Chapter 12

iOS Game Design: Basic Principles for Growth and Revenue

In This Chapter

  • Starting advice from successful indie designers
  • Making money in free-to-play iOS games
  • Starting out: a smorgasbord of miscellaneous final advice

As you might have noticed when looking at any list of top downloaded iOS games, many of the games aren’t there due to high-quality design. As veteran designer Randy Smith of Tiger Style studio notes, some are likely there for questionable reasons.

“I’ve heard that you can hire download farms that pay thousands of people to download your free game to give it a boost on the charts, which sounds dirty but may be common practice,” he says. “And on the revenue charts, some of the highest earning games do so by designing game mechanics and flow strongly for compulsion, getting players to spend a little at a time for a long time without noticing that they’re doing so, not unlike how slot machines are designed.”

Despite these dubious designs, games like these often get to the top of the iOS charts, especially when they’re published by large social game companies that cross-promote

and advertise from their existing titles. “If you’re only in it for the money,” adds Smith, “these are the types of things you should be thinking about, and I wish you bad luck.”

If, however, you want to develop a good game that can succeed on its own terms, you’re reading the right book.

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