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Unity Asset Store

Posted by Matt Carr, 01 May 2011 · 886 views

As an indie game developer it is hard to find the ideal marketplace for your current needs. Depending on your circumstances, the time and budget you have available will vary, as will the required monetary success.

Thus far through South East Games' short existence, our focus, like most others, has been the iOS App Store. While it can't be denied that success on the iOS devices is possible, achieving it can be more difficult than the thousands of aspiring game developers that have tried might have hoped. While we're still trying to find the spare time to finish our current in-development iOS (and other platforms) title, I thought it might be worth testing the water in some other markets. First, the Unity Asset Store.

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Unity launched their Asset Store as a built in window in Unity 3.1 in mid November 2010. Upon release I was interested in getting in early with some products in the hope that being early would have the potential to be successful whether the store ended up a viable marketplace or not. Unfortunately as is often the case, my full time job became too busy at the time and I wasn't able to complete the product I was working on.

Over the past few days I've been reminded of the Asset Store once again thanks to a few blog posts showing some relatively successful products. First, Unity showcased their top seller on their own company blog.

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A&B Software's products are first-class and fill voids that the core Unity product releases with, namely an advanced GUI system and a 2D sprite manager.

While ~$15,600 isn't a massive number when we're used to seeing news of the million selling iOS game or the tens of thousands of dollars Notch rakes in daily from MineCraft, it is still a very desirable number for many developers and it's on a store that has a fraction of a percent of the competition as other marketplaces. This is not a one in a million proposition.

Lets take a look at the featured product shown in the first image in this post, RageSpline. I saw the creator's blog post detailing his successful first five days on the store after Unity's lead graphics programmer linked to it on Twitter (@aras_p). 61 sales in 5 days at $50 each is a fantastic result, and since that post it seems to have continued selling just as fast or even faster.

For an experienced programmer, neither RageSpline nor A&B Software's products are difficult to develop, but they found holes and filled them. They've also both created polished products and have spent the time to create videos and showing off how to use their software and also the results it can achieve. I think this is a very important factor in their success.

The way I see it, the prioritised list of things to consider when developing something for the Asset Store is:

  • Find something people want that is not built into Unity
  • Develop a solid product with as much flexibilty (i.e. Inspector options, etc) as the design allows
  • Create videos that show off your product's ease of use and results in the best possible light
  • Brand your product

My final point there is mainly based on a hunch. Branding is obviously a significant aspect of many retail markets and I won't begin to understand the intricacies. A&B Software's Brady Wright has his 'EZ' branding and Juha Kiili can reuse the 'Rage' prefix on future products. If confronted in future with two competing products that do essentially the same thing, if one is branded with a name you trust from one of their previous products, that will be the one you choose.

So now I will begin at step 1, looking into holes in Unity that I think could use filling. The holes may not be immediately visible. RageSpline is an example of a product that fills a void you previously did not know was there, and Juha came to it through chance when working on his own title. I have some ideas already, but comparing features with other game engines and reading complaints on the Unity forum seem like a good place to start the search.

I will post back once I find the product and begin development. I'll also post any and all details on the submission process, sales, etc when the time comes.

Also posted on the South East Games blog.

I'll certainly be curious as to how you get on, as I've been considering doing something similar recently. :)
It's been a typically busy work week so I've been waiting for the weekend to tear into this. It shouldn't take too long to get what I'm thinking up and running so I should be posting progress in the next couple of days.
Interesting post to say the least. 9 times out of 10 if you make something that is useful to the community "someone" will buy it. The trick is getting enough people to "want" it enough to buy it. Good luck with this.
I'm the creator of RageSpline mentioned in the article.

Just like to chime in with few extra points. I'm no veteran in this and if you read my blog post about 5d/3k$, you'll notice how I got pretty much sucked in Asset Store by accident. Very happy accident if I may add.

I'd like to say that pricing has a influence on what matters. If you price is very low, say 20$, then it's more like App Store. Your store icon/graphics/visibility matters more. If you are asking 200$, then people will always research more and the decision is more weighted on documentation, user reviews, how professional does your site/support/etc seem.

When I put my product in the Asset Store, I didn't really have a clue, but I figured that my product's actual value is atleast double the 50$ that I'm asking. I was unknown at the forums and my product was new. I didn't have any documentation, pure instructional videos or website (still don't but working on it). I felt that it's better to sell cheap and then raise the prize after the product matures and you get your shit together.

Also the low price made it possible to write the "sensational" blog post which attracted 20k page views in 3 days, which in turn has now attracted more viral stuff like reviews.

Just my two cents.

btw. the sales are not over 10 units per day anymore, since the hype is calmed down, but I'll be doing a follow up post after one month is due (which is 23th).

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