With Flippy Bird 3D now available on 4 platforms, I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison with the different platforms.
- The game is available for 99 cents on all 4 platforms.
- The game was released with little-to-no marketing or advertising.
- An initial review was generated for BlackBerry, Android and Windows.
Store Front Links:
- iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/flippy-bird-3d/id820756679?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
- Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FileArchiveHave.FlappingBird&hl=en
- Windows Store: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/flipping-bird-3d/7fa5c6f0-8530-4169-bc67-cae60148c455
- BlackBerry World: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/47887887/?countrycode=US&lang=en
Clearly, when it comes to charging for games, BlackBerry is the place to go. App purchases seem reluctant on the other platforms in part due to the 99 cent cost, and because they have a larger number of clones available.
Copies, Clones, Branding and Such:
Hands-down the most questionable marketplace is the Windows Store. This store has a half doze Flappy Bird clones that are clearly a full rip-off of the original – including the taking of the name, graphics, music, and sound effects. I’ve seen this a bunch of times on Windows Store, where an app is not simply copied in concept. But completely copied – often to the point where legal questions arise. These complete copies would be blocked in iOS and BlackBerry. This raises questions as a developer about the authenticity of applications and the real testing scenarios performed by Microsoft.
Microsoft seems to care very little about piracy in this regard. BlackBerry is slightly strict, they insisted that some details be omitted to prevent users from mistaking Flippy Bird from Flappy Bird. And iOS was the most strict, rejecting the application outright at first for the name being too close. Google Play was too easy to release for, where no effort is made by the Google Play team to vet out applications (even for Malware and related).
BlackBerry took about 4 days to review and approve the application. Google Play was immediate. Windows Store took about 3 days. And iOS took two full weeks.
BlackBerry and Android are developer friendly. You can use almost any computer system to build for them. iOS requires you build the application on a current Mac (I used http://macincloud.com). Where-as, Microsoft insists on you using Windows 8.1. Which is even worse, as the driver support and issues are tremendous – to do those builds, I code on my regular laptop and build the package using my Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.
To get started with these platforms, you also need to pay developer fees. BlackBerry is free. iOS is 100 down yearly + 100 yearly for Mac releases if you want in their store. Microsoft is 20 down yearly for mobile, plus another 20 yearly for desktop (and they are very clear this is a one time reduced rate, next year it will be more). Google Play was a one-time fee of 20.
This makes BlackBerry the easiest platform to get started with (any system) and most affordable (no charge).
All of the companies take 70%. Some take more than promised, such as BlackBerry, for “processing fees”. This means small developers lose a larger percentage (paying 30% + 5$ is a larger percentage on a 50 dollar payday, than a 5,000 dollar payday). When you add third-party distribution groups such as Bango, which take even larger percentages and restrict your pay even more, it can be a little disheartening as you ask yourself frequently : did Bango really earn 35% of my app sales?
With that said, the issue is cross platform.
Based on the sales models and data, I think it is clear that BlackBerry, Android and iOS have an advantage when it comes to sales and should be a primary focus. Given the difficulty of building for Microsoft, and the low app sales, I cannot recommend it at this time.
My next application will be an ad-enabled game for comparison. And the following app will be in-app purchase enabled.
Hypothetically, I anticipate that BlackBerry will be the best for outright purchased apps. And Android and iOS will be better for advertisement apps. With Android leading the way for in-app purchased apps (simply because, lets be honest, it is much easier to do an in-app purchase on Android than iOS).
Those are just theories at this time – but I am certainly happy to have had such a great turn out on BlackBerry!
Go Forward Strategy:
One more big update is coming through for all devices, where BlackBerry will be given the advantage of using Scoreloop for sharing. However, given market distribution, I believe the focus for Flippy Bird 3D should remain BlackBerry.
This chart applies to the BlackBerry release only, but helps show sales trends.