I’m writing this post to summarise a few exciting developments that happened in the last week or so.
For those who don’t know, last week was the annual Game Connect Asia Pacific conference (GCAP) held in Melbourne, Australia. Several years ago this replaced AGDC (The Australian Game Developer Conference). Earlier in October we submitted Crabitron for the Australian Game Developer Awards, and it became a finalist in the Innovation and Excellence in Design categories. The awards are part of GCAP so I decided that it would be a good idea to attend the conference and awards night.
There were some pretty interesting talks throughout the conference, with panels made up of people like Mario Wynands from PikPok and Tony Albrecht from Overbyte. There were some interesting revelations for me when it came to just how large Asian mobile markets are and how much users don’t care about ads in their games. These coupled with some very enlightening chats during the conference and after party gave me some good ideas for how to move forward with Crabitron in the future.
I was pretty nervous as they were announcing each finalist since I’d never attended a shindig of these proportions before. I had a hunch that Crabitron would have a good chance of winning the Innovation award. Then they read out some quotes from the judges about the winning game:
There is nothing else out there like this game – it
is a genre unto itself. It is simply the definition
of innovation. Not only that, it is also a lot of fun
and looks and sounds great. The studio behind
this innovative title deserve a lot of success from
I was fairly certain at this point and quite excited too. After they announced Crabitron as the winner I went up to the podium and accepted the awards and thanked several people and couldn’t stop smiling. Recognition for years of hard work feels pretty good, and this was no exception.
After this I went back to my girlfriend, put my backpack back on and didn’t give winning another award a second thought, until:
This game is a perfect example of a crazy idea
taken to its logical conclusion. As a candidate
for best design, I thought it stood out for exactly
that reason – great game design is the art of
doing a lot with a little.
And Crabitron won its second award of the night! This completely took me by surprise and I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride as you can see in the photo below.
YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon
A few days ago we saw a spike in Crabitron related tweets and the ranking in several countries shot up as if by magic. This appeared to be coming from a video on YouTube by YOGSCAST. From what I can tell YOGSCAST is a collective of YouTube channels who do reviews and Let’s Plays of games. They are also ridiculously popular. Crabitron was only mentioned at the start of the video but featured prominently in the title and thumbnail. One of the reviewers had great praise for the game and said several times that “It’s the best game on iPad”.
With 6 million subscribers and over 400K views on the video to date, this has had a dramatic effect on sales. To put this in perspective, we were barely holding a top-200 chart position for the game subcategories Action and Simulation. During the height of the video’s traffic we reached #59 in US iPad Top Selling and #6 in UK iPad Top Selling. This pushed the daily game sales from an average of $15 a day to well over $2000 during its peak. We are now seeing the sales and ranking subside but we are still overjoyed with the response. This proves that the game still has loads of potential customers, we just need to find new ways to reach them.
From our experience and what others have been saying, games often survive through a series of spikes where sales surge in response to short lived exposure to a large number of potential customers. This includes things such as, New & Noteworthy or Editors Choice as well as popular YouTube channels and Websites. So far we’ve seen the most impactful responses from YouTube channels and Apple features but there may be other yet untapped sources of exposure.