Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

2010 Year in Review

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Happy New Year! I first want to assure everyone that one of our resolutions is to update this blog more frequently and to give all of you more insight into what we do here at Broken Thumbs Apps. We welcome your feedback and if there is something you’d like us to address in a future post, just let us know.

2010 was a very important year for Broken Thumbs Apps. During the year we found our focus, reached profitability, and learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the past year:

  • Emily’s Girl Talk was featured by Apple! In March 2010, our first app was featured by Apple. We were very proud of this accomplishment, as Emily’s Girl Talk was clearly our most polished app. The idea for this app came from Emily, who wanted to create an app focused on young women because she felt that there weren’t enough apps available to them. Apple agreed and this became our first hit.
  • Beer Toss was released but the bar was left empty. With the success of Paper Toss, we decided to spin our own take on that genre by releasing Beer Toss. Unfortunately, it was not a hit with users. After doing a post mortem, we realized that if somebody builds a truly great app and you decide to build a similar one, yours had better be twice as good. We were trying to capitalize more off of the game mechanic rather than making something truly original, and because of that the game fell flat.
  • Zombie Duck Hunt reached #1! To be honest, the decision behind making Zombie Duck Hunt free was simple. It was not making enough money as apaid app, but we believed that the app was something a lot of people would enjoy playing. Apparently we were right! After running a promotion with Open Feint, Zombie Duck Hunt received over 2 million downloads. This was great to see because at that point Zombie Duck Hunt was our largest project taking 3 months to develop. Even with the initial bugs in that first version, we realized that the core of the app was something people would enjoy. Because of that get ready to see more of Zombie Duck Hunt in 2011!
  • Let’s Quizzle! Our Quizzles were simple-to-play quiz games. Over the course of the year we developed a line of Movie, TV Show, and Cartoon Quizzles. Based on user feedback, we believe that people really enjoy playing these apps. However, generating enough revenue to justify them has been a totally different issue. In general, our in-game eCPMs just haven’t been high enough to sustain the product line. One reason for this, after talking to partners, is probably because users are so engaged in taking the quiz that they ignore any ads. It was a good learning experience, but the future of Quizzle is unclear.
  • Emily’s Dress Up & Shop! Once again this app came from Emily, who wanted to build the best dress-up app out there. We have succeeded in doing just that with this creative app for players of all ages. You can create your own model(s) and design your own outfits. On top of that, you can share those outfits with your friends. We’ve seen over 1 million outfit codes created so far.
  • What’s in store for 2011? We expect to have 3 new releases in Q1 alone. First up will be Emily’s Runway, which will be a great addition to Emily’s line of apps. You will be able to shine as the great fashion designer you were always meant to be. Plus it will have a brand new UI and a number of great performance features. Second, there will be a brand new Zombie Duck Hunt app. I won’t give away too many details now, but I know that if you love ZDH you will love this new app. Third, there will be our first pseudo-social app. We are already working full bore on the project and we are very excited about it.

    Once again, thanks to all of you who have played our apps and given us wonderful feedback. We build these apps for you! We look forward to a prosperous 2011 and watching the Broken Thumbs Apps team grow!

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    Lightning Strikes Again

    Monday, August 16th, 2010
    Did you know that it’s a popular myth that lightening cannot strike the same place twice? This post is all about how we hit lightning twice in the past two months.

    It’s been over a year since Broken Thumbs Apps started developing iPhone apps (and I’m going to leave the review of that year to my next post).

    In July we made a critical decision about Zombie Duck Hunt. It was not earning anywhere near our expectations and we weren’t getting enough feedback to improve the app. Because of this we came to the then difficult decision to make it free and to run a promotion behind it.

    Luckily the good folks at Open Feint chose to promote Zombie Duck Hunt for us and the results were outstanding. Within days of the promotion we became the #1 Free App in the US. Since that promotion we have had over 2 million downloads.

    But even better than that was the feedback we got. 5 out of 5 stars…. errr, well not exactly, more like 2 out of 5 stars. ;-)

    As a developer every app you make is like your child, but unlike having a real child we have no problem making changes to it. We make apps for others to enjoy and that was the great thing about getting those 2 out of 5 stars. It gave us the direction we needed. We then were able to come out with version 2.2, which included many of the bug/crash fixes people asked for. We also noticed our written reviews became very positive and our average rating rose to 3 out of 5 stars. Version 3.0 (currently in review by Apple) adds a whole new scene, more zombies, more guns and, after reading the reviews, our next update will include… a new shooting mechanism that does not depend on the accelerometer.

    Last Thursday we then got our second lightning strike. Our Name That Movie Quizzle started skyrocketing up the UK Free Apps charts. We still are unsure exactly how it happened, but  if any of you know, please let us know. As of today,  Name That Movie Quizzle is THE #1 FREE APP IN THE UK. We are very happy to see this and once again reading over the reviews is so helpful to us in improving the app.

    So why after a year are we getting so ‘lucky.’ It’s hardly luck but more of the results of a grueling year of difficult decisions, hard work, and working with great people. Honestly, I’m starting to feel lucky and, like they say, the third times a charm!
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    Five Months Later: Our First App Featured in “New and Noteworthy” by Apple!

    Monday, March 1st, 2010

    It’s been a little more than five months since our first title was released into the App Store. With each title after that, we’ve tried to improve each game, as well as our market assessment, development, marketing, support and other internal processes, as we try to build a sustainable business making casual apps for the iPhone OS (and eventually other mobile platforms).

    One obstacle that we and seemingly most other indie developers run into is how to get visibility to users among the over 150,000 apps in the App Store. We tried different approaches to get visibility both within and outside our apps, with modest success at best.

    Emily's Girl Talk Icon A couple weeks ago, we released Emily’s Girl Talk, a fun story-telling app with charming graphics that included four games in one (MASH, Lemon and more), and which we thought that younger girls and nostalgic adults in particular might enjoy. Based on feedback from users, it seems that the core of v1.0 hit our target market, and we immediately started working on planned and requested additions for the first major update to Emily’s Girl Talk.

    Still, despite the general praise and enthusiasm that we heard for the game, Emily’s Girl Talk was not reaching nearly the number of people we had hoped in its initial few weeks, hovering at or just outside the Top 25 Paid Word Games category. Then, enter Apple.

    Today, we were delighted to discover that Apple featured Emily’s Girl Talk among the “New and Noteworthy” in the App Store. Within a few hours, Emily’s Girl Talk appeared within the Top 20 Paid Word Games category.

    Although we might just be a lucky, random recipient of great fortune, it also feels like we received a little validation from Apple, with the hopes that market validation will follow. If we’ve built a solid product in Emily’s Girl Talk like we (and some early fans) think we have, and can benefit from a little in-app virality, Apple’s feature might just be the spark that helps us over the hump. At the very least, we are reassured that we’re not so far off, as we continue to refine our apps and processes and search for a more dependable method of distribution and marketing. And, in the meantime, we’ll enjoy our week in Apple’s spotlight, and report back with anything significant.

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