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How does an Indie "break" into the iOS market?

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I guess my first question is this: Is this the appropriate forum for someone to ask for advice on marketing an iPhone/iPad game before and after the App Store submission?

I'll be releasing a game onto the App Store soon, but I'm a much better developer than a salesperson. After following advice at

and using this site as a road map:


I did announce the project's development to a score of websites and offered my share of ad-hoc builds and future promo codes...but I've hardly gotten any responses. I'm not sure what steps to take next between now and the App Store submission. So, two questions:

- What is a "media partner" and how do I get one?
- Are there any iPhone game developers here who can give me any sagely advice on marketing? It's one thing to get a link to a webpage with advice, but chatting with some devs who have had experience would really be enlightening. I also watched a video from GDC about it; it helped a bit but I'm still largely in the dark.

Hope to hear back from someone; until then, the Google searches and Apple forums lurking will continue.

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You need to answer a simple question - given that there are already tens of thousands of games available for iPhone and (last time I checked) around 20 new ones per day, why should anyone download/play your game?

When you have worked out an answer to that question you need to tell it to the press in a way that is interesting and different from the dozens of other people who email them every day.

Beside that you can write a blog, set up a facebook page, twitter and post promo videos on Youtube. You could waste huge amounts of money paying for adverts that almost certainly won't ever recoup and praying for a miracle may help too.

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Since I'm at the same spot, but more from the business side, I made some research and helped
two people to bring their games to the IOS and Android store. We learned a lot and I want to
share that. Disclosure: those games wheren't big successes. They one on Android was
even removed because too many complaints of people with their strange units and the developer
didn't want to spend more time on it.

The links you provided where are good start. But they fall a little bit in the same trap
all other "helping" articles fall: they ignore the fact that the initial Goldrush in the mobile
(game) space is practically over. There is no magic words you can say at certain places
and everything will happen good. It won't.

Let's analyze what other projects do to get their games "downloaded":

+ Advertisement. Lots and lots and lots of Advertisement

(Big) companies don't need the immediate return. They contingent for a piece of the market,
not for the success for one game. You can't compete with that strategy as an "indie",
since you need "the current game" to be successful to fund the next

+ Proven Trademark, Proven Product

If you own any well known gaming trademark, you can sell practically underwear with it

+ Shiny, high end production value

Some have remarkable graphics. Other have remarkable usability. This is expensive.
Its targeted for the top 10% of the app-space and will "practically" sell itself.
Many late arrivals to the IOS and Android space are simply cloners. But they clone
so well...and they look impeccable.

+ Novel, intriguing, interesting game play with pitch perfect implementation

Big companies can deliver that. But the Indy can, too. That's practically
the ONLY thing an Indy can deliver in direct competition.

Don't clone that thing with the birds. Don't bring in the 100s boring
flash game conversion you played 5 month ago. Every body goes that route,
and 98% "fail" the one way or another.

All the games made by one person (besides graphics and/or sound-help)
and went to be successes LATE in the IOS market where small novel ideas that
had good to perfect production value. And the developer listened to the
customers with updates and usability problems. Not to mention crash reports.

Look at all the charts. Remove the names, the trademarks, the shiny ones
and the clones. Look at the ones that are left and you will see, that
they stand out because NOTHING equal exists - and if it exists, is
sometimes not even close in quality, usability, game play, user support.

If you don't have any sort of idea or at least sensational polish or anything,
no top 100 checklist will bring you anywhere. Yeah, you will look occupied,
you will tell people "I have checked everything on the list! E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!"

And we see that type of blog posts more and more. It wont work 98% of time.
Creating buzz for mediocre stuff requires money which indies simply do not have.

* Luck

No, I didn't left that out. I find it strange that some people include it
in their checklists. Luck isn't on any "plan". I read all "success stories".
There isn't one game on the "luck" list that isn't well developed, has a novel
idea done right and an addicting game play. (I just ignore that early ones with
the fart button for the sake of the argument).

You can't play lottery without buying a lottery ticket. The lottery ticket
to the IOS (android) market requires quite an amount of creativity, dedication
and the ability to create something addicting.

There was once one guy who asked in a forum like this, how he could enter
the "Fantasy Novel" market. He has written two large novels, but nobody
would print them. Someone asked for some reading examples.

After a day he returned and asked: Why is the main characters name always
written in different ways: "Haris" "Harris" or "Harys"? Its confusing!

The writer answered "I find that amusing".

Yeah. But nobody else. If you write for someone else in a crowded market,
without any marketing dollars, you simply need to have this bold idea with
pitch perfect execution. The same is valid for any other "creative" market.

And thats also the reason, why Youtube doesn't have an upload of a sensational
made movies "every week". Because everybody can upload his sleepy cat or
his little brother falling from the couch.

If you game is sensational, it will find its audience simply by patience.
Then you can use all that "guerrilla tactics" you find on the net to promote it.

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