What factors determine app store downloads/game views

I was revisiting some old cog games on the app. As I’m currently working on several wip games I was curious how many times games would be viewed over time. The number I looked at was number of downloads and then the time of release. A peculiar thing I noticed was how many downloads some games got compared to others many of which being of generally similar quality. One example being the great tournament with over 500000 downloads total but saying release date was in 2017. From what I be seen the average cog game only does about 10000+ downloads on the app store even after being out for years. This makes me quite curious about the factors involved in games being viewed and would to hear from people with more experience/knowledge on this.


Honestly if there was an airtight formula, we’d probably use it and be millionaires! But there are some trends - scifi and historical fiction have been mentioned before as genres that have undersold, though I don’t know how up to date that is. There are some straw polls about favourite and underrated games, and more discussion of underrated games here (though I’d take some of the assessments of underrated games with a pinch of salt as some of them mentioned are very popular indeed!)

It’s tricky to assess using forum commentary, because broadly the forum is a minority of the Choice of Games and Hosted Games players, and it’s tempting to pay a lot of attention to the extremely high selling/high discussion outliers. There’s some discussion here about revenue numbers, but again there are some very high numbers floating around there which shouldn’t be considered commonplace!

All of which to say, it’s not easy to judge what will or won’t be wildly successful, and we’re at the mercy of app store algorithms as well. The Great Tournament is free to complete though, no? That will definitely impact download numbers.


If you are talking about hosted games then I can tell you my opinion on one thing that will defiantly make me NOT look at the game. Bad Cover/Icon Art.

If I see art that looks hamfisted and made on MS Paint it makes me think that the author didnt care enough about their project to hire an artist to make appealing art to sell their baby, then it makes also think that the author hasnt put the effort to proof read or edit their story. I know the saying is not to judge a book by its cover but its the 1st impression a potential reader gets of your story. The cover art can do a lot for you, it sets the tone and genre of your story.

Compare the new A Sorcerers Story to A Sensei’s Story. Both have really similar designs, a circle and text saying the name of the book but a Sensei’s Story is way more appealing. The more ‘hand written’ font style fits with being a teacher in the book while the typography for a Sorcerers story looks like a bad font in a powerpoint presentation. and the shade of blue hurts my eyes. It seems unprofessional, and I admit kinda ugly to me.

This isnt to be negative on the Sorcerers Story, its defiantly not the game with the worst looking art but its the newest. And I dont know the numbers for a Sensei’s Story, but I think it was recently re-released? Ive only played the demo, but I havent even clicked on a Sorcerers Story yet. Im gonna give it a chance and play it now anyhow.


I would also think the number would also be affected by the fame and following of the author or game published. Is there good examples of this?

Blood Money was my first game and sold very well especially in its first couple of months, but Creme de la Creme, my second one, has so far significantly outstripped it in terms of sales. I imagine there were several factors in that such as genre, me having greater experience, and there being more information available about it during development. I imagine that me not being an unknown quantity for the second one helped a lot with regard to people giving it a go - they weren’t taking a chance on someone they weren’t familiar with.

Having said that, I didn’t have fame or a big social media following during the release of either game, I only started using my Twitter account after Blood Money was released and I started a Tumblr a little bit after Creme de la Creme came out. Neither of them have vast followings - I would consider myself known in some niche circles, but not at all famous!


Creme de la Creme is a high school drama, right? I gotta say that this 100% is the reason for its success! High school drama is a way more popular genre than (for Blood Money, I assume) crime. Also, I think the title of CdlC is way better! Super evocative and fun.


I didn’t have any when I started (first time writing interactive fiction, and the few that knew me from my other writing wouldn’t have made a difference). I think the initial boost came from the forum here, with lots of playtesting and discussions, and then it dropped like a rock. As time passed and I did become more well known, the sales started ticking up, so it can definitely be built later. It’s going to be interesting to compare the sales curve of my second game with the first one, and see how it behaves. I love stats and curves.

My biggest month after the first three month launch spike was almost a year and a half post launch so a lot of things can happen.


I guess I associate CoG games more with fantasy than with school stories, and I’d consider Blood Money closer to a “typical” CoG - if such a thing exists at all! But then it’s hard to judge without distance, and school stories like Psy High, and social/etiquette stories like Tally Ho have been very popular too (both of which are not really similar to Crème but are maybe distant cousins to it).

Yes, if people are excited about it and have a bit of direct knowledge of the game before it comes out, that’s a group of players who are more likely to be excited enough to spread the word about how cool it is, and often will spend money on it as a result of that knowledge.


Kinda true, from what I’ve seen almost all the stories with poor icons/art also have low ratings on the play store.

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