Thursday 16th June 2011
Many a Little Makes a Mickle
This is the first in a (hopefully) long series of blog posts about the trials and tribulations of a small, newly created app development initiative. We will write our posts in a chronological order describing strategies, thoughts, insights, pitfalls, lessons learned etc in an honest and unbiased way. Feel free to come along for the ride.
It all started with two dads (read our story here) wanting to create quality apps for kids. We aren’t new to the game development scene but, as will be evident from our posts, we are definitely new to the iOS platform which we suspect will be our major platform for now at least.
Saying no to ads
Our first major strategy decision was a very hard one: Saying NO to the extra revenue streams provided by in app advertising and purchases and also saying NO to linking to the App Store from within our apps. Why did we decide to do this? Well, we knew that a lot of parents (ourselves included) weren’t too happy with the possibility of their children being tricked into buying “virtual raspberries” or being linked out of the app and into something they didn’t understand. After some research among kids we found out that they weren’t to happy with these annoyances either (see our press release about “Staying in the game”).
The big question now was; can we be profitable after both a very narrow segmentation of the market (kids apps) AND us saying no to the extra revenue streams capitalized on by most other developers? As we are just starting out, this question still hangs in the air but we have a strategy that we believe can counter the effects of narrow market segmentation and no extra income from ad revenue.
Making up for lost revenue
Most developers make one version of their app in English. A few of them take their time to translate the app description into other languages using Google Translate (which btw is a very bad idea…see below). Even fewer goes through the trouble of localizing their app which means they translate menus etc and embed the translations in the app so the app appears to be in your local language depending on settings in your phone.
We decided that the best way to counter the negative effects on revenue mentioned previously was to take the translation and localization part one step further. Thus we will produce a separate version of all our apps for every language that we have identified as “interesting” for us. At present that is English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.
On top of that we have also decided to create separate versions for iPhone, iPad and Android instead of just a universal iOS version as most other developers.
If you have any experience from developing for the iOS platform you will most likely say “these guys are crazy”. That will be too many versions to keep track of. You might be right, but we feel that with game ideas tailored for this approach and a cleverly constructed control system we are well suited to handle it.
The upside, of course, is that with 9 different language versions and 3 device platforms we will have 27 individual revenue streams per app we develop. Our goal is to develop 4-5 apps per year effectively adding 100+ revenue generating apps to our portfolio every year.