Game Dev Tycoon - one month summary and outlook
We released Game Dev Tycoon in the Windows 8 Store on 10th December 2012, so a little more than one month ago. The reception has been outstanding. We have been listed among the Top Paid apps (between positions 3 and 15, depending on the country) for the entire time and in the sorted by noteworthy category (that’s when you just click on Games directly) we are often listed as number 2 (out of 3600+ games!). We could not have wished for a better position in the Store, especially because Game Dev Tycoon has not even been featured yet!
After the initial release our first players soon discovered a few bugs and before we could even start our launch celebrations we submitted the first patch to the game. The turn around for the updated game submissions to the Store have been absolutely outstanding. Most updates were accepted by Microsoft after only 12 hours! A turn around time iOS developers could surely only dream of (especially around Christmas). After a few more service updates the game is now fairly stable. We are still investigating the odd technical issues which are mostly related to auto-save errors and seem to come directly from the system. Hopefully we can work around these issues soon.
To date, the full game has received 612 ratings. Most of them five stars. We have received many positive written reviews and other praise and comments on social media or via email. Not surprisingly, some players pointed out the similarities to Game Dev Story, which is another game development simulation game on the iPhone/Android and which served as the initial inspiration to Game Dev Tycoon. Most of these comments were praise saying that they really enjoyed our take on the genre but some called our game a rip-off. We respectfully disagree with the term. We have been open about our inspiration (see previous link to an interview) and said all along that our game was inspired by Game Dev Story but our entire game is our own creation – from how games are developed, to how you progress and how you make a hit game. We have created the concepts and game mechanics for Game Dev Tycoon as well as the game itself from scratch. Anyway, it’s nice to see that the majority of players who pointed out similarities made positive comments. We certainly think that players of Game Dev Story will enjoy Game Dev Tycoon and vice versa.
Purchases and Downloads
A lot of players were eagerly awaiting the release after playing our Lite version. On the first day alone we sold 470 copies of the game. In our sub-category (Simulation games) we are definitely the top game since the average purchases were listed as five per day before we showed up. Purchase numbers of Game Dev Tycoon have since dropped considerably to around 30-50 copies a day but we hope these numbers will rise as more users discover the Windows 8 Store and as we receive more attention via reviews or (hopefully) Store highlights and promotions.
To date we have had over 6000 downloads and 2300+ purchases. More than 30% of players who try our game also buy it!
Indie game development is not a cheap business, especially when you live in countries with a high cost of living. We still have a long way to go before we break even on the expenses of creating the game and before we can safely focus on our next project but we have a positive outlook.
It’s definitely great to see that players are liking our game. I’m glad to see that it is not only the pseudo-free social games which require you to buy virtual coins and are generally a bore to play are successful. Hopefully this will inspire some other indie devs to create more ‘traditional’ simulation games. The world could use more games which are less ville, less social, less made to generate profit but more made to be fun!
Over Christmas, after we sorted out bugs in the game, we took a much needed break. We have worked on Game Dev Tycoon for over a year and in the last four months of the project we often worked seven days a week in order to finish the game before Christmas.
One thing we were not able to sort out in time for the December release was support for ARM devices, specifically the Microsoft Surface. Unfortunately we face some serious performance issues on the device which make the full game unplayable in later levels. We have prepared a few test cases to try to further identify the causes of these slow downs and Microsoft seems willing to assist us with this so we are hopeful that we can resolve this some time soon. Given the nature of this problem there is no guarantee or ETA for a full RT release at this stage but as I’ve said earlier we are optimistic.
Responding to game feedback
We have tried to encourage feedback through links on the game Settings page, on our website, as well as on facebook and twitter. Many players have taken this opportunity to tell us what they like and what they think should be improved. From the feedback so far it is clear that many players think that the 25 in-game years are over too quickly! We plan on providing a longer game option in one of the next updates but don’t have the exact details yet. There are also other smaller things which we will attempt to adjust slightly to provide a better experience. Apart from that we currently do not plan to make any major updates or expansion packs but we definitely listen to feedback for a potential return to the game development simulation genre in the future.
The full game is only available in English at the moment. We plan to provide a number of translations in the future. First, we will make the game translatable (which takes considerable effort) and then we will start with a German translation.We are both native German speakers (so it’s easy to do quality assurance) and tycoon/simulation games are quite popular in German-speaking countries.
Once this first translation is available we plan to work on a process to translate the game into more languages. Many players have graciously offered their help in translating the game into their own language (thanks to all who have contacted us about this). We will have to investigate how we can do translations for the game effectively while also ensuring that the quality of the translation is right. Translating a game like Game Dev Tycoon isn’t easy so I expect that it will take a while to get the major languages under way.
We plan to set up a fan forum but need to sort out some technical aspects first. In the meantime, you can connect to fellow Game Dev Tycoon fans via our Facebook page.
Not surprisingly many players wonder if Game Dev Tycoon will remain a Windows 8 exclusive. We will investigate possible ports to Android (Google Play), Windows 7/Steam and maybe even the iPad once we have completed the above things. At this stage there are no promises but if you are interested in any of these or if you want to keep up to date on our plans and progress then please subscribe to our newsletter.
We do not plan to port to any phone systems like WP8, iPhone or Android. Game Dev Tycoon was designed for larger screens or tablet devices and the user interface would not work on phones and would require substantial changes.
As far as the feedback, ratings and reviews are concerned we had a brilliant start. We could not have wished for a better reception and would like to thank everyone who has supported us!
Patrick & Daniel Klug
Greenheart Games ♥