Gentlemen! developers reflect on a popular but not-so-profitable mobile game

August 26, 2013
5

Popularity doesn't necessarily make you rich. This is something that Yann Seznec of Lucky Frame, the studio behind the game Gentlemen!, can attest to as he looked back at the events and lessons that followed after they released the hit game on Android and iOS.

At its heart, Gentlemen! is a game that is meant to be played by 2-4 players on a single device, preferably a tablet, considering the number of fingers that need to be involved. No single player mode, no networked multiplayer mode. Just pure fun with a friend or family member in the same breathing space. Reviewers loved the game, which garnered high scores in much-coveted review sites, at least for those reviewers who were able to find someone to play with. And yet, the game, which sells for $5 or $3 on sale, has sold only 1,114 copies on iOS store and 144 units on Android.

As you might have guessed, piracy played a big role in the significant gap between sales numbers. Based on an analytics package in the game that reported the number of unique users, the developers discovered that three days after the game was released, only 8 copies were sold but 2,462 copies were pirated. The developer admits that they did not totally prepare for piracy scenarios and that the piracy could be explained by the game's price, which some have complained to be too high, or availability, as the developers did not make the game available on devices they did not test it on or on devices that do not have Google Play Store at all.

That said, Seznec found it ridiculous that that people would take that as an anecdote not to develop for the Android platform or devices. Phones and tablets are just computers and should be judged on their technical merits and not be associated with lifestyle choices. Furthermore, using a framework or tool such as Unity has made developing on multiple devices and platforms extremely easy, at most costing them two or three days to make an Android version of the game.

It's quite reassuring to hear developers such as Lucky Frame have not abandoned the platform despite the sales and piracy. Instead, they see it even more as a sign of success, that the game is something people loved to play as shown by the piracy figures. They are interested in trying to fix the piracy mess or, better yet, give pirate users a good incentive to pay. Seznec ends with a note on how Google Play users are more likely to leave reviews compared to iOS users, so Android games also have a sense of community going for them.

Download: Gentlemen! on Google Play Store
SOURCE: Gamasutra


Recent Stories

  • Stocklone

    You are much better off buying from the Lucky Frame website. You can get the desktop version and an Android apk for one price. Plus it’s managed through Humble Bundle. With the Android Humble Bundle app, it’s as easy to manage as Google Play.

  • Stocklone

    Am I going crazy or did my comment get deleted? If so why? I would love to know.

  • grantland

    I’m wondering how much the 15 minute refund window played into this. If a user payed for it, played it, and refunded/uninstalled it, that would count as a “unique user” but not a “sold copy”. During it’s first few weeks, it could have had thousands of users try out the app and refund it if it wasn’t for them resulting in many more uniques than sold copies. However, if the app still has thousands more of “unique users” than “paid users” after a few months, then those could account for piracy.

  • phor11

    The Devs said in the original interview that the vast majority (95%) of the piracy was happening in Russia and China where it wasn’t even available on the Play store, so I’m really not sure what they are trying to use those numbers to show other than “we should have made this game available in China and Russia”.

    If you deny people legal channels to purchase the game, you can’t really be surprised if it’s pirated.

    Take away that 95% due to a lack of availability and you’re left with 114 sales and 123 “pirates”, which could easily be people who downloaded it, realized you couldn’t play solo, and returned it.

    It seems like a lot of blogs are trying to make this a story about piracy, but it’s really nothing more than a lesson in availability.

  • Stocklone

    Buy the game directly from Lucky Frame. You get an Android apk and the desktop version for $5.