iPhone App Business Strategy

Well I’ve had so much fun writing my first iPhone game that I’m starting to think more about what to do next.  So I have put together a bit of a business strategy to help grow into a successful mobile game/app business.

While still in the early days of the mobile app marketplace (the App Store was opened just 3 years ago) the growth has been astonishing.  We’re already seeing some consolidation of the developers as larger development studios are figuring out the marketing processes that work best and the quality of software being published goes up and gets to a point beyond where a single developer can compete.

This consolidation is a natural part of any new technology.  It always starts out as the wild west and eventually the big guys come in with some acquisitions and start to dominate.

However, though it is getting tough to crack into the top 100 apps for any category in the App Store, there are still some ways for small shops to get there and do well.

The biggest lever that big development studios have to help get them to the top spots on the App Store is that they have a lot of apps.  This network of apps is a platform upon which they can get free advertising to promote their latest and greatest program.  It means that on day one of launching something they can quickly get 10’s of thousands of downloads.  The cost of acquisition for those customers is nearly nothing which makes it hard to compete if you have to promote your apps through paid ads.

That fact massively effects what works as a good iPhone business strategy.  Launching your first product as an awesome fully featured app is going to lead to disappointment.  Listening to the hype that similar games might have gotten with massive install rates and then looking at your own stats may be disheartening.

So a good strategy would be to start ramping up with a slew of apps.  Get as many things into the store that are “Good Enough” that you can start to build your own app network.  This can be iteratively used to help promote each additional app and make each launch bigger than the previous one.

The strategy I have developed maps out the next 5 Games that will sequentially build out the software components required to ultimately build my dream game.  Along the way I’ll have easier games to develop and release and the opportunity to re-skin those games for even more apps in the network.  This way by the time my 5th game is ready to go I’ll have a significant number of customers out there to advertise it to.

It’s going to be a fun ride to get all these things done and out there.