Mobile games may not play by the same rules.
We have now entered summer (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), which is traditionally a slow time for sales in the game industry. The explanation over the years has generally been that this is a time during which people take vacations and spend more time outside, so they spend less time at the computer or game system and play fewer games. This certainly makes sense for desktop and console games, but in this day of increased use of mobile devices and handhelds, the traditional explanation may not hold (as much) water. When one of your game systems (i.e., phone) travels with you everywhere, it makes sense that it would get used as much as usual; in fact, it is likely used more in places like airports, the back seat of a car during a long drive, and the hotel room after the swimming pool has closed for the evening.
Of course, if summer shifts play to mobile games, where the (dubious) profits are marginal, at best, this is still likely to result in an overall slump for companies who support more than one type of platform. Nevertheless, I expect that consumer behavior changes differently in the summer with respect to mobile games. I would hope for extra game purchases in preparation for a vacation or while waiting during travel.
Interestingly, our limited data (with a little squinting 🙂 ) can fit that scenario. Since the holiday weekend at the end of May (Memorial Day in the United States, Late Spring Bank Holiday in the UK), downloads have changed. At the start of that weekend, we saw a spike in downloads which mostly persisted through the (holiday) Monday, after which they essentially flatlined for a few days. Then, last weekend, we had another (smaller) spike on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then (now) back to zip. Alas, our total download counts are too small to draw definitive conclusions (or even be statistically significant 🙁 ), and it has only been a couple of weekends. (Our sales do not definitively correlate with downloads.) Also, many schools around here are still in session, so we are not really into the heart of summer vacation season either, though the weather is definitely much improved.
Operating more on the assumption that mobile sales may persist through the summer, and the knowledge that sales really need to improve, than on the need for experimental data, we have decided to put Demolish! Pairs on sale for 50% off throughout the month of June, and we have likewise discounted all IAP products in Demolish! Pairs FTP similarly. Sure, it may skew the data, but in a good way. 🙂
As a reward for reading this blog post (assuming that you have done so in a timely manner), I will tell you that we are approaching the 1 year anniversary of the Demolish! Pairs release, and to celebrate, we plan to make the game absolutely free for one day only, on June 18, 2014. You can download the game on that day (two weeks from today) and keep it forever.
“There’s a hole in the cat bag!”