $0.99, published by a huge company -- and that same game would have been $30-40 on a console only a few years ago... The interesting part is: People would have paid a vastly higher price for the console version years ago. But today, people feel the right to complain about a $2 game.

So next time you see a game and mentally put a value to it that's LOWER than what the developer set, remember this: If you're buying from an indie developer, you're basically paying him two dollars for hundreds of hours of his work - and you just spent hundreds of dollars on your new iWhatever.

So feel free to critique our work, but cut us indie developers some slack, huh? =)


Update, 7/2/2012: It seems the reviewer mentioned above read this blog post and changed his review to 5 stars with a personal message to me. Maybe I did overreact. On the other hand, it totally sucked that the only review of my game told people how it wasn't worth a download.

Thanks, SilentMetronome. I appreciate that you actually checked the website / read the blog. Even more, I appreciate the adjustment of your score based on my passion for what I do. And don't worry, I already translated your criticisms into actionable items and started working on them. For example: I've already asked Roxy's illustrator to send me a few more poses, I've redone the Brickyard BG from scratch, and I've added about 20 Achievements in iTunes Connect for a future release.

There are a ton of lessons to be learned here. I'm glad to have this experience. If you want to contact me about Roxy Dark, or just to chat sometime: david -at- rpgm.org.