Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's been about three months since I posted here. See, Praetor was just a huge undertaking and it left me kind of exhausted--so I took about a month off from doing anything other than the most essential bugfixing for my games, and concentrated on other stuff. Got my third-degree black belt. Turned 40. That kind of stuff.

And since it's been a full quarter since Praetor hit the markets, I bet you're all just dying to know how well it's selling. Well, I've got good news and bad there.

First, Praetor has unquestionably been a hit. It's in the phone's Top Downloads list just half a dozen flicks of the finger down from the top, far above many games--including some Xbox Live games--that I would've considered top notch. It has amassed over 100 reviews, almost all 4 or 5 stars (average is rounded to .5's, and stands at 4.5) and almost all using words like "incredible" and "amazing." I confess that I'm a little addicted to checking for new reviews a couple of times a day, just for the minor ego boost.

So subjectively, the game is doing well in the marketplace. Here's a more objective set of metrics: to date Praetor has racked up 1150 sales out of approximately 6000 downloads. That's a conversion rate of nearly 20%--extremely solid, especially considering that the app currently on the market doesn't even have an in-game link to make purchasing easy.

But in absolute numbers, 1150 sales isn't very much--not for a game that's doing so well by all the other metrics. Praetor sells at 99 cents, and I get 70% of that as gross income--so I'm making 70 cents per sale, which means to date Praetor has turned in about $800. Subtract the several hundred that I invested in outsourcing for music and graphics, and the yearly fee for being in the WP7 marketplace at all, and I'd be lucky to have netted half that. Subtract another 30% for taxes, and the 10% that I'm paying my son (who helped me come up with content for the game) and I'm left with about enough to support my Starbucks habit. Year of work == Starbucks habit. Yikes.

So I'm going to try something I never thought I would try: I'm going to release a second version of Praetor, this one free and displaying ads. Word on the developers' forums is that ad-supported apps are generating far more revenue than their paid equivalents, and it was the work of only one night to add the necessary code. Will give it a shot and see what happens.

In the mean time, after my brief "break" I've picked up working on the second episode of Praetor. Actually I just finished coding and testing battle number 47; when I finish number 50 I'll give it a little more testing and release version 2.0 to the world. I've also decided to increase the price to $1.99 for the non-ad-supported version; after all, there's twice the content now, so why not twice the price? If it drives more people to the ad version, well, so be it; I'll get paid there too.

I hope, anyway.


  1. So 1.99 for people buying the set? Does that include people who already bought episode 1? Or do we get a $.99 Upgrade?

  2. Upgrades are always free, even if the price for new purchasers changes. So if you got in at $0.99, you can just ride the upgrade waves forever with no charges.

  3. Wish you the best for this great game and its upcoming episodes
    Well balanced, a lot of fun .. but you already know that
    Posted the 1st review here in France on my WP7 and gave a well deserved 5 stars ^^

  4. Hey, thanks! Those 5-star reviews make a big difference to me: they move the app higher in the marketplace's rankings, which in turn means a lot more downloads. Plus, I love reading them.

    I hope you continue to enjoy the game. :)