So I guess I am cursed. I don't know what to do anymore

I started my game developing journey around 2 years and a half ago. I worked really hard, because making it as an indie developer and be able to live on my own off this is my lifelong dream. Ended my first game after a fairly long development time.

200 downloads in 2 YEARS. 50 of them were bought off Facebook with paid promotion.

So I developed the next game.

around 780 in 1 year and a half, 700 of them were downloads because a MAJOR YOUTUBER promoted us during 2 days. As soon as the promotion was over, downloads dropped again to almost 0.

People who played our games (and we asked for honest opinions) enjoyed it, and found them fairly decent. We god good review scores overall in the store. We did paid facebook marketing and even got promoted by a really major youtuber that everyone where I live knows and yet whe the promo was over, all was back to 0.

Then, after some time off, I check this forum again, only to find users who started few months ago and in their first month achieved more than us in 2 YEARS AND A HALF. Then I check more about those cases and there was 0 promotion lots of the time. Just leaving the app in the store and just updating for fixes and improvements. The only thing that lasts is that our pics arent good or the store page attractive, but we have normal to good levels of page visits resulting on downloads. We just have abnormally low levels of visibility, even tho the descriptions are extensive and contain several keywords.

These are the games (I do not post them for you to download, but for you to check the pages and descriptions):

I just checked pages like SensorTower and among other things, our games appear to these pages with old names (if you visit them in the store itself, they are updated). If you run keyword spy features (ones which detect app keywords on the store), our apps only show the words on their titles, while many other apps show words from their descriptions.

It all seems like some sort of boycott, and after all this hard work paying off in 2 years 10 times less than what some users achieve in 2 months i am losing my will to continue with this dream. It’s like its rigged or something. I don’t expect outstanding numbers like some users have, but to have these numbers and visibility in a so wide timeframe is totally not normal with promotion while many others do so infinitely better in way shorter spans of time with ZERO promotion. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am working in a third release but I dunno if I want to finish my work anymore, seeing these results that look like google boycotted my account into low visibility.

Seeing users report achieving 30$ daily in the span of a few months while i couldnt even get a TOTAL OF FREAKING 10$ IN 2 YEARS is really really frustrating and disheartening.

Sorry, just wanted to vent.

EDIT: WHY THE **** are my game links linking to SPAM ad pages? what the hell is this? is it part of the ****ing curse or what? Anyone experinecing this too? They are CLEAN links ffs

Rocket Ace looks good (i just saw the video) will download it later.
If i had something that good I don’t see why i should have at least a few thousand downloads even without marketing.
Did you build growth into your game?
Like make certain “coins” or in-app purchases unlockable by sharing or facebook… or even rating

Sorry but you are ragging to much. Do you really think there is some sort of conspiracy to make your games failure? No - its a reality, market has changed so badly, that even great games fail, I know some companies worth 100 million $ + (you can imagine how much they spend on marketing) and they sometimes fail with their titles. Yes there are apps with very little marketing who managed to get decent amount of downloads, but really I do not know many people who think about this business seriously that they can success with ZERO marketing? In my opinion its bullshit.

I understand it must be pain to spend so much time only to fail… but realty, real world, JUNGLE, work hard or get lost. It looks like you did work hard (although your games seems to be quite simple) but its not enough any longer.

My question is, what do you really expect with all these your long posts? There will be no gold solution, I am sorry to say that.

BTW, my last game got slightly over 1 M downloads in 4 months and I consider it failure too, life is brutal.

Your games are very good, I don’t undertand why they weren’t succesful. Also I got little scared because we are currently making an infinite runner. Lets hope we don’t have your bad luck :stuck_out_tongue:

I am very sorry that you are not having the succes with your apps which you wanted. But come on, there is no conspiracy against you that the App Store is trying to make your game fail. Identify where you can do better (It is always possible to do MUCH better), start promoting your apps heavily, and work your a** off. In the end it WILL succeed. But it wont if you blame others for their success. They did something right, and somewhere along the line you must be doing something wrong. Identify what this is!

And i sincerely wish you the best of luck.

I will try to give you some feedback based on a lot of research I have done reading app network blogs, post mortems, game talks on youtube etc.

Note I am still working on my first real game so my advice is not really proven to work yet. I do expect to do well though since really I have read a lot.

You seem to be going for a more realistic 3D style which is VERY hard to do without putting people off. Your rocket ace infinite vertigo game for example kind of looks like you used some free assets to make a game in a couple days. Whether they are free or not does not matter what matters is if they are presented in a polished manner. I remember when I started working on my game I was looking at bomb assets on openclipart then the next day I see a new game using one of the bomb sprites. It looked like it was made for that game which kind of made me get even more serious about polish to see someone using random free assets but present them like they are high quality.

Honestly I do not know about 3D art too much but look at this picture. The style is very simple but looks extremely polished. Your games look a bit rough which is the problem I think. A somewhat bad game but polished will usually beat a more rough game. That is part of the reason I have not released a game yet. I spent a lot of time refining my asset creation skills and UX/UI. My current game looks easily 1000 times more polished than everything else I have made.

App Store Optimization
You seem to be targeting niches that I am not really familiar with, although I do not really play too many types of games. I am not completely sure though but they are not games I would think to download if I saw them or to search for them. Your appannie page for brick fall: unlimited jump has your keywords as brick jump, falling color bricks, falling brick, falling bricks. So then I went to googleplay and typed in “falling” but none of those showed up in the dropdown which means they are likely not getting much traffic. It also only had 3 options in the dropdown after falling instead of the normal 5 which I imagine means it has even lower traffic.

Sensor tower shows these for those keywords. I am not an ASO expert but I feel like your keywords are not really good. They have low traffic but pretty high difficulty.

falling brick 1.4 traffic, 6.0 difficulty
falling bricks 1.9 traffic, 7.5 difficulty
falling color bricks ? traffic, 8.6 difficulty

The games that show up with those keywords also do not seem to be anything like your game. Those keywords seem to be for tetris type games which means the few people who do search those keywords are not going to even think of playing your game.

Although google does not want people to keyword stuff and to make descriptions readable you still should aim to use targeted keywords in them. For example your short description (first 80 characters) “Climb up the never-ending tower! How high will you reach? Climb as fast as you c” has no keyword from your title. I don’t think any one will even search those words so you do not benefit at all from them. You also should mention the keywords you are targeting around 5 times throughout your full description. So for your main keywords you would try to have them in your title, once in your short description, and then 4 times in your full description. From your title keywords brick is mentioned once total in the description, fall is not mentioned at all but falling might still count, unlimited not mentioned anywhere, jump not mentioned anywhere.

Where did you try to spread your games? Making games is obviously not easy so to slack on your marketing can completely ruin your chance of success.
I will try to figure out what you did for your brick game.

It seems you posted to reddit /r/gaming which is popular but also extremely hard to get noticed in. I also think you had a topic removed for excessive promotion or something. Obviously you should really make an effort to follow the rules when you are posting in the popular subreddits since they can make or break a game. There are still more subreddits which are easier to get in and more accepting to indie games, some without any rules, which you should try posting in like below.
/r/gamedev - allows one post per game with some more rules

I only saw a couple more non apk sites the game was mentioned but they were not places that would get much traffic.

I have purposely inserted my self into many communities across all types of mediums like discord chat, slack chat, gitter chat, various irc chats, multiplayer android game chats, mmos, gaming forums, online chats etc pretty much just to spread my games to them. It feels a bit dirty to say that but it can work. Obviously they do not like people who do that so you have to actually try to seem like a real member of the community. The only way to do that is to actually become one. It is time consuming trying to be a constructive member in each community but some day I will promote my game in each place all at once which should raise my games google search ranking a lot. I think that also slightly affects your app store searches and obviously people can find the game through google searches so that is still nice by it self.

For example /r/gamedev “Feedback requests and once-per-game release threads are OK, but a considerable history of participation on /r/gamedev is required. Must be a Text Post.” A few months ago when I decided to finally release a polished game I had 0 karma in /r/gamedev which would mean that I would not be allowed to post there when it is done.

Now /r/gamedev has earned me two times more karma than my 2nd highest earning karma subreddit /r/learnprogramming, which also is high for promotional purposes. In /r/learnprogramming I plan on promoting my game by making a topic about how I have self taught my self programming to eventually create the game. In /r/gamedev I often have to actually research the person’s answer but still posting is important to not break reddit promotional rules. This reply is actually similar to some posts I write on /r/gamedev. Lately I am working on my karma in androidgaming since that place also has some posting requirements.

I have already had a bit of experience of google search engine optimization. When I first started inserting my self into communities my username (this is not my real username) did not show up at all since it was brand new. Now I top google search from various communities with my username which shows that my posting has helped a bit. Once I started to notice that trend I did a test to see how hard it would be to raise my rank of a github project from freecodecamp. My project was no where to be found at the start and then it showed up a couple pages back but now its actually the rank 1 project for the keywords I was doing the test with since I have backlinks to it from various different places.

I probably won’t put in this much work in marketing on every game but if this one is a success I can use it to cross promote my other games. Which is why I decided to start with a mass appeal highly polished simple casual puzzle game.

Having a “goldmine game” is’nt enough for you to succeed, you have to do a lot of work to promote your work after it is published.
ASO is one of them and the most important step of them. ASO stands for Appstore Optimissation.
Google this therm for best ASO practices.

Hello, guys!
I have seen the page of your games and found that your app is very interesting and cater to the interests of average people. About the situation that you have described, you have spent much time and efforts to promote your app, but the result is not perfect. I thought the big problem of your game is having little exposure rate. If you want to get more installs and more revenue from your app, you have to make your app become famous among people first, while the most effective methods of that is advertising:

As you have spent much time on your app, you might as well spend much money on advertising. I will share you some useful methods about app advertising:

1. put your app link on social media:some popular social media, like Facebook, Linkedin, have more potential audiences, you have to make use of this platform to popularize your app. But you should learn about your app and know the style of your app, putting your app in appropriate social media platforms.

2. advertise in forums:forums is another useful platform to advertise your app, exchange your app with other app developers to get more installs and reviews. If the content and function of your app is attractive indeed, more audiences will install your app when they browse these posts.

3. offline marketing: this methods means that you can advertise in some people-crowed places, like bus station, elevator and supermarket. You can’t underestimate the result of this method.

4. advertise in Google ads: you can put your app advertisement in Google ads directly, which can guide the audiences to installs your app indirectly.

5. content promotion: start blogs and essays are effective method to promote your app, you can introduce the function, content and other features of your app to increase the exposure rate of your app.

After the methods of advertising, you have to optimize your app with effective ways for the quality of app has important effect on app installs. To achieve this goal, I recommended you do the ASO work:

ASO is the abbreviation of app store optimization, which is a process of optimizing your app to make it more visible and discoverable in app stores so that users are more likely to choose it from millions of other apps.

why is the ASO important?

In fact, searching in app store is the main traffic sources, 73% app installs is from searching app in app store. With the other channels of installing app become increasingly weak, app store optimization plays an important part. As you have said you have added some keywords in your app description, the most essential part of ASO is increasing the value of the keywords, so I will share some details about creating proper keywords of your app:

b spy on competitors[/b]: you can analyze the keywords of your competitors, which can drive you find the targeted audiences’ interests and give you a right direction of creating your own keywords.

b relevance[/b]: the keywords of your app must be relevant to your app, which can increase the search ranking of your app keywords.

b competition[/b]: your keywords should be competitive but not too difficult. You can choose the popular keywords among users, and replace space with commas. Don’t repeat the keywords and keep track of it.

b localization[/b]: the language of your app should be suit for the targeted users. So you should learn the culture and habit of local people to help you .

the way of optimizing keywords:

1.add in title: title is the core part of an app, you can add the keywords to increase the exposure rate of your app.

2. add in description: this part mainly introduce the function and other details of your app, adding the keywords in description is a good way to increase the search ranking of your app.

3. add in IAP: IAP is also a important factor to affect the search ranking of your app, you can add some special but relevant keywords, like the name of requisit, to optimize your keywords.

4. buy keywords search installs: if you have enough budget, you could collaborate with a reliableapp store optimization company to help you get more installs and revenue from your app.

In addition to optimize the keywords, there are some other factors of ASO that need to optimize:

  1. optimize the title a beautiful icon
  2. create an attractive but special video
  3. beautify the screenshots of your app
  4. get more positive reviews and high ratings

Wish these methods will be useful!