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How to do mobile discovery badly by Apple (allegedly)

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Apple versus AppGratis – a solution for all parties!

Apple v AppGratis

Apple v AppGratis

There has been a lot of coverage of how Apple has decided to treat app discovery service App Gratis – see here for an example (PocketGamer.biz).

It seems to me that there is an easy way for both Apple and the ‘discovery app’ services to coexist; change the chart ranking system to be based on an engagement-based measure rather than simplistic downloads.

As AppGratis, TapJoy and many others have shown; you can fake popularity through incentivised downloads/increased visibility but only for the short term (unless you have truly mammoth marketing budgets – but nobody will continue to prop up a game that isn’t actually performing in the longer term). You can’t fake popularity if it is measured in terms of true engagement unless you but a million iPhones and have an army of pretend users who will play crap games all day for free.

Apple (or any other store) should provide a dead easy API that any game or app updated every time it was used (offline plays could be batched up and posted when the device hits wifi or the cellular network). Hell, they could team up with the likes of Flurry and have it done in a week.

That way:

[1] Apple gets charts that reflect how (truly) popular all games are based on how frequently people play them and for what duration.

[2] The app discovery services still provide the ‘discovery’ aspect….and it is then down to the quality of the game itself and the developer’s quality of service/optimisation/new content that dictates how long that game stays in the charts.

[3] As a player I will trust the charts more as they now reflect sustained popularity (engagement) over short term marketing-driven bursts of visibility. Equally, the ‘newcomers’ chart will be geared towards those games that are boosted either by paid or by naturally viral means.

[4] As a indie developer I don’t feel that the chart is artificial and unobtainable if I work at building awareness through the games press and social media for my games

[5] As a developer/publisher with ad spend budget I can buy my initial visibility e.g. take a gamble that my app will perform (sufficiently to recoup my additional investment in marketing)

Every one is happy!

#simples

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