How is the Mobile Market?

CleanWater

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Hi there!

RMMV have the ability to export to Android, but I never heard of any RM game being sold on Google Play or similar.

Is the RM games mobile market nonexistent? Anyone here published for mobile, have any insight about the market overall?
 

bgillisp

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Flooded. The last I heard was the average mobile game makes $1000. That's not profit, that's how much they get in sales. And I'm sure it has gotten worse since that was reported as I think that is a 3 - 4 year old statistic.

Now sure, since it is only an average, some will do better, but some will do worse. I'm sure there is probably a mobile game out there with 1 sale right now, somewhere.
 

Andar

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Most mobile players expect a free version and then either a paid premium version with extra content or micropayment for advantages - and the micropayment version only works for competitive games that get a lot of interest, something that MV is unlikely to get into without a lot of work.

And the option free base with paid extension has another problem - too few people who pay for the extension unless you put in a lot of work.
There are companies who publish games like that (they even have similiar engines and graphics), but most of those games show that they were "cheap work", for example I have one such game that is basically SF-based and where the enemies were renamed but still use the pictures of skeletons, vampires and so on that came with the engine - custom pictures fitting the story would have cost too much.

so basically the mobile market is nothing for indies unless you're only interested in getting your name out without profit (for example if your PC-version of a game is sufficient and the mobile version would be extra) or if you have the "perfect" ideas that will become the next game of the year (very low chance).

There are people who make money on the mobile market, but each such new idea is quickly followed by dozens of clones (check for example "last day on earth" and its clones) so if you don't have a team for quickly finish your idea and keep ahead of everyone else, you can't make money on the mobile market.
 

bgillisp

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And don't forget the games that spoof your title. When plants vs zombies was popular, very quickly there were 100's of clones of it. And some just were the same title with a slight misspelling, trying to trick those wanting the original into buying this instead. The classic one I heard of was plant vs zombie. And it was exactly as the title said, one plant vs one zombie.
 

Kyuukon

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How do ads work? I've seen lots of free apps going that route. Not sure how one would implement them in a RM game tho.
 

Countyoungblood

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The classic one I heard of was plant vs zombie. And it was exactly as the title said, one plant vs one zombie.
this makes me laugh out loud and very few things make me genuinely laugh at all.
 

Kyuukon

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People are desperate lol
 

jkweath

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My first game was made for Android. Finished it around August 2017, set it up on the Android store, and to this day I think it's made about $25.

Generally the loop on the Android market goes like this: Release game -- get lots of downloads -- Google sees you have a bunch of downloads and promotes your game -- you get even more downloads -- Google promotes your game even more -- you get the drift.

So if you don't get around 10,000 downloads and a ~4 star rating at the very beginning (IIRC, this is based off a Reddit thread from a mobile developer I read awhile back), you are screwed.

From my limited personal experience, it's bad. Very bad. Very, very bad. @Andar hit the nail on the head too - generally RPGs like the ones we make have an up-front price, but nowadays most consumers expect games to be free with in-game transactions or just ads.
 

Countyoungblood

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My first game was made for Android. Finished it around August 2017, set it up on the Android store, and to this day I think it's made about $25.

Generally the loop on the Android market goes like this: Release game -- get lots of downloads -- Google sees you have a bunch of downloads and promotes your game -- you get even more downloads -- Google promotes your game even more -- you get the drift.

So if you don't get around 10,000 downloads and a ~4 star rating at the very beginning (IIRC, this is based off a Reddit thread from a mobile developer I read awhile back), you are screwed.

From my limited personal experience, it's bad. Very bad. Very, very bad. @Andar hit the nail on the head too - generally RPGs like the ones we make have an up-front price, but nowadays most consumers expect games to be free with in-game transactions or just ads.
reminds me of what youtube has become. youtube used to have a section to promote random uploaders on the front page which would boost their views by a ton.. but now its just here is whats most popular make it even more popular.
 

jkweath

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@bgillisp Yep. I was thinking about that as I typed out that post.

To be honest I can almost understand why the Google Play Store is set up the way it is. Technically the barrier to entry is even lower than Steam's - IIRC it costs $25 to create a merchant account (which allows you to put commercial games on the app store, it's a one-time fee) and nothing is curated. There has to be a way to filter the actual good games from low effort drivel. Android's strategy is to basically bury any game that doesn't have at least 10,000 downloads and a 3.5 star rating or higher--and I didn't even mention they also factor in # of reviews and current installations (so if people uninstall your game, that counts against you too).

So the only apps you see are ones that either 1, are from big-name developers who already have a huge audience, and 2, people who used a CPI (cost-per-installation) service to essentially purchase downloads, reviews and installations to get their game up there. Obviously the CPI thing isn't supposed to be allowed, but from what I gathered a -LOT- of people do that because it's literally the only way to get promoted unless you ALREADY have a 10,000 plus audience.

Steam wasn't like this 3-4 years ago, but with the ever-increasing flood of games and the new Direct program, it's quickly headed in Google Play's direction (if it's not considered there already). I mean, I could be wrong. I hope to god I am.
 

Countyoungblood

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@bgillisp Yep. I was thinking about that as I typed out that post.

To be honest I can almost understand why the Google Play Store is set up the way it is. Technically the barrier to entry is even lower than Steam's - IIRC it costs $25 to create a merchant account (which allows you to put commercial games on the app store, it's a one-time fee) and nothing is curated. There has to be a way to filter the actual good games from low effort drivel. Android's strategy is to basically bury any game that doesn't have at least 10,000 downloads and a 3.5 star rating or higher--and I didn't even mention they also factor in # of reviews and current installations (so if people uninstall your game, that counts against you too).

So the only apps you see are ones that either 1, are from big-name developers who already have a huge audience, and 2, people who used a CPI (cost-per-installation) service to essentially purchase downloads, reviews and installations to get their game up there. Obviously the CPI thing isn't supposed to be allowed, but from what I gathered a -LOT- of people do that because it's literally the only way to get promoted unless you ALREADY have a 10,000 plus audience.

Steam wasn't like this 3-4 years ago, but with the ever-increasing flood of games and the new Direct program, it's quickly headed in Google Play's direction (if it's not considered there already). I mean, I could be wrong. I hope to god I am.
CPI sounds like what has become the real barrier to entry which isnt entirely a bad thing.. If your product is competitive then spending money to make money should be relatively painless.
 

Andar

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CPI sounds like what has become the real barrier to entry which isnt entirely a bad thing.. If your product is competitive then spending money to make money should be relatively painless.
the problem here is that this encourages average programs where the developers can spend money on ads and cpi over good programs where the developers spend most on their game.

There is a reason why this practice is discouraged and why people get kicked out if it is proven - it's because long-term this will result in less quality for more payment.
 

Countyoungblood

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the problem here is that this encourages average programs where the developers can spend money on ads and cpi over good programs where the developers spend most on their game.

There is a reason why this practice is discouraged and why people get kicked out if it is proven - it's because long-term this will result in less quality for more payment.
im not saying funding = quality but you cant deny there is a relationship between the two. if you're spending on breaking through this barrier you're likely also spending on talent which properly harnessed relates into higher quality. your product might be good quality but you cant speak for all the other junk thats getting pushed down into the junk drawer
 

jkweath

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@Countyoungblood I actually looked this up awhile back, and IIRC it costs around $1,000 to purchase 10,000 downloads, even more if you want ratings and reviews tacked on. There's a lotta small-time indie devs who simply can't afford that.

IMO it's a double-edged sword, because obviously needing CPI will shut out the average shovelware developer, but for anyone who has the money to invest, the CPI barrier can be easily overcome - and not all apps/games that overcome that barrier are good necessarily, it just means the developer had the money to spare. Of course, only the good apps will stick around as they get organic downloads, reviews, etc.

Buying reviews for Steam games isn't new apparently, but I honestly wonder if more developers might resort to nefarious practices like purchasing reviews, downloads, etc as it becomes harder and harder for small-time indie developers to make a name for themselves. I've already received an email from someone offering curator reviews from four different curators and purchasing reviews for the price of the game plus $3. I wouldn't be surprised if that person was getting a lot of business from that proposal.
 

Andar

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you're likely also spending on talent which properly harnessed relates into higher quality.
unfortunately that is wishfull thinking that only works as long as there is a minimum of true competition.
You only need quality if there are others who can compete with you, as soon as that requirement is gone you have monopoly where you don't need quality and can make extra money with crappy products.

and if you check around, there are more than enough people who are willing to spend money they have to get a monopoly, not only in programming but in every product or service type. There are reasons why there are laws against such market concentrations but unfortunately the reality often circumvents this.
Just check for competitions to ebay or to see what happened thirty years ago to netscape (and why) or dozens of other examples.
 

Countyoungblood

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unfortunately that is wishfull thinking that only works as long as there is a minimum of true competition.
You only need quality if there are others who can compete with you, as soon as that requirement is gone you have monopoly where you don't need quality and can make extra money with crappy products.
how is it wishful thinking? write the story yourself or hire a writer whos been writing for years. draw all the art or hire an artist. write the code or hire a programmer. what you can do versus what focused talents can do is drastically different and people work for money... it cant get more common sense than this.

the starting line of the competition we're discussing starts after investing in CPI (the real barrier to entry) if you cant enter the race you don't get to compete. fair really isnt the question. so how do we get quality? you hire talented people to leverage their talent towards your project and in this case money = quality.

wishful thinking nothing. you're basically calling me diluted while acting so yourself. this is business 101 bro.
 

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I don't think the mobile market is worth even trying, it's much harder to break in than the PC (or switch, where the money is today). Even if you get featured on the top of the charts, it's very unlikely you'll make any decent money.
 

Andar

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@Countyoungblood you have to think of how it looks from the other side.
as said above it costs around 1000$ to purchase 10K downloads - I don't know if that figure fits but it doesn't matter.
There are companies and people for which 1000$ is nothing, and if they decide to get to the market they'll start creating a monopol by pushing out a dozen cheap games each quarter, where they pay 2000$ for the game (which is nothing) and 2000$ for cpi, resulting in their games being the only ones seen.
And after two or three years when all independent developer have lost interest in the market, they'll only bring on their cheap games of low quality, forcing those games through with purchased downloads.

Your idea that purchased downloads will improve quality only works as long as the people who purchase the downloads are interested in quality AND have enough competition to enforce the interest in quality.

And if you check how fast every good idea is cloned - sometimes with the clones stealing the idea and getting the clone faster developed in lower quality because the copy company has more people than the indie who had the idea - then you'll understand that more money does NOT automatically create better games.
 

Countyoungblood

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I don't think the mobile market is worth even trying, it's much harder to break in than the PC (or switch, where the money is today). Even if you get featured on the top of the charts, it's very unlikely you'll make any decent money.
probably not with rpgmaker but being able to make a game and share it with friends who can play it on their phones is a pretty neat idea. Its poss
@Countyoungblood you have to think of how it looks from the other side.
as said above it costs around 1000$ to purchase 10K downloads - I don't know if that figure fits but it doesn't matter.
There are companies and people for which 1000$ is nothing, and if they decide to get to the market they'll start creating a monopol by pushing out a dozen cheap games each quarter, where they pay 2000$ for the game (which is nothing) and 2000$ for cpi, resulting in their games being the only ones seen.
And after two or three years when all independent developer have lost interest in the market, they'll only bring on their cheap games of low quality, forcing those games through with purchased downloads.

Your idea that purchased downloads will improve quality only works as long as the people who purchase the downloads are interested in quality AND have enough competition to enforce the interest in quality.

And if you check how fast every good idea is cloned - sometimes with the clones stealing the idea and getting the clone faster developed in lower quality because the copy company has more people than the indie who had the idea - then you'll understand that more money does NOT automatically create better games.
automatically? no. discernment is a skill and the challenge is choosing who to hire, what to do, where to do it.. ect.

I didnt intend to say purchasing downloads improves quality thats a miscommunication. rather to say, if you can afford to pay for CPI you can also afford to pay others to do work that no one person could do. multiple talents multiple challenges. like i already said if buying CPI is what it costs to play the game then thats what the competitors will do. AFTER you're actually visible to the consumer you can compete with others who are also visible to the consumer and its not even a zero sum game. YOU may not like the degree of quality that others are profiting from but its still a working strategy.
 

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