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Jeff Minter: iOS games ended up costing us money

Space Giraffe creator shares App Store angst

Indie developer, Llamasoft founder and Space Giraffe creator Jeff Minter has shared his thoughts on the state of the iOS gaming market, revealing that developing iOS titles was not a profitable venture.

"We spent two years doing games on iOS and in the end we stopped doing them because the income generated from them was so tiny that it ended up actually costing *us* money," he shared in a blog update.

"Despite excellent reviews both by users and on relevant gaming websites, and notwithstanding the sheer number of iOS devices out there which would, you might think, make it viable for even stuff slightly off mainstream to find enough of an audience to comfortably sustain them, this proved not to be the case and we couldn't in any way justify carrying on with it."

Llamasoft's games include Goat Up 2, Super Ox Wars, Gridrunner and Five A Day on iOS. The company has also made TxK for the PlayStation Vita and Minotaur Rescue VR for Oculus Rift.

"To give some idea of just how awful iOS was for us, the first non-iOS game I did after spending two years on iOS, released on a Sony handheld that many describe as being 'obscure', generated literally *thousands* of times more income for us than two years and ten games on iOS with its potential billions of users. In the face of that I would have been absolutely daft to spend any more time at all on iOS."

Minter also revealed that Llamasoft would no longer be the yearly developer fee to the Apple App Store so the games would remain on the store. Then technical difficulties with the latest iPhones struck, and now Minter suggests people use an older, jailbroken device if they want to continue playing the games.

"In the end we're sorry that it's come to this. The sad thing is that if only there'd been a few more users, if only we'd been able to charge a couple of quid instead of a pittance, I could have been quite happy doing more of those little games indefinitely."

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Latest comments (2)

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
It's really frustrating that things didn't pan out for Llamasoft on iOS.

They put out some of the best pure arcade games on the platform, typically as exclusives, to the seeming total indifference of Apple's editors.

Games like Super Hexagon, Downwell, Doug Dug, Ridiculous Fishing, etc. have shown there is an appetite for premium arcade games on mobile.

It's unfortunate that Minter did all this fantastic work before the idea that charging ~$3-5 for a better class of specialist game had taken root, and way before Apple had games people with enough expertise to confidently back anything other than clones of existing hits.

I hope there's still a chance for someone to work something out to make the games available again. Minotaur Rescue especially.
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Casey Anderson Game Data Analyst, Big Fish Games3 years ago
Unfortunately, given the state of the app market this isn't surprising. Given that iOS CPIs average $3+, in the valuable markets (via chartboost), a niche game costing around that amount is going to have an incredibly hard time attracting enough eyeballs to make enough money to support the developer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Casey Anderson on 24th June 2016 2:17am

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