Swivel, The Numbers Post
Posted by Patrick on Monday, April 04, 2011Mon, Apr 04, 2011

This week’s iDevBlogADay snuck up on me a bit. I’ve been intending to do a “numbers post” on my Swivel promotion, so here it is, and I’ll try to keep it concise.

Back around two weeks ago, I got up one morning and on a whim decided to make Swivel free. Sales had essentially flatlined, so there really was no risk.

What happened next surprised me, and I apologize to my Twitter followers who were subjected to two days of excited tweeting.

In less than 48 hours, Swivel was downloaded by a hair under 110,000 people.

From what I can tell, this is rather good.

It shot up the ranks in a number of countries, with several single digits in the puzzle and arcade games categories, and even a few in the overall free app category, most notably in China and Germany. In a few markets, especially those in Asia, Swivel was right up against Angry Birds Rio.

I’ll take that.


At the same time I saw people flooding into the Game Center charts. I was even able to play a few multiplayer matches with my new users.

Roughly 23,000 (or 20%) of those who downloaded the app have posted a score in Game Center to date, and the number is increasing by around 200 per day. That’s an interesting statistic, and lower than I imagined. Around 1,600 users now post scores daily.

Switching back to paid was a really tough decision. But as I saw the meteoric rise begin to turn, I did the deed. Of course sales dropped several orders of magnitude, but there’s been a steady trickle since and it has added up to more than sold before the promotion. It’s still bobbing up and down in the “What’s Hot” charts.

I think most of my sales come from word-of-mouth now, probably prompted by the multiplayer aspect of the game. It’s really the only social/viral hook it has.

I’m happy. I love that thousands of people play (and like) my game. I am excited that Gallant Games has received some exposure. I have around 100 reviews, predominantly five-stars. People call it addictive and love the polish, graphics and music.

What more can I ask than that people enjoy my work?

Of course it’d be nice to make gazillions (or even thousands) of dollars, but Swivel really wasn’t designed to have the legs for that. It’s a simple game exploring a new mechanic. I really can’t justify a “lite” version, in-app purchases or other money-extraction gimmicks. It was a fun side project that will probably cover my coffee money for the next year.

More than anything, I can say I published a game of good quality that people liked. That is satisfying.

Now it’s time to move on.

So what’s next? Well… I’m letting two ideas simmer right now and upgrading my game engine to OpenGL ES 2.0 while integrating and updating some of my old 3D code. I’m designing the next game to hit a popular genre and I’m also going to try to have a shorter production timeline. But more on that in the future!

This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of blogs by indie iPhone developers featuring two posts per day. You can subscribe to iDevBlogADay through RSS or follow the #iDevBlogADay hash tag or @idevblogaday on Twitter.