Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mobile ad networks: RevMob and Chartboost

While my development team is working on the graphics, I’m focusing on setting up some tools in the background. First off, the source code I purchased has RevMob and Chartboost in it. Both bring advertisements to my mobile game. Quite honnestly, it took me some time to figure out how one another works related to mobile ads. I’m hearing RevMob and Chartboost, because these are used in my game. But there’s also Apple’s own ad network ‘iAds’ and some others like adMob. I’ll stick for now to the two ones that my game will be using.

Mobile ad networks essentially bring advertisers in contact with publisher (in this case, that’s me). The advertisers are paying if someone installs a game (CPI – Cost per Install) or if someone clicks (CPC – Cost per Click) the ad. The mobile ad networks try to solve the problem of app discovery and monetisation;

So I’m required to setup an account for both networks.

What is RevMob

According RevMobto their website, RevMob is the worldwide leading ad network when it comes to mobile traffic monetization. The company delivers publishers with eCPMs well above the average of the industry with a simple SDK implementation. To achieve this we have built a sophisticated campaign targeting algorithm, which maximizes return for both publishers and advertisers.

In my own words, RevMobs sends mobile ads to my game and some users of their service claim they have a CTR (click through rates) of above 60%, which is considered pretty fantastic. Also, eCPM (estimated earning per 1000 impressions) are said to be as high as $11. Let’s verify that once the game is in the app store.

What is Chartboost

Chartboost lets those developers advertise within each other’s games through a Direct Deals Marketplace, bypassing a traditional ad network. In other words, a developer runs an ad for a different game, showing that ad only to other gamers. But one can also choose for the more traditional approach, in which the developer can also advertise his game on the Chartboost network, paying a fee to Chartboost.

Chartboost

In one of the next posts, I will explain how I setup RevMob and Chartboost specifically for my game.

First mockups

I have received the first mockups of the candy theme and the main character.  I’m impressed with it to be honest. It the first time I actually see something real.

Mockup1Mockup2

The character (I’ve called him Charlie 🙂 ) has a bit of a belly and is missing a tooth. I like the amount of detail honnestly. There’s lots of candy in the background as well and Charlie is jumping on a giant piece of rotating candy and has to find his way through Candy Land. Pretty cool stuff!

Selecting the theme

Last couple of days, we have been working on the selection of a theme for a game. I figured out that it’s quite a difficult and final decision if I think about it. Once the theme is selected, all the rest will somehow depend on this.  While investigating the top selling apps, I’m also learning that some themes seem more popular than others. Maybe it’s only my perception. A good tool to understand how apps rank can be found on the bestselling section of  www.appshopper.com (see screenshots below). I believe they pull the data from the app store, although I’m not 100% sure. In any case, it’s a nice and clear overview of all iOS games.

 

top200iPhone                    top200iPad

My developer proposed to use a theme around “candy”. If you look to the stats in the above images, Candy Crush Saga has been on the top 10 for more than 300 days for both iPhone and iPad, so it’s definitely a succesful theme these days.

 

Cost of App reskinning

I have received pricing proposals from all over the world. It seems that most offers for the reskinning of the app are varying between $500 and $1000. Strange how prices can be so different for the same amount of work. I have decided to give this job to an Australian company that has already performed some reskinning jobs and also have some of their own games in the app store.

The price they put forward is $650 for the graphic art. For this price, the graphic assets in the game (both iPhone and iPad game) will be swapped out and replaced entirely with the new theme (yet to be choosen). Also the creation of the game icon will be part of it. The price does not include any change to the original source code, changes to make it compatible with new versions of iOS etc. Fair enough, in the end I purchased the source code and I’m looking for a reskin only.

In their pricing proposal, they also provided the option to do the keyword research for the app store and do the upload to the app store. It’s an interesting option as I don’t have too much experience in this field.

So this brings the total cost to: $650 + $250

Let’s rock!

Start of a new game

KingdomPrince1 Decided that I will give it a shot. Figured out I have nothing to loose. True to the spirit of this experiment, I would say :-).

I’m going to buy the source code for Kingdom Prince. Here’s why:

  • The price of the source code is only about $100
  • It includes an iPhone and iPad version, two for the price of one
  • It appears quite succesful in the app store
  • It somehow looks like Mario Bross, my old time favorite Nintendo game

In the meantime, I’m contacting a number of people to reskin this game. I’m working through Elance and Odesk mostly but I’m also writing directly to some other people I found on different websites.KingdomPrince2

 

Should I move forward with reskinning

I browsed the internet, found a lot of interesting websites. www.chupamobile.com is one of these cool websites, they sell source code for iOS and Android. Didn’t even know they existed.

To be honnest, I’m still struggling with the idea. Should I invest the most part of my initial budget into reskinning a game? Decided I will sleep on the idea a couple of nights.

Launching mobile game

I have this idea of generating some passive income through mobile advertisements. The idea came after I read about “App Flipping” or “Reskinning apps” on www.reskinningapps.com. It appears that app reskinning is an emerging trend in the app stores. Candidate for an experiment maybe?

The idea behing app flipping is that developers license their source code to you and you change the graphics (background, characters etc), the music and sound effects so it appears a different game almost. The only things that changes is the ‘skin’ (hence the name ‘reskinning apps’), the structure of the game remains. The developers of the original game are selling (or licensing) the source code and as such are making additional revenue (other then the in app purchases, the revenue from advertisements…)

Reasons why I believe app reskinning is a good experiment:

Developing a game from sratch takes quite an amount of time and consumes a lot of money. I believe developing a game easily costs you $5000-$20000 if not more. Not a lot of people have that amount of money to spend. Certainly I don’t…

Reskinning an app doesn’t require you to go through the hassle of programming everything from scratch. The source code is already working and has proven a certain amount of success (let’s hope so) in the app store. All that is left to do is changing the graphics. Hence, it saves you time and money.

  • Less time as it’s basically just reskinning the game
  • Less money as it’s already a fully functional game
  • Mobile ad networks already build in in many source codes out there

There is the risk of people being tired of seeing the same app again and again, but the trick will be to change the graphics (and hence the whole experience of the game) so that people don’t recognize the original game.