Today is the first anniversary of the release of my only items in the iPhone App Store: versions 0 and 1 (aka the free version and the paid version) of Bedeviled: The Most Diabolical Sliding Puzzle Game Ever!
I hadn’t expected to get rich on Bedeviled. For one thing, after fifteen years in the freelance programming business, I have no illusions of getting rich off of anything I’m likely to do. After having to get a new laptop (my circa-2003 “Windtunnel” G4 desktop doesn’t have one of them newfangled Intel chips) and an iPod touch just to develop for the iPhone OS, I was hoping to maybe break even. After deciding to invest in Unity for the development of Bedeviled (back when you had to pay for the base product and the iPhone addon), I wasn’t expecting to do even that.
Being one of those people who likes to share information, though, I was anticipating sharing my sales figures with other developers, especially my colleagues in the Director community, particularly those who had made or were contemplating the iPhone market. I was especially impressed by the openness of other iPhone game developers, like Australia’s Firemint, who put together a 16-page PDF report of sales figures covering the period from just before their Flight Control game took off to become one of the biggest hits of 2009. I thought it would be rather amusing to put together a similarly-formatted report for Bedeviled, just because the contrast was going to be huge. But I do love statistics.
I regret to inform everyone that I have failed to do so. Bedeviled came out on the Friday before July 4 weekend last year, amid a flurry of iOS 3 applications that were launched following the update’s mid-June release date. For that and whatever other reasons (poor marketing?), not only did Bedeviled fail to sell but people didn’t even download the free version in any significant numbers. And by significant, I mean that in the first month about 250 people had downloaded the free version and 20 (most of whom I knew) had spent 99¢ to buy a copy. Needless to say, the numbers didn’t pick up after the first month. After a certain point, I stopped bothering to download the reports from iTunes Connect; it was quite apparent that without some infusion of advertising (and that’s no guarantee) I wasn’t going to see a penny from that particular project. Currently, Apple only sends you a check if the amount you’ve earned in a particular territory (US, Canada, Europe, Japan, etc.) is greater than an equivalent to $150, and since you only get 70¢ of each $1 in sales, you need to sell about $215 worth of product in a territory to get paid. 20 copies in the first month wasn’t going to do it.
So here’s the rundown: 1 sale in Europe (thank you Czech Republic!) in July 2009. 2 copies in Canada, one last July, one in January. 39 copies in the US, with most of them in the first month and no sales since April. That’s what I have to share. It’s kind of bleak but make of it what you will.
I’ve got plans for Bedeviled 2.