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How to launch on the App store

September 4, 2012

So as most of you know, I launched my second game on the app store, “Nuclien”.

It has been available for a few days now (I have 4 days of metrics)…and err…well it is not pretty.

So yeah, it turns out that I haven’t yet figured out how to do a successful launch on the appstore, but here are few things I now know to look ot for:

  • Category issues on the app store

I entered my games category as follows:

Primary Category: Games
Subcategory Puzzle
Subcategory Arcade

Secondary Category (Optional): Music


When the game launched, my primary category was nowhere to be seen, instead I launched in music, not even in a games category!  Right now, I feel like this is probably killed my launch more than anything else. I have emailed apple, who have been pretty helpful throughout. My hope is they will fix the issue and relist the game under new releases in the correct category, if not I have a few other things to try.


  • Setting the release date to instant without realising


I also found myself hunting for the “release game now button”….only to find out that by setting the price and setting the date of that price to now, that this actually means you are setting the game to launch as soon as it is approved. So if you are wondering about this, just set your price tier and date to sometime in the future, and then adjust it once apple have approved it (although I read that this can mean you miss the new releases section).


  • Meta Data and Inn App Purchases


Thirdly, I failed submission because I didn’t add the micro transactions to the game, essentially in the “metadata and uploads” section of the submission form there is a little box for micro-transactions,  if you forget to set this it will fail submission (there is another one in the same place for achievements and leaderboards, but I remembered that one!). If you submit your game and have forgotten to do this, upload the binary, reject it and then go through the process again. Once you have entered the “waiting for upload”  status you can no longer edit this data. Interestingly, with “Space Lift Danger Panic!” I rejected the binary for another reason, and then the in app purchases button and date disappeared altogether from the metadata page. So I am not sure what will happen with that release.


It’s worth noting that I didn’t have to do a full resubmission for Nuclien, just tick a box or two, I thought I was going to be waiting another 15 days, but no it was super quick at around 2.


  • Not checking USA holidays


I spent Sunday sending out emails to the press all day, however I didn’t realise it was labour day, so my emails are mixed in with not only 48 hours of weekend mail, but actually 72 hours of holiday mail! I didn’t really think about it, but mailing press should probably be done on a week day. With Hiragana Pixel Party the responses were a lot quicker.


  • Not having enough experience!


Well yeah, that’s what this is all about, my second app could have gone a lot better…still after this experience I have picked up a few things and can be better and stronger next time.


What to do now?


Well as you can see the sales have been epic:

But no press has come in yet, and the game was in the wrong category, so I really shouldn’t expect for it to have sold even that many copies!


So with V1.1 the category will be fixed, (although I will have still missed the new releases app store promotion), and if some press comes in that will help.

I will carry on promoting the app to press and people, (I have been putting myself out there for interviews and things).

I am also hoping that if another game does OK, my newly found slightly aggressive cross promotion techniques will kick in and help boost sales of Nuclien…You know what will be funny? “If Atomic Test Pilot” does better than all of them, when it’s only taken a couple of weeks of actual work!

I am also going to releases a Chinese language version at some point, the language will be partially supported in game, and fully supported in the description / screen shots etc (China is number 2 inthe app market – but they only really like free apps…)

I also thought about giving the game away for a bit, but I don’t think that will really get me very far.

I think my best bet is to get working on an alternate version of the game. “Once Space Lift Danger Panic!” is out on the shelves, and maybe Atomic test pilottoo, I will sit down and start on the next version of Nuclien, which is essentially a tool to sell copies of the original version! I won’t be making a “Lite” version or some such tacky thing, I am still thinking about what to do, but at the moment I am thinking it will be a smaller but new (and free!) game, I might even add extra content to it that can be purchased…but I don’t think I want to put adverts in, I still really hate them aesthetically.

On the plus side, even though I have only sold 37 copies (including one to myself) I have 5 reviews on the appstore: Mexico, Italy, UK, Austrailia and USA. Every one of them gives it 5 stars, so I really couldn’t be happier, it let’s me believe that the game doesn’t suck. (note, as a developer you cant review your own game! It won’t let you! – So I can’t get down with the false inflation of the game’s ranking)

here is the most recent review from the US – (if it’s someone  I know then this is a bit stupid, but as far as I know this review is from an internet stranger…):

“Awesome game *****
by Killersquirel

Nuclien has style in spades. This game has great graphics, great music, and has achieved the “just one more game” addictive style gameplay that many other games are sorely lacking. It starts simple, but soon gets tougher. I actually can’t think of anything negative to say about this game. Bravo!”

Atomic Test Pilot:

Why no more dev diaries? Well Friday I worked, Saturday I was blown away with the stress of nuclien appearing without me expecting it to (and an amazing meal at a fancy restaurant) then Sunday was emailing press all day trying to save things….Yesterday I also had to work (this isn’t feeling like two days a week working right now!)…so as you can imagine most of my time is spent on Nuclien, and by the way I submitted Space Lift Danger Panic! To the app store, and I am about done with Nuclien V1.1…

From → Uncategorized

  1. Stanislav permalink

    Guess which review is mine 😉

  2. Ahh, I think I know this! because of the title!?:

    Solo para masterminds ★★★★★

    by Quiero aprender japonés – Version 1.0 – Aug 30, 2012

    Este juego es en verdad adictivo y sofisticado, para gente que realmente le gusta la agilidad mental!

    If I am right, then you wrote our first review! awesome stuff 🙂 And if you are lucky enough to live in Mexico, then I am a very very jealous person!! one day I will come and visit you 🙂

  3. Stanislav permalink

    No, I live in Italy hehe 🙂

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