With the release of Angry Birds spinoff Bad Piggies, mobile gamers are poised to download the high-profile Rovio paid app in significant quantities. After all, Angry Birds has already surpassed one billion downloads. Those aren’t numbers to sniff at and you can almost see the dollar signs glimmering in the eyes of aspiring developers.
Bad Piggies is not breaking totally new ground here: the game involves assembling a vehicle to get to a destination. Putting all the parts together in a certain timeframe with an intuitive interface and familiar characters sounds pretty straightforward. So what is Rovio’s secret to success?
Give the people what they want
Let’s face it: people want to be satisfied, they want to be satisfied cheaply and they want to perform an action and get results. You can confuse them with a roadmap of 43 screen taps in a certain combination to make a character move diagonally and swing a sword, but few are going to bother. The most successful games have an ease of understanding that drives popularity.
Just as Angry Birds wouldn’t be popular without the slingshot, Waterslide wouldn’t be popular if you couldn’t tilt the device from side to side for control. In Cut the Rope, people get satisfaction from slicing a rope and gaining from the action. How a developer puts only necessary parts together in an easy-to-use format makes all the difference.
Remember your market
Though some paid apps are incredibly complex, keep in mind the public is looking for a certain degree of simplicity in a mobile app. What will catch their eye when browsing through an endless list of available downloads? The most successful apps have several similarities.
A great many of them involve animals. They lean toward the color blue. They carry with them the idea of fun, which is indispensable when designing the app’s primary image. It’s easy to think some of this is a bit babyish, what with all the piggies and birdies and horsies, but for developers seeking the big bucks, an all-ages approach with wide appeal is essential.
Know when to launch
These days, it’s pretty much a dead idea to think you can work out the kinks in beta testing. The public reacts negatively to being used as guinea pigs; they want their apps in top condition right from the get go. Developers must find as many testers as possible before an app is launched and every detail must be thought of in advance.
Remember how quickly word of mouth can spread — you don’t want negative spin when you’ve just begun. You want to release your app in a timely manner, especially if you’re attempting to capitalize on a trending topic or fad, but don’t run headlong into problems and user discontent due to being hasty or unprepared.
Many developers talk about app marketing in very simple terms; “people hear about an app from their friends” is usually the bottom line. Of course, with trailers, viral marketing campaigns and social network ads, getting the word out about an app can be more complicated than that, but person-to-person communication is an undeniable force in app sales.
For those looking to promote on blogs, sending out info to a blog or two and hoping for fireworks is unrealistic. If the blog has 10 million daily readers, sure, but for most developers, plan for a marketing campaign of significant length as interest builds. Be prepared, be realistic, try to head off as many issues in advance and your app will ideally join the ranks of the most popular downloads.