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Is the Apple App Store a Casino?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the dulcinea's-life-makes-ten-billion dept.

The Almighty Buck 542

An anonymous reader writes "Fast Company takes a look at the Apple App Store and concludes that it's a casino where most developers are making tragic losses and a tiny few are striking it filthy rich. The article discusses a new book exposing the App Store millionaires, called 'Appillionaires,' which compares the psychological effects of a hit app on a programmer to a gambler's high. One millionaire programmer explains the intense feeling of being in the top-ten: 'The App Store had established some kind of intravenous connection to my body and was pumping me full of Apple-branded heroin.' But, the piece warns, the majority of developers fail to make any return on their app."

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Welcome to real world (5, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922322)

This is how it works. Tiny few become really rich, most barely make a living. Some better, some worse. It's not a casino, and it's not limited to app store.

Re:Welcome to real world (4, Insightful)

ArrowBay (2326316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922466)

Exactly so. If I remember my economics properly...

  • The average new small business closes shop in two years or less. Most of the rest close up within the first five years. Anything after that is likely to be a success.
  • There are thousands of new products introduced every month in stores across America. Better than 80% of them are failures. Most of the rest might achieve niche success.

OMG! The free market is a casino!

Re:Welcome to real world (1, Interesting)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922522)

Do not compare this to other software distributors. The 99$ tag that you HAVE to pay per year to have your app in the appstore make it extremely hard for anyone to be able to make a profit (especially when apple will take 30% of anything they sell). I won't go into the top-app lists that are most likelly rigged or anything like that, but if I make a software, host it on github and publicize it on facebook, I won't be loosing anything other than my time...

In this case people loose actual money. And the "filthy rich" also raised the bar on what has to be done in order to sell, requiring each time bigger teams to do an acceptable game or application, while the price tag is still expected to be low.

The whole ecosystem is flawed, and the only way to fix it would be for Apple (or any other distributor) to publicize good unknown apps. For Apple it'll be really easy, if they have to review every app, then they use every app. Having a ranking of the best apps they reviewed daily (or weekly) would give those with talent but without money a fighting chance. Steam tries to do this, but unfortunately Valve seems to be the exception and not the rule. :\

Re:Welcome to real world (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922636)

If you sell your app for 99 cents, you only need sell ~144 copies in the year to break even on the $99 developers' program cost.

That's small peanuts. Even moderately cheap webhosting would cost you that much for a year.

Re:Welcome to real world (0)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922946)

If you sell your app for 99 cents, you only need sell ~144 copies in the year to break even on the $99 developers' program cost.

If you ignore development costs, yes.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922980)

Which again has nothing to do with the $99. Development costs are much larger than the fee you have to pay to Apple.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37923024)

That's why I specified "developers' program cost"; it seems to be the nit the GP wanted to pick.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922644)

Do not compare this to other software distributors. The 99$ tag that you HAVE to pay per year to have your app in the appstore make it extremely hard for anyone to be able to make a profit (especially when apple will take 30% of anything they sell).

So if you're selling your app at $0.99 you need to sell about 130 copies a year to break even on the fees. That's a little more than two per week.

That doesn't sound too rough to me.

Re:Welcome to real world (2)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922860)

After a week you won't be selling any more copies, BTW, unless you are in the top 50. One of the game I published with some friends even got some awards, which pushed us some more people. We had both a pay for it game, and a trial with an upgrade path release. We made some money over the 99$, but then you have extra fees that are added by apple to move the money out and such, and, in the end, we only lost our time and money. It was only a 1 week project for the fun of it, but still the quality was on par with the other products, and all the feedback we got from our friends and family was overwhelming. Had we decided to pay for advertisement, I guess we would have fared better. I guess that's where the most need to be invested.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922936)

After a week you won't be selling any more copies, BTW, unless you are in the top 50.

Then the $99 is irrelevant.

People start a business without a business plan and most of them don't make money. Full story at 11.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922672)

I'll give you the $99 if you stop your whining. Then what will you lose?

And you're complaining that others have done a good job on their app, so you have to do a better job on your app? Oh, the humanity!

And why is it Apple's job to market your app? They already host it, deliver it, take care of all billing.
It's not like there aren't app review sites all over the web already.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922678)

You have a misunderstanding that Apple wants a lot of small time developers--they do not. They want professional looking software, not a bunch of hobbyist junk. F the little guy, basically. You know who are the only people complaining? The little guys--most iNerds don't want hobbyist looking stuff anyway.

Re:Welcome to real world (5, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922740)

Do not compare this to other software distributors. The 99$ tag that you HAVE to pay per year to have your app in the appstore make it extremely hard for anyone to be able to make a profit

If $99 is the difference between profit and loss, was it really worth trying to make any money anyway? That's 0.5-1-2 days work at minimum wage in most developed countries.

Better to put your time into a free app, and feel good about it, rather than stressing about your $99.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

romanval (556418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922938)

If your business or hobby can't shell out $99 a year... then you don't have a serious business/hobby.

Heck, there are people that spend many thousands of dollars on things that have a very low chance of a return; such as being a successful artist/musician, sports, or auto racer.

Re:Welcome to real world (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922952)

The 99$ tag that you HAVE to pay per year to have your app in the appstore make it extremely hard for anyone to be able to make a profit

Good grief! The only way that charge would stop you making a profit, is if your profit was going to be less than $99 a year. Which would already be a failure, unless you're a schoolkid wanting to buy the occasional candy bar.

It amounts to 143 apps at 99c. Per year. If you can't sell that, then you're wasting everyone's time with your shitty app.

$99 per year isn't any barrier to anyone who is selling an app. It's only a barrier to people that want to do free apps. And of them only the subset who don't have any other financial incentive for the app.

I make a software, host it on github and publicize it on facebook, I won't be loosing anything other than my time...

Which apparently is worth less than $99 per annum.

Meanwhile back in the land of reality, outside school kids bedrooms, real for profit developers consider $99+30% take to be a bargain. Anyone who's actually had any experience of the old ways: credit cards, chargebacks, hosting, programming reg-code systems, issuing reg-codes, reminding people of reg-codes. It's all a bore, and distracts from development. With the App Store, once you've sent it to Apple and got it approved, you just wait for the money to come in. And fix any bugs that come along.

Final point: If you're taking it seriously, $99 will be far less than you pay for a designer for an icon and other app and website graphic assets.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922546)

This is how it works. Tiny few become really rich, most barely make a living. Some better, some worse. It's not a casino, and it's not limited to app store.

Exactly. Equating this to a casino is rather stupid, although given the complete and utter breakdown of regulation within the financial sector, I can see why people of all ages and investment risks would consider Wall Street nothing but a huge gamble these days.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922684)

But if you think of Apple as "The House" and the Apple Application Developers as "The Gamblers" the saying that "The House always wins" resonates. As opposed to Windows Application Developers who don't directly add to the bottom lines of the controllers of their Operating System vendors or Linux Application Developers who don't have typical OS vendors.

Re:Welcome to real world (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922874)

But if you think of Apple as "The House" and the Apple Application Developers as "The Gamblers" the saying that "The House always wins" resonates.

The correct term would be "the market creator always wins", which isn't necessarily true. If no one wants the devices your app store is available on then you're definitely not winning by any measure. (I suspect the Kobo bookstore will go this route eventually, even though I love my kobo.)

This "it's a casino!" rhetoric is entertaining, but it is only rhetoric.

No kidding (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922792)

All that's really happening here is that millions of low-selling software applications, instead of being sold in the far-flung corners of the internet, have now been gathered into one place: the Apple App Store. So the fact that most applications are not actually all that successful is just more visible now than it once was.

Re:Welcome to real world (-1, Troll)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922908)

This is how it works. Tiny few become really rich, most barely make a living. Some better, some worse. It's not a casino, and it's not limited to app store.

Yeah, that's called Reaganomics.

Like everything else (2)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922338)

Sounds like the results of putting an App for sale in the App store is like putting an App for sale anywhere.

Re:Like everything else (0)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922582)

This is not unique to Apple's app store, but with the entrance fee (99$/year) and the high margin apple charges (30%) allied to the fact that new apps get almost no visibility, the app store is worse than, lets say, steam (for example).

Re:Like everything else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922712)

Most games on Steam also get almost no visibility, unless they agree to a massive price cut for a sale, and Steam also takes roughly 30%. Microsoft and the Xbox Live Marketplace is no different.

Newsflash: publishing software involves expenses (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922840)

And if you were to do it yourself, at a minimum you'd require 1) a web domain ($20/year), 2) web hosting (price varies, but certainly $30/year), 3) advertising of some sort (price?). The point is that you're actually getting something in exchange for what you pay Apple. It's not like in the absence of the App Store, you'd be able to market and distribute software for nothing.

Re:Newsflash: publishing software involves expense (2)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922904)


You forgot the cost of setting up an actual online shop. SSL certificates aren't free, nor are online card processors which take a percentage.

But hey, at least he'd be saving $99 and sticking it to The Man... :)

This is different from any other market how? (4, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922344)

If John Q. Wallet invents some must-have widget which is easy to manufacture, cheap, and available everywhere; and suddenly sells millions of them, I'll bet he's feeling pretty good about that too. However, if he invents something that is a piece of crap that no one buys, he's going to have just as much of a loss.

This phenomenon is hardly new, and certainly not localized to the iTunes App Store.

Chance, not merit (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922472)

"Must-have widget" vs. "piece of crap" isn't perfectly correlated to "sells millions" vs. "no one buys". As I understood the article, what people end up discovering to buy is a matter of chance, not merit.

Re:Chance, not merit (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922542)

Just because you don't understand why one app succeeds and another fails doesn't mean there is no reason. It is a complicated equation, and usefulness is only one variable.

Which other variables? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922758)

Could you please help explain the variables other than usefulness that both MachineShedFred and I missed?

Re:Which other variables? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922934)

I didn't see you point out marketing; and I'm not even talking about advertising.

It took me *ages* to find a useful repository browser that allowed for full editing and repo management for the iPad. It isn't because it didn't exist, it's because it was so damn hard to figure out what the apps actually did.

Did they support authenticated svn? Did they allow tabbed editing? How well were differences handled? etc. etc. etc.

Eventually, I found one that suited my purpose wonderfully for a mere $6 or so. I've been a happy camper ever since but they only made that sale because they finally wrote a reasonable description.

Now what I'm saying isn't exactly separate from usefulness. But my point is that other apps quite likely do the same things, maybe even better, but if they don't convey that to me effectively I'll never risk supporting crap software.

Re:Which other variables? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922960)

Could you please help explain the variables other than usefulness that both MachineShedFred and I missed?

Off the top of my head;
Usefulness
Ease of use
Presentation
Integration with similar apps
Availability of a free trial version
Quality of the written description
Search optimization of description
Size of established user base
Availability or implied availability of customer support
Aesthetics
Word of mouth/other third party promotion
Quality of side channel promotion

Re:This is different from any other market how? (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922618)

The problem is not mediocre apps that get no sells, it's the extremely good apps that cost a lot of money to make and get no visibility anywhere (its really really hard to make it to a top list), making it a big gamble. Unless your app is exceptional and word of mouth makes you rise, you have a very little chance of getting anywhere near a profit. Not all low-selling apps are crap...

Re:This is different from any other market how? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922780)

The problem is not mediocre apps that get no sells, it's the extremely good apps that cost a lot of money to make and get no visibility anywhere (its really really hard to make it to a top list), making it a big gamble. Unless your app is exceptional and word of mouth makes you rise, you have a very little chance of getting anywhere near a profit. Not all low-selling apps are crap...

So? How is this different from a non-app store program? You are certainly allowed to advertise your app, market it in any way desired.

There are plenty of excellent programs that have never achieved commercial success. There are no guarantees. You plops your money down and takes your chances.

And don't go whining about the $99 dollars. That's less than you pay for Mountain Dew and Cheetos.

Re:This is different from any other market how? (1, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922910)

So, you have to make a good product, price it well, and market it well?

Why, that's almost like ANY FUCKING PRODUCT.

Re:This is different from any other market how? (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37923010)

If John Q. Wallet invents some must-have widget which is easy to manufacture, cheap, and available everywhere; and suddenly sells millions of them, I'll bet he's feeling pretty good about that too. However, if he invents something that is a piece of crap that no one buys, he's going to have just as much of a loss.

This phenomenon is hardly new, and certainly not localized to the iTunes App Store.

"Just as much of a loss" is a bit of an overstatement. I doubt John Q. Wallet invested millions into an app. At most, John Q. Wallet's real loss was a couple Saturday morning cartoons making his piece of crap.

Also, "is easy to manufacture, cheap, and available everywhere" doesn't apply to a digital store.

On the other hand, there are game companies that make excellent games for thousands of dollars, but can't make it to any front page because there are thousands of companies just like them pouring in thousands of dollars. Still, the chance that $50,000 could turn into $5,000,000 is hard to pass up. Just look at the crap that is making money. Angry birds, Fruit Ninja, and Plants vs. Zombies are just cartoons based on old flash games. I happen to like all three, but I don't consider them "must-have". It's not like they are brilliant innovations. They simply have the appeal of cheap, simple cartoon violence.

Dupe (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922346)

"Very few people are making it big from a platform whose curator charges $99 per year to run your own programs on your own hardware plus 30 percent of the price for all purchases from the only available app store."

Where have I heard that one before [slashdot.org]?

As opposed to ...? (1)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922592)

brick and mortar resellers charge far more than 30%.

...Android Market (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922730)

As opposed to Android, which doesn't charge $99 per year and allows distribution of APKs outside Android Market.

My point is that a lot of people appear to forget that Apple copied the iOS developer program's pricing structure directly from that of Xbox Live Indie Games, just as I had originally predicted when Apple first announced the iOS 2 developer program.

Re:...Android Market (1, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37923022)

99 bucks is a small price to pay to play in a market that actually produces revenue, unlike the android market.

Re:As opposed to ...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922762)

Yes! Standard wholesale discount is 40% off MSRP... and this is for regular goods.. not software, which I imagine gets an even larger discount (since the cost to manufacture each copy is less).

And in that 30% apple gets, don't forget they have to process the credit card payment.. which is going to be (for a company of apples size) $0.10-$0.20 on that 99 cent app.

Tragic losses? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922366)

it costs $99 a year to be an iOS developer. Assuming you also had to buy a mac, let's add $1000 (that'll get you a nice mac mini).

I hardly call that tragic losses.

*Note: those are the only two app store specific costs. Yeah people spend money making shitty software all the time, that's not unique to Apple or iOS

Re:Tragic losses? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922458)

I would assume they are factoring in the usual overhead that non-indie development houses have:
- Multi-million dollar per year executive compensation team
- A-grade star voice acting
- 3-d art department
- product licenses (the official scooby doo ifart app as opposed to just another ifart app, etc)
- RIAA licensed music instead of magnatune or none
- release parties
- marketing

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922708)

And those have nothing in particular to do with iOS or Apple, as I said in my post.

You should learn to read, it's a great skill to have.

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922488)

it costs $99 a year to be an iOS developer. Assuming you also had to buy a mac, let's add $1000 (that'll get you a nice mac mini).

I hardly call that tragic losses.

Spending lots of time on a project that no one uses can be pretty tragic to a developer. Especially if you had other people in mind as your users, which is generally the case.

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922666)

Spending lots of time learning a new platform or programming something fun isn't exactly a tragic loss in my book. Yeah, if you just sit there an think about how no one uses the app you think is cool and worked hard on it can be a little depressing. Trying to find something positive in a bad situation can make life a lot happy and easier for you.

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922800)

As with the other reply, this has nothing to do with iOS or Apple.

What you're saying is that creating a new business is risky? STOP THE PRESSES!

Try reading, and thinking... It does the mind good.

Tragic losses? (2)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922372)

Isn't the developer fee like $100 a year? That seems incredibly removed from tragic. Yes, a developer or team might spend some of their own money to develop an app or advertise it, but that money is going elsewhere, and not Apple (except for buying the required Macs to actually develop). So it doesn't seem like a casino to me, just inexperience or bad reading of the market.

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

BenJury (977929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922468)

Now factor in the cost of your time vs working in a 'normal' job, time spent in both learning the new technology, writing the app and then supporting it.

If your Mac is too old (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922504)

I've read comments in past stories about the iOS developer program from people who own a Mac but still can't develop because the Mac is too old to run recent Xcode. So you end up having to depreciate the Mac and the iPod touch on which to test as annual expenses just like the developer fee.

Re:If your Mac is too old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922574)

Any Mac more recent than 2006-2007 (x86-64 architecture Macs) should be good enough to run the iOS dev tools.

The depreciation schedule (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922682)

So if you need a 2007 Mac to run the iOS developer tools, then you need a new Mac every four or five years (to depreciate at $150 per year for a Mac mini or $250 per year for a MacBook Air). Combine this with a new iPod touch every two years (to depreciate at $150 per year), and we can estimate the total cost of hardware plus certificate at $400 to $500 per year.

Re:The depreciation schedule (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922894)

If the only reason you buy a new Mac every few years is to put it to use in a business, you ought to be able to write off the full amount as a Section 179 expense instead of depreciating.

Re:The depreciation schedule (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37923000)

Explain how this is different than any other development environment. Developers always want/need the fastest machines. They probably upgrade Windows machines faster than every 4-5 years.

Re:If your Mac is too old (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922714)

Only Macs that are more than half a decade old (PowerPC) can't run the iOS version of Xcode. But, yeah, that's not already depreciated?

Every few years (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922832)

But, yeah, that's not already depreciated?

Some people have posted comments to previous articles about the iOS developer program claiming that anybody should be able to afford $99. They appear to treat the required hardware as a one-time expense and forget that one needs to replace both the Mac and the iPod touch with the current model every few years.

Re:Every few years (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922966)

And how is this different from any other software development platform?

Newer computers have newer features - speed, memory, storage, usb3, etc. that you may have to upgrade for your program. Can you do Xbox programming on a Pentium 4? No? Then what's the difference? Can you do Xbox programming without Visual Studio? No? Then what's the difference?

Re:Every few years (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922982)

If the app hasn't been making any profits for 2 or 3 years, do you really spend money on hardware upgrades to keep developing it?

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922732)

Do you really think every app is done by a single person stuck in their basement? If you want quality you need at least 2 or 3 people (I'd say a good programmers and a good artist AT LEAST, nevermind sounds and whatnot). Most apps will require a bit more than that. Then, if you're a team, you need a place to be. A place costs money, so does electricity and maintenance. (etc etc)

Then you get your shiny app to the store, where you get no visibility whatsoever and where getting to a top list is almost impossible (and where the same apps and developers seem to be a recurring theme). And there you have to give 30% of every sale to apple.

Do you really think it's easy to get a profit like that? Yes, it's hard to make a profit anywhere, but the appstore is a a harder place to do it. Not impossible, just extremely hard.

Re:Tragic losses? (2)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922812)

Like any other gold rush, the first people in make a ton and everyone who follows them goes broke trying to match it. Unless you just have an amazing idea that hasn't been done before by anyone and doesn't require you to run a server to make the app work--I'd think twice about diving in with both feet this late in the game.

Re:Tragic losses? (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922794)

There can be significant costs in acquiring/licensing art/music assets for games for a start. But perhaps even more insidious is that all of the most useful apps I can think of have some sort of cloud component--which means that someone, somewhere, has to have a server to support to the app. That means monthly bandwidth/hosting cost obligations into the foreseeable future. If your app sells, great. If not . . . you're kinda screwed. And then, of course, there's the fact that you're only allowed to develop on a Mac, so your start-up costs might not be insignificant either.

More like a mining boom (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922388)

I see it more like a mining boom. Apple sells the picks and shovels. In 10 years their platform might be a ghost town. Let's see, how much more can we beat this dead horse of an Old West analogy...

Re:More like a mining boom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922796)

you can lead the readers of slashdot to water, but you can't make them drink...

Welcome to the free market economy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922396)

I suspect this will look like a lot of other comments to follow, but hey, if you publish something, and it hits home with people, you'll succeed. How to "hit home with people" is the key, and it's what most programmer types don't know -- they know code, they know algorithms, they know UI... but they don't (typically) know marketing... how to target a need, how to target a niche. That's why one or two guy development shops fail, but 5-10 guy development shops (with at least one or two marketing people) in them can succeed.

This is not science. This is understanding human behavior.

So how does one find a marketing guy? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922620)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

they don't (typically) know marketing... how to target a need, how to target a niche. That's why one or two guy development shops fail, but 5-10 guy development shops (with at least one or two marketing people) in them can succeed.

So what's a reliable formula from expanding from two guys to 5-10? Or must one first move to Seattle and learn the video game business at an established video game developer?

Re:So how does one find a marketing guy? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922692)

The only reliable formula for success in any endeavor is to keep trying till it works.

Just like XBLIG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922398)

Same thing with the Xbox live indie games channel

Occupy the App Store (0, Troll)

murphyje (965004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922400)

We demand people fairly buy all of the apps on the App Store! Any app that is not bought fairly is being discriminated against!

Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922416)

First Apple was like a cult, then it was like a religion, now it's like a casino. Seriously how stupid do you have to be to believe this crap?

Re:Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922512)

Sounds like the Catholic Church, although they prefer Bingo to roulette.

Yah Huh (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922428)

'The App Store had established some kind of intravenous connection to my body and was pumping me full of Apple-branded heroin.

Gee, you think this is the sentence that got this story approved for Slashdot?

It's not a Casino, because it's not about lack. (2)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922474)

Success in a Casino is about lack.

Making a successful application is about ability.

Make a good and fun game, and you will profit from it.

Make an exceptional game over an original idea, and win a fortune.

Make a mediocre ripoff of an idea already implemented a thousand times, have a loss.

It is nothing like a Casino.

Quality is not perfectly correlated to sales. (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922572)

Make a good and fun game, and you will profit from it.

Not if next to nobody finds your good and fun game, or even your exceptional game over an original idea, because all the median user is looking for is a specific Rovio product.

Re:Quality is not perfectly correlated to sales. (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922834)

If nobody knows about your app, that's your failure, not Apple's. It's called "marketing," and it's usually a precursor to "sales."

Article is shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922486)

Dumbass contrasts the ET debacle with the inability to see all these hobbyists not making money today... Whatever fuckwit. ET was published by a huge established company. There is absolutely no comparison to the "embarrassment" of ET and a hobbyist programmer producing bargin bin shit no one wants, either today or back then.. Go fuck yourself, "journalists"

It's not a Casino, because it's not about luck. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922518)

Success in a Casino is about luck.

Making a successful application is about ability.

Make a good and fun game, and you will profit from it.

Make an exceptional game over an original idea, and win a fortune.

Make a mediocre ripoff of an idea already implemented a thousand times, have a loss.

It is nothing like a Casino.

(repost in order to correct silly grammatical error that resulted in a different meaning)

Re:It's not a Casino, because it's not about luck. (2)

aarku (151823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922760)

I can only speak as a game developer, but I have yet to be pointed to a game on the App Store that didn't make any money but had all the pieces together to be a commercially successful game.

Re:It's not a Casino, because it's not about luck. (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922816)

A quality app alone does not make it profitable. The biggest challenge is marketing your app so that people know about it.

the casino metaphor's fundamental flaw (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922560)

The winner in the casino is fundamentally deterministic, whereas with the app store, it's mostly a matter of luck.

Re:the casino metaphor's fundamental flaw (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922788)

Oh it's deterministic in the app store too. No matter who wins and who loses, Apple wins.

Re:the casino metaphor's fundamental flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922828)

The winner in the casino is fundamentally deterministic, whereas with the app store, it's mostly a matter of luck.

Funny you should mention that, because the house always wins.

Definition of a Casino (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922608)

I'm pretty sure that's not the working definition of a Casino but yes like most businesses apps fail most of the time. Nothing to see here, move along.

Natural (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922652)

It's a natural effect to accomplishment. You take a shot and build an app, succeeding is the rush you get. Same thing with betting and any other site you are on. Hell, the same could be said about making it to the front page of Digg or Reddit.

You've all missed the point - RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922690)

It's the "buzz" and feedback effect your app gets once it's in the top 10 / top 50 that causes such a disparity.

Ironically by adding an element of random selection to the top 10, perhaps selecting 10 at random from the top 50... or instead, selecting the top 50 from the top 500 (all of which are quality apps) you could probably spread the money a bit better, and Apple could probably sell more apps overall!

Look where others aren't (4, Interesting)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922694)

If you develop yet another puzzle game, you're up to compete with the Zingas of the world, and chances are you'll hit the wall. On the other hand, if you focus on solving real problems and using the advantages of the platform to improve your customer's life, you might be onto something. Case in point, Appfluence (disclaimer: I co-founded it). We make Priority Matrix, a productivity app for a niche market that highly values time savings and clarity of mind. We're nowhere near top 10 (although we've been close at times), but it's consistent income with a lot of potential.

Re:Look where others aren't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37922942)

Thanks for the slashvertisement, cunt.

This is what a free market looks like (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922702)

I don't know what anyone's crying about. This is how it works. You put your product out there and hope someone sees it and likes it. If it's good enough it will succeed. If not, oh well.

Awful analogy (2)

brusk (135896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922728)

The reason this is such a bad analogy has nothing to do with whether an app succeeds because of luck, or how much the annual fees are. It has to do with where the money comes from. The money a developer gets comes, ultimately, from customers buying the app. Yes, the middleman takes a lot (but perhaps not more than more middlemen), but that doesn't make it a casino. In a casino, all the money coming in is from the gamblers, and all the money you win is from other gamblers (minus the house's cut). The same is true in a lottery. But an app store is completely different. Sure, it's unpredictable whether you will make big, medium, or no money, but the source of that money is not your fellow developers' entry fees.

Re:Awful analogy (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922956)

Yep, all life's a set of games, and the rules, parameters, and players change from game to game. Any 'random' game can be approximated with a flip of a die or some other game a casino might host, but that doesn't make every game a casino game.

Don't lose a lot (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922850)

the majority of developers fail to make any return on their app

The majority don't lose a lot even if their app fails, unlike a gambler who must constantly bet a lot. Apps can be coded in your spare time, and if a concept becomes popular enough, you can follow it up with something a little more fleshed out the next time and keep iterating until you reach the point of diminishing returns. Then start putting out concepts again until you find your niche, and start iterating again.

Business Plan? Who needs that? (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922856)

Newsflash! Software products require good marketing, film at 11:00.

Seriously. If you have a great product, you need a business plan to sell it, even if it's a smartphone app. "Stick it on the app store and hope for the best, because some guy made a million bucks with a fart simulator" isn't a business plan.

I'm making money (5, Funny)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37922970)

I'm reliably making money from the App Store, $75000 (on the side, in addition to my day job) in the last year and half actually. How? By writing apps for all those people that think they're going to get rich from App Store. I'd say probably 10% of my clients have made any money from their apps. Personally I don't try to feed their notions, I just produce the best product I can for them, and they can worry about making money from it, I'll take my money upfront for the coding thank you very much. I always turn down the projects where they want to do "profit sharing".

I do laugh at the guys that make me sign an NDA before they show me their super secret idea. Dude, ideas are a time a dozen, somebody's probably already thought of whatever idea it is you have.

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