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Could a iphone/ipod dev answer a few questions for me?

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Hi there.

My name is Adrian Manser, I am a student at the school gleeson college, currently in year 11. A subject for year 11 is the research project, where we are to come up with and answer a guiding question in an outcome and folio. My guiding question is; what makes a successful iphone game?
So, if somebody could please answer a few questions for me, it would be just great. Thanks.

What do you think successful games have in common?

How important do you think graphics are in iPhone games? Why?

How would you go about marketing your games, and do you believe marketing plays a big part in what makes a iPhone game successful?

How did you go about choosing the music in your games? Do you believe music and sound played a big part in how successful a game is?

Now, everything in this interview will be used in my research project, and I will be annotating this interview. If you could answer these questions as soon as possible, it would be great.


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Hi Adrian.

I'll answer you with my little experience.

- Success: Most successful iPhone games are simple and with a very consistent aesthetic. But mostly they found the right moment to achieve that success, someones call it luck.

- Graphics: Are important as long as they make your experience fun and if nothing looks out of context.

- Marketing: Mouth to mouth is the best option. But featuring your game in blogs works great.

- Music: Same as graphics, it must be consistent. I believe music, and sound effects too, is a must be. Treat that matter carefully.

Hope this helps.


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I'm currently employed at a game developer for ios, with 7-10 titles on the app store (depending on how you count), with a success ranging from "very successful" to "quite successfull", these are my answers. They are possibly a bit biased toward a bit more traditional game dev, where we have a higher single price on the title, and does not do in app purchases or free to play stuff.

- Success: Timing, Idea, Execution - in that order. Its not really that different from any other product development.

Timing is what some people call luck, but to attribute it to only luck isn't really the whole picture. (hard to explain consistently successful studios with just "luck", even though luck definitely plays a big role in the "getting known"-phase)
Idea is gameplay that fits well on the platform (what that is, is a whole topic of its own), and is fun (same here...), if its a bit innovative too, its a bonus, but not really a must.
And also important is to have a short game play session, something you can just pick up and play for a couple of minutes now and then.
The "just one more"-factor is good too
I guess those two file under "fits well on the platform"

- Graphics: Very. The screen shots in the app store is usually what the user chooses on. Also a good looking icon that explains the game in a glance is very important.
doesn't mean you need to have tons of graphics guys, but you absolutely need a good and consistent style, that doesn't cloud the gameplay, and appeals to your target audience.

- Marketing: the most important marketing tool of all is trying to get featured in the app store. You do that by delivering consistently good titles that show off the platform in some way. They also like if your title is exclusive to the platform (at least at launch). No other way is even close to being as effective, and most are very expensive. Next best thing is word of mouth, and there is a lot you can do there to make sure its easy for your players to show off the game to their friends (and that they want to).
Blogs and such are good to get the word of mouth starting, but you can't depend on it having a big impact, and typically very few of your customers will see any of them.
There is a lot of talk about more shady ways of marketing, but honestly I don't know much about those, we don't use any of them.
You definitely do not _have_ to use them to be successful, as I've seen some people try to suggest.

- Music:
Less important then graphics (people do not really notice it until after buying), but still quite important.
consistent and fit with the style and gameplay, or it will feel cheap. should not be too annoying [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
You use music to enhance the mood of your game Edited by Olof Hedman

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