Top iOS Game Tanks on Windows RT, Developer Blames Microsoft

Top iOS Game Tanks on Windows RT, Developer Blames Microsoft

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Rubicon spent 10,000 porting iOS hit, Great Big War Game to Windows RT. Thus far, it's made a whopping 52.

Microsoft is pushing Windows RT, the mobile version of Windows 8, as a competitor to Apple's all-powerful iOS, right down to the similar app stores. But, according to Rubicon Development's Paul Johnson, Microsoft is doing a cack handed job of promoting games on the service.

At one point, Great Big War Game was the number one strategy game on iOS, but it's completely failed to gain any traction on Microsoft's platform, despite being one of only a handful of semi-decent games available on the service. Johnson estimates that it cost Rubicon some 10,000 to port the game. It managed to earn 52 in its first week on sale.

"That's not a typo," writes Johnson. "And despite this, and the fact that GBWG is one of only several halfway decent launch titles, Microsoft have confirmed they will not give us any promotional features or help us with visibility in any way."

Of course, Windows RT doesn't enjoy the same gargantuan user base that the app store boasts, which would explain somewhat lower sales. But according to Johnson, the Windows RT version of the game is failing hard, even in comparison to the Android and RIM (Blackberry) versions.

"Apple regularly promote our apps," he continues. "Android regularly promote our apps. Even RIM (Blackberry) regularly promote our apps. We enjoy working with those companies and it's nice to see them acknowledge that we bring them some small amount of additional value to their setup. Firms our size need a bit of a leg up, and we go out of our way to show our gratitude to the above for helping us out in this way from time to time."

This isn't the first time Microsoft has been accused of failing to promote the indie outfits that could earn the company money. Developers working on indie games for XBLA have often complained about their games being dumped behind multiple menus and receiving little to no promotion. Even big hitters like Team Meat (Super Meat Boy) have complained about the poor promotion.

"Microsoft on the other hand clearly do not value us at all," Johnson adds. "Even whilst there's almost nothing to promote, they will not feature our title for bizarre admin reasons. And this is whilst their store is empty and they need developers like us to fill their store far more than developers like us need them to pay us 50 a week."

Update: Johnson's original blog post has been replaced with the following:

"If anyone already read this post, it has had a very positive effect and Microsoft have graciously decided work with us to iron out the problems and get us past this incident.

With a sense of fair play, I'm putting my grumpiness on hiatus and deleting the juicy bits. Which was all of it, sorry."

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

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Kinda strange to see Apple making better decisions than Microsoft in the gaming market. To be fair, though, I haven't heard of GBWG from anyone until now.

Daaaah Whoosh:
To be fair, though, I haven't heard of GBWG from anyone until now.

This article came up on GamePolitics the other day. I'm in the same boat, had never heard of this game or its developer until the article came up. Tried to look it up, but couldn't find it in the Windows Store because it's only compatible with ARM-based systems/Windows RT. You know, the version that no current Windows customer can upgrade their existing system to.

So far as I'm concerned, they did this to themselves. They could have ported this to be compatible with both Windows 8 and RT instead of cutting out Windows 8, which I think everyone has always expected would be the bigger market. Every other non-Desktop app game I've seen in the Windows Store has been x86, x64, and ARM-compatible. Why couldn't Great Big War Game have been, too?

Great comment from a review:
1 Star review: "Great Port of Great Game - Developers out of touch"
"No x86 version. The point of Windows 8 is to bring your apps and games to all the devices you have. Rubicon is missing the point. Having the ability to buy your game once (even at a higher price-point) and run it on any device has value to me as a customer."

Also, as noted in the GamePolitics article but omitted here and in the Gamesindustry.biz article, the original post at http://www.rubicondev.com/blog/windows-rt-born-to-fail/ has been replaced. Here's part of the new post:

If anyone already read this post, it has had a very positive effect and Microsoft have graciously decided work with us to iron out the problems and get us past this incident.

$50 dollars/week ok, so they only need to maintain that for 200 weeks and they recoup initial loss of development...

captcha: tower of strength
I wonder is captcha literally trying to play off my jokes now? no one else might see that besides me Captcha

OT: wow isn't $50 in the first week like what the crap $1 apps on Android expect make? how much does this tittle even cost?

because if we factor say 2euro at 70% 52euro comes out to roughly 37 sales. wow that is pathetic for a mobile app even a remotely good one. many expect to do better then that on just curiosity buys.

ARGH BLARGH. Double post. Ignore.

Dinasis:

Also, as noted in the GamePolitics article but omitted here and in the Gamesindustry.biz article, the original post at http://www.rubicondev.com/blog/windows-rt-born-to-fail/ has been replaced. Here's part of the new post:

If anyone already read this post, it has had a very positive effect and Microsoft have graciously decided work with us to iron out the problems and get us past this incident.

Updating the article to reflect that, thanks for the heads up.

How big is the Windows RT userbase? Like, really serious here. I know Apple has a huge one, Android has a huge one...Does Windows RT compare with them? Or even with RIM?

So microsoft fanatics crazy enough to go for Windows RT are not buying a ported APPLE IOS game that NOONE HAS HEARD OF. what a shock.

Strazdas:
So microsoft fanatics crazy enough to go for Windows RT are not buying a ported APPLE IOS game that NOONE HAS HEARD OF. what a shock.

I think the point is more against the way MS treats their indie developers, based on the added comments from Team Meat.

Im also bewildered at any dev who blames the platform provider for lack of advertising. Get off your fat lazy arse and market it yourself! Sure, you might see a pick up after Christmas time when a few more peeps have Surface devices in their paws but seeing as you decided to miss out the x86 version and cater soley towards RT then neglect to do any self promotion you can only moan at yourselves.

Funny, I check the app store about twice a week, I've been doing that for a couple of years - and I have no idea what this game is. I'm not surprised nobody is buying it, looks like the sort of game that people buy once they're sick of games like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope... people need to have time to get sick of these games on WinRT as well.

It is kinda feeble to complain about lack of marketting, that's not MS, Apple, or anyones responsibility apart from their own - there are marketting/publishing companies all over the place that are becomming more and more vital to indi developers. It's just the way it is - if you are an indi developer, you need to stop praying that your games awesomeness will be all the marketting it needs. The indi marketplace is not a glowing landscape where every game makes money, in fact you have to be damn lucky to even make your money back. Indi's need to stop assuming that they are the next Mojang, or Team Meat, and start to think marketting during the development of their game. Also, it needs to stop costing 10,000 to port an established game, that's a no-fricken-brainer right there. A new marketplace like WinRT needs to mature a bit, developers need to concentrate on simple ideas with broad appeal that can be turned around quickly, not heavy investment and innevitable disapointment.

Huh, Microsoft, turns out just developing a fancy UI is not all you need to make a system work.

Imagine that.

I've got GBWG on my ipod. It's pretty good, not a classic by any measure but if it can only make 52 then I have to wonder if there's any point to the marketplace existing at all. I mean the list of things that could expect to make more than 200x that is pretty much Angry Birds, Minecraft and Pokemon.

The guy did all he could. Calling M$ out publicly is the only way to get them to do anything for you. The same thing happened with developers like the guy who created Fez (he couldn't afford the approval process for updating the games bugs). By the same thing I mean M$ inhibiting developers from either releasing or updating games on their platforms. The thing is.... the market share for Windows RT is ridiculously low. There are two things wrong with this picture: the first is that the developer expects to sell games on a platform no one uses and the second is M$ charges people money to release on it's platforms. But, I digress. If I'm not mistaken, M$ is not yet charging money to release on Windows RT. But it's only a matter of time. I would say the blame is with the developer more than anything at this point. Like any game, there is a risk of no one buying it. Marketing helps, that is M$ problem. Any other platform advertises as part of release to some extent.

surg3n:
Funny, I check the app store about twice a week, I've been doing that for a couple of years - and I have no idea what this game is. I'm not surprised nobody is buying it, looks like the sort of game that people buy once they're sick of games like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope... people need to have time to get sick of these games on WinRT as well.

It is kinda feeble to complain about lack of marketting, that's not MS, Apple, or anyones responsibility apart from their own - there are marketting/publishing companies all over the place that are becomming more and more vital to indi developers. It's just the way it is - if you are an indi developer, you need to stop praying that your games awesomeness will be all the marketting it needs. The indi marketplace is not a glowing landscape where every game makes money, in fact you have to be damn lucky to even make your money back. Indi's need to stop assuming that they are the next Mojang, or Team Meat, and start to think marketting during the development of their game. Also, it needs to stop costing 10,000 to port an established game, that's a no-fricken-brainer right there. A new marketplace like WinRT needs to mature a bit, developers need to concentrate on simple ideas with broad appeal that can be turned around quickly, not heavy investment and innevitable disapointment.

That $10,000 was mostly paying developers to port the game, not licensing fees.

As a side note, as an indie game developer we get a lot of help from Microsoft, but it may come from the fact we won their Imagine Cup Game Development competition twice.

Baldr:

surg3n:
Funny, I check the app store about twice a week, I've been doing that for a couple of years - and I have no idea what this game is. I'm not surprised nobody is buying it, looks like the sort of game that people buy once they're sick of games like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope... people need to have time to get sick of these games on WinRT as well.

It is kinda feeble to complain about lack of marketting, that's not MS, Apple, or anyones responsibility apart from their own - there are marketting/publishing companies all over the place that are becomming more and more vital to indi developers. It's just the way it is - if you are an indi developer, you need to stop praying that your games awesomeness will be all the marketting it needs. The indi marketplace is not a glowing landscape where every game makes money, in fact you have to be damn lucky to even make your money back. Indi's need to stop assuming that they are the next Mojang, or Team Meat, and start to think marketting during the development of their game. Also, it needs to stop costing 10,000 to port an established game, that's a no-fricken-brainer right there. A new marketplace like WinRT needs to mature a bit, developers need to concentrate on simple ideas with broad appeal that can be turned around quickly, not heavy investment and innevitable disapointment.

That $10,000 was mostly paying developers to port the game, not licensing fees.

As a side note, as an indie game developer we get a lot of help from Microsoft, but it may come from the fact we won their Imagine Cup Game Development competition twice.

I'm sure they did help you a great deal. Those competitions are promotion events for Microsoft. They had already invested the money in the competition, so adequate promotion of the winner of said competition is the only financially rational thing to do.
GBWG did not have this advantage. Apparently neither did much bigger names, like Edmund McMillen (of Super Meat Boy fame), which speaks to their point

 

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