Abnormally low download number. Absurdly low visibility. Frustrating and confusing.

We recently published our game in the Google play store. It has been in the stores for 48 hours, but only downloaded 17 times (half of them being friends). It shows 22 visits to the store page. Is this for real? I have read about lots and lots and lots of users here posting their first days performance with their newly released games asking if “is this performance good” everyone with at least a hundred downloads per day… While we had only 22 VISITS (not even downloads), half of them being our friends to the store page. Is there any specific reason to have this absurdly low visibility? It doesnt make sense, its looks like if Google was burying our new game purposedly or something, because i can’t believe it when so many users report hundreds or at least 50 downloads a day without any kind of marketing nor friends downloading their game, and now we get this.

I do not think we have a ugly page store or that we don’t have keywords or that our game is of awful quality. The thing is that they don’t even get to visit the page in the first place. I don’t know what’s going wrong but after our 10 month project this is disheartening and frightening.

Link to the game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cardboardclaw.anticorerocketace

We are not posting the store page to get downloads, we post it to see if anyone can shed light about what’s wrong with our newly released game, because seeing lots and lots of games with 1-2 months of development time get hundreds of downloads with absolutely zero marketing involved while this one is having this performance is pretty confusing to be honest.

Cardboard Claw

Well we guess this is what happens. You spend 10 months of hard work, dedication and love in a game only for it to be instantly buried both in Android and iOs stores, when you see that the majority of visits to the pages turn into downloads, so you realize that the game is a flop not because of the quality of the game or the store pages, but because google and apple are making it totally invisible. It’s completely infurating, unfair andr frustrating seeing your game, which was almost 3 days in the air, only got 13 organic visits to the page (8 of which became installs). its infurating to feel like your game is being boycotted or something because everyone honest oppinion was good and the few people that have it are enjoying it. To know that your 10 month long journey is almost shut down in 3 days because somewhat the app is invisible to the public. And no, its not the “you have to market it” because we saw tons and tons and tons of poor quality apps with zero marketing get at least one hundred organic downloads in the first 2 days.

We would understand it if the game had bad quality, if the game crashed, if the game had a wrong gameplay perspective, if our page was badly crafted, if our screenshots werent well made, if our description was poor. This gets worse when you see a game that is literally yet-another-runner without even a death animation or sound for the character and with an ad after EVERY death, with poorly crafted graphics and probably made in 2 weeks get featured in a certain game section in the Apple app store, while our game got instantly buried and invisible. It’s completely unfair. Every time we see a “fail” story of game developing its some of the reasons listed above. We read hundreds of those to be prepared and not do the wrong things. We have a website, we have a support email, the game is decently crafted, we have a good description, title and graphic material, including trailers, facebook and twitter pages. We covered everything that could fail, yet our game is failing way more than all those fail stories in which the devs took way less effort, time and whose users had bad experiences. At least they got the hundred of downloads mark only in the android store in 4 days. We don’t have that even counting both stores. It doesnt make sense, its absurd, there is no logic on this flop. We have seen games made in 2 days that crash on startup have more visits and downloads than our game, and this surpasses any normal scenario.

If google or apple just sat down and decided “this app will not succeed” at least they should tell us, because this is not normal. Not even counting downloads, that in 4 whole days, only 13 people have seen the icon is NOT normal and we don’t know whats happening. As we stated above, the most infurating thing is that, for the few organic downloads we had, the user experience and satisfaction was good and each visit almost became a download. If our game wasn’t somehow force-buried it would be doing pretty well… This app discover rate is not normal even for apps with zero marketing.

We have to apologize for all this rant, but this is frustrating us. if our big project that everyone we showed liked is failing more than made-in-2-days games, what can we expect of the world of mobile gaming? Seems that quality is not important. We already had another good project planned but what for? Work on it with hope and love only for it to be buried while you see apps made in 1 week be featured on launch? We don’t know…

The most fun thing is that everyone says the first days of an app launch are the days it gets more exposure, visits and downloads. We don’t want to know then what will happen after our “great exposure time”…

I’m sorry dude, I know this is frustrating but you cannot expect to just publish something on the store and get downloads anymore. Those days are gone.
There are thousands of games just like yours on the store, and hundreds more are published everyday.
You need a marketing plan to get noticed in the middle of the crowd, otherwise you’ll just expect to get lucky or cry because you have thrown away months of hard work.
Visit the Marketing Methods session and try to get some tips there.

Welcome to mobile games development!

I know its frustrating, but nobody cares how long did it take you to make the game. Is it 1 day or 1 year? Whats matter is the result. I would recommend you to make small polished games, taking no longer than 1 month until you get a better feel of the store. Use these games to experiment with marketing, to learn about retention and its impact on the game, to improve ASO, etc. In parallel, spend a couple hours per day watching games on the store, and analyze them. Attractiveness and monetization; care about those 2 characteristics, the rest doesn’t really matter. (i.e. development time)

As UnluckyGuy said above, the days are long gone when you can publish a game and expect downloads to easily come without any marketing strategy whatsoever. Apple and Google are not burying your game, your game just cannot be found due to market saturation. How do you expect people to find your game if you do not do marketing or SEO?

One tip I can give is that your screenshots look good, but they do not immediately look like actual gameplay screenshots. Where is the pause button, score, controls, etc. in the screenshots?

I think all of us who tried to make mobile games learned that the hard way. Nowadays no marketing = no downloads, unless you get insanely lucky and gain virality somehow. That said, it’s better to just bet on the lottery instead of just making games to throw on app stores. Even if they are obviously polished and took months of hard work, the world doesn’t really care.

I actually tried it. Some feedback:

  • 60 Mb may be too much for a lot of people (not much to do here, I know)
  • The game requires lot of permissions that most people will reject on a game (accounts/phone calls, etc.)
  • The (portuguese, at least) tutorial translation is not that good, could not understand some parts of the text. The menu’s translation is actually ok.
  • The game just went into a black screen after I finished the tutorial, no crash. I needed to kill the process and reopen to play.
  • The UI/menus are awesome, really liked it.
  • As a fellow developer, I obviously recognize lot’s of work and polish on the game. I actually feel bad that it’s not doing that well in the store.

We were not expecting to be gold right on launch day without doing nothing. Our concerns are about the visibility to be expected with no marketing whatsoever (even though we did some marketing). Many games (and recent) we see that have more visits to their pages without ANY marketing nor any ASO done. We have a worse performance than apps without marketing or ASO and that is what is concerning us. Most people report hundred of downloads in their first 2 days (thousands if they do marketing) We got like 20-30 VISITS in 3.5 days…thats why i say it’s not normal.

There are no problems with monetization, retention or store page attractive, since the majority of visits turn into installs. Also we have well thought monetization done in our game and the general level of satisfaction with players is good. Our only problem is that the game is simply not seen. They don’t get to see our icon to be able to judge the game. That is the very problem. I know the most common problems are ASO, videos, screenshots, icon, and user retention. But in our case the problem ist that our game doesn’t get to be judged because it’s invisible. And it’s invisible in a strange way, since as i said before i always see new game devs hit 100 downloads within their first 2-3 days (even if their game fails but they at least ALWAYS get that with no marketing). We are scared that something is wrong.

If there is a problem with the Search engine optimization, what to do? We have followed every advice and were careful about that and just don’t know what to do. (specially when search engine seems to treat apps without any marketing nor ASO infinitely better, no logic)

Thanks for the feedback. We are working on reducing permissions to, and the tutorial glitch will be solved in the next update.

Its funny how you ask for advice but at the same time you answer yourself. The game has many problems besides visibility (which is a huge problem already).

  1. Is it really well monetized? I don’t see it getting more than 5 cents per download…
  2. Do people really want a 3d looking rocket game? Not sure about it. Name and icon don´t really help much.
  3. I don´t think retention would be even decent, i couldn´t find a reason to play more than 5 minutes, and the game felt laggy on my Tab4

I don´t mind to be rude or pessimistic, i just want to prevent u loosing another 10 months, i have also lost 1 year making a game that sucks.

Go for smaller projects while you learn

Its not mandatory 100 download first day.The total calculation come as 30 days total install for new app.But better for give priority to first 7 days as much download u can bring.More over it simply depends on your game quality if that too good then lot of people will download more.But you can still increase download by first day using social sharing in different platform.

Garlic & Water

What keywords are you aiming to on iOS? It’s incredibly low, really bad ranking shown on AppAnnie

Its sad in fact! I think in addition to the corrections which other members have suggested you should also go for a marketing plan. There is a section available on this forum through which you can get some instant downloads and reviews simply by downloading and reviewing other members apps. However, the game itself is looking too promising though I haven’t downloaded it but I have checked that video and the shots which are available on play-store. In my view, you should also think about reducing it to a completely free app for a few days at leas. Wish you good luck ahead, and gonna download / try later indeed.

It’s really sad that you are experiencing poor download for a free app (ads-free) , I have personally download, played and reviewed your game and I must confess it really great almost like a game produced by a big company except for few things like missions, achievements, different characters and game UI (I know your game menu ui is reallllllly coooooooool) but the game play ui is empty, no time, score, points etc. And also try and optimize your game size 50+ mb might be too much, and also remove as much permission as you can, your game request 2 much permission for a good game. All the same, never give up, look into these sugesstions and release an ios version in order to maximize profit, and start marketing your game like crazy.

i like the video for the game, so i download it on my iphone 4s. After the unity splash screen, a rocket flies as a loading bar and at %80 the app crashes. i tried it 3 times with no luck. Apple and gp monitor these crashes… do not underestimate the value of testing… especially if you invest 10 months for a single game.

I am surprised why you haven’t implemented any marketing strategy when you could invest 10 months developing the game itself. Until the people install your game, there is no benefit. Although your game could be the best one out there.

Your game is excellent excellent, but change your GP icon and screenshot, buy 10-50 review and add Fb advertising in 3 tiers country, after having a good install attacks 1er tiers country.

If I may ask, what wrong with the icon, cause I think it’s cool. He only need to make is screenshot look more professional.


This is my opinion, please don’t be angry with me.
Your game is cool, but I have some advices that could improve your download rate:

ScreenShots: Try to use more graphics. Make a full image with another chars, a text. For example you can use your screenshot inside a phone mockup, create the background as your game and user a good font with good colors to retain the viewer.

Icon: Your Icon is cool, but be aware of text ( small devices with low dpi won’t read the text ). Personally, I’d try to make the icon with some “shine”. That would catch more to the eye.

Translation: VERY BAD! I’m Portuguese and in the store I saw the translated text. The problem? It’s non-sense. For a Portuguese People doesn’t make sense what we are reading at your store description. It have errors and doesn’t make sense, really. Why should anyone download your software when they doesn’t know what’s your game is and don’t even understand what you are trying to transmit?

Same here, 3 people spent 1 year on a game full-time (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.agentrungame.agentrun). We tried hard to do our best, but the game completely flopped. I know it’s frustrating.
My smaller games (1-3 month) are more successful and if they fail I don’t care that much.