Why does everyone hate my game?

Member
Posts: 142
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #1
Kind of a silly question, I know.

But I'm trying to figure out why my game gets a lot of very poor ratings on iTunes.

I gather some (anonymous) statistics from the users of the free version and discovered that the mean number of games played by a user of the free version is 15. Some user of the free version has even played 639 times. About 1/3 of all users play it just once or twice then delete it, but I think that's normal for a free app.

So it seems a good number of people must like it. But at the same time, a lot of people seem to hate it, and those people don't tell me why.

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZSto...99343&mt=8

So anyway, be brutally honest, if you were a regular user (impatient, unforgiving, etc), what would throw you off most about the game?

- Holmes
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Post: #2
I don't have an iPhone, so I can't try it, but I can give some advice. It may not be that they hate your game, but that they don't necessarily like it. The difference between the two is subtle, but large. People may download it, try it, and maybe even think it's kind of fun. However, with the number of both free and cheap games available for the iPhone, it has to really stand out for them to want to keep it. Besides, a lot of people might want to play a more "interesting" game than a board game on there phone, and instead want the instant gratification of flashy effects and sounds going off everywhere.

If I were you, I'd look more at the written reviews, which are all positive. These are people who, after trying out your game, felt strongly enough about their opinion and thought it was worth their time to write their opinions for the benefit of others. For the star rating, you can get any Joe Schmoe who downloaded the game because it's free, and maybe hadn't heard of reversi, and give their rating in an instant. If that person decided that it was too boring for them, or didn't know the rules of the game (since as mentioned in one of the reviews, no help is available), that's going to reflect badly on their review, and it's very easy to click the one star rating.

Basically, according to the written reviews, it looks like the people who actually want to play reversi like your game. I view this as sort of a niche game, since it is based on an established board game that takes thinking, time, and patience. For a smart phone, I would expect the market to lean towards fast paced games that can be played for a few minutes. It appears to be serving your niche well, but not necessarily the general market, which I would still call a success. Besides, if everything served only the general market, we wouldn't really have any progress.
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Post: #3
akb825 Wrote:I don't have an iPhone, so I can't try it, but I can give some advice. It may not be that they hate your game, but that they don't necessarily like it. The difference between the two is subtle, but large. People may download it, try it, and maybe even think it's kind of fun. However, with the number of both free and cheap games available for the iPhone, it has to really stand out for them to want to keep it. Besides, a lot of people might want to play a more "interesting" game than a board game on there phone, and instead want the instant gratification of flashy effects and sounds going off everywhere.

If I were you, I'd look more at the written reviews, which are all positive. These are people who, after trying out your game, felt strongly enough about their opinion and thought it was worth their time to write their opinions for the benefit of others. For the star rating, you can get any Joe Schmoe who downloaded the game because it's free, and maybe hadn't heard of reversi, and give their rating in an instant. If that person decided that it was too boring for them, or didn't know the rules of the game (since as mentioned in one of the reviews, no help is available), that's going to reflect badly on their review, and it's very easy to click the one star rating.

Basically, according to the written reviews, it looks like the people who actually want to play reversi like your game. I view this as sort of a niche game, since it is based on an established board game that takes thinking, time, and patience. For a smart phone, I would expect the market to lean towards fast paced games that can be played for a few minutes. It appears to be serving your niche well, but not necessarily the general market, which I would still call a success. Besides, if everything served only the general market, we wouldn't really have any progress.

Thanks for the response.

It's true that the app store can be brutal. It makes me miss my experience developing for the Mac, where users attitudes seem to be more along the lines of "Hey, you made something for Mac? So long as it doesn't destroy my computer I'll love you forever for it!"

It's true that star ratings are generally bad, because any Joe Schmoe can give one without having to write any justification, and because Apple (very unwisely) decides to present a dialogue to iPhone users to rate a game when they delete it (how many people delete the apps they love?). Although at the same time it looks to me like the ratings I'm getting are still bad comparatively.

With my new game (pending Apple's review) I added an interactive tutorial to make sure people new to the game would understand the rules. Also, even though it's a board game there are lots of sound effects and sparkley thingies that any toddler would enjoy Rasp
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Apprentice
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Joined: 2008.09
Post: #4
Hmmm... I took a look, and everyone who took the time to write a review ( 5 I think? ) was VERY positive on your game. Only 1 said you needed a help feature. I will take some time to download it to my phone and check it out, looks good.
Im curious why you didnt charge at least .99 - wouldnt you like some compensation for all the time you spent on the game?
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Sage
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Post: #5
I think part of the problem is that when you delete something and you do rate it, the default is 1 star. So if they are deleting it, and they are asked to rate it, maybe they are just angry or lazy so they just leave it.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Post: #6
ericnk Wrote:Hmmm... I took a look, and everyone who took the time to write a review ( 5 I think? ) was VERY positive on your game. Only 1 said you needed a help feature. I will take some time to download it to my phone and check it out, looks good.
Im curious why you didnt charge at least .99 - wouldnt you like some compensation for all the time you spent on the game?

Oh, I've linked you to the free version (as my intention wasn't a sales pitch). The difference between the two versions is very small atm, however.
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Apprentice
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Post: #7
ok - I got your game over to my phone - all I can say is WOW! very nice job.
Very polished - A.I. is good ( kicked my butt on easy ) and internet play looks functional ( there was nobody online to play ). I cant say why you have so many 1 star ratings - especially since everyone that wrote a review was positive. Frustrating to see such a good game get a bad rating.
I am curious how the pro version has done sales-wise. At .99 your game is a bargain, can you give details on how its doing?
And on another note I would like to know what API you used for your graphics. I am looking into 2d graphics options for tiles ( very similar in ways to what you've done ). If you have time please comment at my thread here: http://www.idevgames.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17211

Anyway thats a great job, I will get a review up at app store - maybe contact Apple about specifics of 1 star rating occurrence.
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Apprentice
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Post: #8
OK i was able to play a game over the internet vs another player. The challenge room works really well. Also got a 5 star written review submitted ( every bit helps right? )
I will say I think you have too much in the free version, thereby cannibalizing your pay version.
In other words the free version is so good and has so many features why buy the pro version even if its only .99?
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Post: #9
ericnk Wrote:ok - I got your game over to my phone - all I can say is WOW! very nice job.
Very polished - A.I. is good ( kicked my butt on easy ) and internet play looks functional ( there was nobody online to play ). I cant say why you have so many 1 star ratings - especially since everyone that wrote a review was positive. Frustrating to see such a good game get a bad rating.
I am curious how the pro version has done sales-wise. At .99 your game is a bargain, can you give details on how its doing?
And on another note I would like to know what API you used for your graphics. I am looking into 2d graphics options for tiles ( very similar in ways to what you've done ). If you have time please comment at my thread here: http://www.idevgames.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17211

Anyway thats a great job, I will get a review up at app store - maybe contact Apple about specifics of 1 star rating occurrence.

Hey, thanks.

I hope the reason it gets so many 1 star reviews isn't actually due to the lack of online players. Unfortunately what happens is that I get about 1000 online logins per day, that's about one every two minutes -- but people are only willing (and I don't blame them here ... I need to make it so that you can play single player while remaining online) to wait for other players for about 30 seconds.

As for sales -- let me counteract some of the app store hype that the media loves to peddle and say that on its best day so far it made 65 sales, each sale generating 70 cents for me. And that pushed it to #35 overall in board games, out of 860 apps.

I'll respond about the graphics in your other thread.
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Post: #10
I agree, its pretty much the review on delete feature that kills all my apps. They start off with 5 stars and then gradually go down to about 2 stars once people start deleting them. But all the written reviews remain at an average of 3-5 stars.. very frustrating.
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Post: #11
Skorche Wrote:I think part of the problem is that when you delete something and you do rate it, the default is 1 star. So if they are deleting it, and they are asked to rate it, maybe they are just angry or lazy so they just leave it.

I haven't seen that default, when I delete an app I get two buttons "No Thanks" and "Rate", but the later isn't even enabled unless you tap on the stars. Lazy people would just tap on "No Thanks".
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Post: #12
PowerMacX Wrote:I haven't seen that default, when I delete an app I get two buttons "No Thanks" and "Rate", but the later isn't even enabled unless you tap on the stars. Lazy people would just tap on "No Thanks".

I think its the default option when you come to leave a written review. At least it used to be.

I think the main point is that people who are deleting an app are going to vote low. If you have 1000's of people buying you app and liking it, and only 10 write a review, but then 20 delete and vote low your app gets a low review. Thats exactly whats happened to all my apps.
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Post: #13
The system works. Have a look at the ratings of the top 10 right now, those apps are there for a reason: 8/10 app raters agree.

Sorry Holmes, Reversi just doesn't have mass market appeal. Not only that, but the genre has a lot of well established (if inferior) alternatives, so it will be very hard to prove you are better than them. If it's any consolation you're probably doing better than most right now. With so many apps it is now very very hard to get noticed. The gold rush is pretty much over for us indies.

The App Store has changed a lot in the past 4 months. It's pretty much like the Mac, only you can actually see where you stand compared to everyone else.

Chopper, iSight Screensavers, DuckDuckDuck: http://majicjungle.com
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Post: #14
Holmes, I released the very first iPhone Reversi for the app store launch. A few days later a free Reversi app came out (Morocco) and I suddenly got a dozen or so 1 star reviews by people complaining that my app wasn't free (the reviews on other stores actually focused on the game rather than the price, which was US$2 btw), even though the AI and user interface on mine were better and mine offered several options the free one didn't. Back then, users could review apps without even buying them. IMO the situation has vastly improved since then. Yeah sure, users are now encouraged to rate an app when they delete it - at least they have to buy or download it in the first place!

Even though your app is hurting my own sales, I hope it works out for you. I know how hard it is to see months of your work get slated for no good reason.
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Post: #15
reubert Wrote:The gold rush is pretty much over for us indies.

The App Store has changed a lot in the past 4 months. It's pretty much like the Mac, only you can actually see where you stand compared to everyone else.

Yeah, it's sad. With so many many apps, it does seem like it's going to be hard to get a lot of recognition anymore.
Alex
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