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About the Episode
Coming is the story of how Dirtybit successfully launched the sequel to their hit game Fun Run and the road to 65 million downloads which includes deciding to sell the company or stay independent. Also, listen to the story of how they decided to shut down one of their games and the decisions that lead them down that path.
Successfully Launching Fun Run’s Sequel with 65M Downloads
The creators of Fun Run 2, coming on the heels of the successful first version, simply tried to duplicate everything that they did right the first time. Learning that timing was essential, they launched the second version just before Christmas – same as with the first version – as they were targeting the American high school population that will be looking for something to do during the Christmas vacation. It helped of course, that Fun Run already had a solid base of around 400,000 players. To actually get the app to its intended users, cross promotion was employed by putting a teaser in Fun Run a week before the actual launch of Fun Run 2. The teaser highlighted the differences between the two versions, emphasizing the wonderful new graphics of Fun Run 2. It also announced the changes in the new version, especially the improvements on what players already loved in the original version of Fun Run. Along with the teaser was a message to that 10 people who will share the video will be chosen to receive coins. On the first 3 days, Fun Run 2 got 1M downloads. Aurora also attributes the sustained success of Fun Run 2 to the way the game worked out so smoothly from launch date.
Selling Out or Staying Independent?
The creators of Fun Run use only one deciding factor to come up with a unanimous decision to stay independent – what is it that they really want to do? The answer is easy enough: they all want to focus on doing what they love, which is to create and continue creating the games they want. So staying independent was a no brainer. After talking with both indie developers and established game creators, the consensus was to go independent because then no one is answerable to anyone.
When to Call it Quits
Aurora believes that all app creators must have a benchmark. At some point, an app developer must know when stop. For example, Dino Dash was Dirtybit’s baby — it was its very first app — however, it was not financially viable to continue with it. First of all, it took too much time for the kind of return it was giving. It had too few players and the constant maintenance and updates it required to keep the game going was proving to be draining all resources, including time, energy and finances. After consulting with at least two experts in the field of app building and marketing, and being told to give it up, Dirtybit simply did it and closed Dino Dash. At that time, it still had a few thousand players.
Aurora advises any app creator who wants to shut down a game to not be afraid of the community. If it does not make sense to continue supporting a losing app anymore, the community will understand.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to have a successful app?
“The chances of success increase with each try. So start early and try.”