With 420 million iPhone users out there and the amount of android based smart phones nearing the 1 billion mark, it is little wonder everybody wants to have an app on the market.
A developer working out of his garage only needs to reach 0.1% of that audience to be a millionaire, consequently there are millions upon millions of apps and games crowding the App Store and Google Play. So how do you tell even 0.01% of smartphone users that your app is out there and available to buy?
Apple recently introduced the Indie Game Showcase in its App Store to help independent game developers flog their wares, or at least spend a few days in the spotlight and get their name singled out amongst the crowd.
Simogo, award-winning developer of games like Year Walk and Device 6 was invited to feature its games, and select some favourites from the App Store to be showcased as well, such as ZONR, Bad Hotel, and Cool Pizza among others.
Was it worth it?
Sadly it seems iPhone users pay as little attention to what Apple recommend as the rest of the world. Despite the huge reach of the showcase (potentially 420 million people, don't forget) the highest daily download reached a miserable 2600 for Game Atelier with its free-to-try Gauge - Game, and of the roughly 600 daily downloads that followed, only three per day paid the $2.99 to unlock full playability, according to Gamasutra blogger John Polson. Game Atelier stated that the showcase didn't increase interest in any of its other games either, an observation shared by the other developers involved in the promotion.
Simogo was reluctant to say anything specific about its involvement in the showcase, how many games they could pick or whether they had to contribute in order to be the featured developer, but tweeted later that Device 6 had managed to shift 200000 copies within the first week of the Indie Showcase, so it's not all bad news.
Apple's attempt to solve discoverability is not off to a flying start then. Kudos to them for trying, though it is hard to see what good it does Apple specifically. If independent developers all shut up shop tomorrow, there would still be an App Store and apps to fill it, albeit only the ones from the major developers.
With everyone involved reporting that after the initial small spikes of interest, sales returned back to the normal numbers associated with bottom-of-the-App-Store-hell as the showcase ended, we ask what can be done to help? There needs to be independent app and game developers out there, if only to stop the corporates becoming complacent.