Make Millions as an App Developer - Smartphone Development
Google knows it has some work to do if it wants to catch Apple in the app race. While the search giant certainly has had no problem in attracting consumers to its Android mobile platform, its app market is another story. In order to increase the appeal of Android to developers, Google recently announced that it raised the maximum file size for Android app submissions from 50GB to the current limit of 4GB.
Make Millions as an App Developer? It’s Possible, but Not Easy
Joe Kaufmann’s story is one that many mobile app developers aspire to achieve. Two of his games, The Lost City and The Secret of Grisly Manor, have racked up an excess of 3.5 million downloads to bring in over $1 million in revenue. Best of all, as the sole employee of his company, Fire Maple Games, Kauffman gets to enjoy the lion’s share of all the profit.
Unfortunately, Kauffman’s success is not the norm in the app industry, as the average developer usually pulls in less than $10,000 per year. A look at Insurgent Games, a San Francisco-based mobile development company, shows just how rough the app arena can be. The company’s founders, Micah Lee and Crystal Mayer, decided to give away the source code of its five apps because they “quickly realized that unless you're incredibly lucky, it's hard to make enough money developing indie mobile games to pay San Francisco rent.”
While Insurgent Game’s story is probably more of what you’ll find in terms of app developers’ experiences, Kauffman does show that it’s possible to strike it rich if you can come up with the right recipe. His background as a Flash developer for ten years helped him move into desktop computer game development in 2008. Although his offerings back then sold for the industry standard $19.95, Kauffman’s current mobile apps can be had for much less. The Secret of Grisly Manor, for example, is free in an effort to promote The Lost City for $0.99. Such a pricing model has allowed Kauffman to attract more users. “It's more fun to have the volume, to have more people play the games,” he noted.
In addition to favorable pricing, Kauffman’s success can be attributed to the simple fact that people like his games. He cites the interface as his main focus, since his games cater more towards adult women. Describing the need to make his games user-friendly, Kauffman said, “A lot of these people are playing games from the first time.” In terms of marketing, Kauffman avoided gimmicks that are commonplace, such as paying for reviews. “I did a basic press release. I didn't spend money on marketing, or email review sites,” he added.