PWN: Combat Hacking creator gives up on iOS due to the 'hard sell' of mobile gaming
Now focusing on making PC games
Indie game developer Erik Asmussen has given up on iOS in favour of the empowerment that making games for PC gives him.
Asmussen spoke about this decision in an interview with Gamasutra.
"I finally gave up on iOS after I got a 'Best New Games' feature and saw how little revenue that actually brought in," Asmussen said.
"The risk/reward profile was just terrible, combined with annoying barriers like having to put all updates through a review process. So I decided to switch to PC. That has proven to be a good decision by any measure."
The game that was featured by Apple was Asmussen's Silver Award-winning iPad strategy game PWN: Combat Hacking.
Apparently, it earned about $10k, which isn't as great as it sounds when you consider "that it took a year to build and about $3-4K in art," as Asmussen revealed.
It wasn't just this that motivated his decision. He also cites the "hard sell" of mobile games, and its "winner-take-all" market.
Asmussen compared these difficulties to the options available to him when making his multiplayer PC game Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball, and putting it up on Steam Early Access.
"On PC you can release alpha builds, post a webplayer on your site, get YouTube attention, give out tons of keys, and build up a community of fans over a long period of time," Asmussen said.
"As a result, Disco Dodgeball has significantly outperformed any of my mobile games - and it's not even released yet."
Of course, this is the experience of only one person, who has seen more success with his multiplayer games on PC than on iOS.
And, although Asmussen points to the inconvenience of Apple's review system as being one factor that swayed him, Steam does have a similar system.
Yep, you have to go through Steam Greenlight before you can put a PC game on Steam. Luckily, that's not as much of a problem as it used to be, as the rate of approvals on Greenlight has increased in recent months.
Also worth noting is that there are developers trying out the viability of Early Access models on mobile platforms. Nubs' Adventure is the most recent one that springs to mind.
The creator of Nubs' Adventure was inspired to adopt this model by seeing it work for PC games. So, perhaps other ways of empowering developers on PC might also be transferable to mobile platforms.
Not that efforts like that would win back Asmussen any time soon, so it seems, but perhaps there's some room for experimenting in the mobile market yet.