Thursday, December 23, 2010

Three months of Portaballing

It's been three months since Portaball got released. I figured it's a good time to make a summary of this period. To begin with, I've got mixed feelings regarding Portaball's success. When I jumped into the iPhone development and started working on Portaball, I was hoping to sell 1000 copies. Considering that I didn't have any experience in serious programming not to mention fact that I've never finished any programming project it was quite an optimistic projection.

Soon after release it turned out I underestimated my own piece of work. Portaball is actually quite good game. AppStore reviewers seem to like it a lot, currently averaging at 4.5 stars. Review sites also seem to enjoy Portaball. Grades aren't that great, however it's mostly due to the fact that they're based on 1.0 and 1.1 versions of Portaball. Obviously it's my problem, I should have made Portaball better at the very beginning. However, if it wasn't for customers' feedback I would have had absolutely no idea how to improve. It's a lesson learned: make your beta tests group larger than 1 friend ;)

As of today, 2970 people bought Portaball (including promo codes). It's quite disappointing. I think the problem was lack of advertising. At the very beginning I've decided I didn't want to spend any money, plus, any ad campaign would require a lot of funding to even be noticeable. Making threads on forums and throwing promo codes at people does little as well. However, my largest sorrow was getting ignored by TouchArcade. I'm aware of fact that TA rarely reviews puzzle games and Portaball ain't that awesome, but I believe that getting noticed by this site could have a great influence.

As you can see on the graph, the sales were inconsistent. Every time the sales rose, it was due to being featured by Apple. Moreover, getting featured is the only way to actually sell any significant amounts. Those flat weeks mean selling a dozen copies a day at most.

The highest Portaball ever got was 8th in Top Paid in Poland. Portaball was reviewed by the biggest Polish Apple-oriented website - Here's the historic moment:

Unfortunately Polish market is relatively small, not to mention that Portaball was in top 25 only for two days. Still, I'm happy for this achievement. I'll keep this picture as a happy reminder.

Summing up, AppStore is hard. I think it's fair to say that indies days are gone. Sure, it still happens that an excellent game developer appears and makes some serious impact, Matt Rix is great example. The thing is, iPhone gaming has gotten much more serious with titles like Real Racing, Infinity Blade and all the EA's stuff. It's almost impossible to compete with their resources. There is one thing that indie devs can do: make your game as great, as polished, as fascinating, as fun to play as possible. That's what it's always been about anyway!


  1. Here's my two cents. Good work, and good luck. :D

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  3. Thanks for the great game, I love it.

    Just a question though... is level 28 of set 2 (rightful forces) broken or am I missing something ?

  4. You are missing something, but it's very tricky. I believe it's one of my best levels ;) Should you find it impossible after all just e-mail me and I'll provide you with solution