The Amazing Story of Pocket God

Matthew Campbell, July 16th

F8703850-AD60-4D6D-A94B-E4322383FBD1.jpgDo you want to learn something from an amazing iPhone app success story?

Well, me too – that is why I was fascinated by this article I read by Dean Takahashi

Pocket God offers case study of how to build a hit iPhone game

It is a great article and inspirational to see an indy developer achieve that level of success. These two guys are clearly passionate about what they are going and that passion seems to have driven them to success in spite of working a day job that took 60-80 hours of their time each week.

Some take away points that I thought were interesting were: Pocket God stayed fresh with WEEKLY updates for months and one person on the team was a DESIGNER.

Fresh Content

You should know by now that the app store rewards fresh content. Not only to users appear to appreciate this, but the system is rigged in favor of anything new. I encourage anyone developing an app to have a plan to produce regular updates for weeks and months after the app is released. BONUS: like the Pocket God guys did, listen to your audience.

Design Matters

The iPhone is a device that is uniquely strong on the GUI with all its innovative elements. The art and visual elements really matter and it has to be more than shiny buttons. Clearly having a designer/artist involved as a partner is a great idea. This is the soul of the app and if you can hit the right lizard brain buttons your app could be a real winner.

It occurs to me that another successful app I wrote about had a real designer on board (Gratitude Journal) and I think I am starting to see a pattern emerge here. This is also something that is difficult to “outsource”, you need a partner who is both creative and invested in the app to make something special.

What did you think of Dean’s article? Anymore take away messages that we should focus on?

Couple of things stand out for me:

1) They are both experience game developers (one designer, one developer)

2) having a designer (as you point out) is a must (and I think its time I starting looking for one)


PS They are both the same age as me so there is hope for me yet.

I guess experience also counts. They are inspiring me to at least spend more time on my own designing. I’ve been making my own buttons for my next app. In the future, I would love to have a full time designer working on my apps (and maybe a part time coder). (Wishing..)

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