I read your newsletter and then read your day 1 analysis. As an indie game dev, who spent 200k twice launching games to iOS with little return, i appreciate the openness and data you shared so all of us can learn from your difficulty and mistakes.
In regards to “why”, I offer the following opinion because it is obvious to me as an outsider and probably harder to see as an insider:
- You emailed 145,000 people that mostly already own your game. I have no interest in a second copy of GameDev tycoon, no matter how good or nice or fresh it is. You aren’t fishing where the fish are you are fishing where the fish were. As far as gamedev tycoon goes, this pond is fished out. This audience is very interested in a sequel or a new title (which you’ve already done), not a port.
- You ported an old game. It is 4+ years old. And while GameDev Tycoon is fresh and exciting to you because it’s your baby and you are close to it, I have already sucked all the juice from that fruit I ever care to get. A sequel intrigues me, a port does not. I don’t want more game dev tycoon thank you very much, i’ve had my fill. I’m looking for new experiences.
- You overspent on a port. In investment real estate you make the money on the buy not the sell. The lower you can buy the property for, the more money you can make. The time to negotiate hard and be picky is on the buy, not dream you’ll be able to sell it for a lot of $$$. I spent 200k building an iOS/Android game from scratch and launched to 6 different platforms. During dev I didn’t know how exactly it should play, how many levels were required, crazy bugs, etc. All that had to be worked out. You spent 150k porting something that already exists. A much much easier task. Doom was built in 2 years, and due to crazy circumstances they ported it to SNES in 3 weeks. As a dev, programmer, designer who has played your game thoroughly I think a reasonable port expense is 25-50k. Had you of spent that much, your day one sales would look much much better.
I offer the above to help as you sit at your desk wondering “what happened?!” Game dev is a cruel mistress (your game represents it far too easy! ). We make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Hopefully they aren’t fatal. I don’t suspect this port has been fatal to you, just a good solid slap you’ll remember the sting of for years to come and when you look to port your next title to mobile.
PS (try to have your mobile version within 6 months of your PC release, duplicate sales are far more likely. I played your game in the backseat of a minivan on a road trip on a laptop. If I had the tablet option at the time i probably would have bought it purely for the accessibility and battery life)