Feature Articles

App Attack #002: Rags-to-Riches Apps

App Attack #002: Rags-to-Riches Apps



App Attack #002: Rags-to-Riches Apps

App Attack #002: Rags-to-Riches Apps

It's been a while since we've done an apps feature, and in that interim period, there has been no lack of apps available on the various mobile platforms. However, it's never about the quantity, but the quality that matters. Amidst a sea of apps on the iOS platform, we've heard of some developers who have made it big from a simple concept that was translated to an app. With a combination of the right pricing, marketing skill and perhaps some luck involved, these developers became millionaires through the sheer number of downloads on the App Store. Here are five popular and successful apps that have gone through the rags-to-riches story in this App Attack issue.

 

 
Angry Birds

Price: US$0.99 / Free
Category: Games
Platforms: Apple iOS / Google Android / Maemo / Symbian^3

Angry Birds needs no introduction. The game that spawned a huge following, garnered rave reviews and got honored with  parodies such as a peace treaty video (warning: not safe for work), is quite frankly, a simple story about birds seeking vengeance upon the egg-stealing pigs.

Looking beyond how you send the Angry Birds to its doom when you launch it from the giant slingshot, this is also a game that revealed the profitability of apps, if it received a stroke of luck. And with the right pricing, a shrewd marketing scheme, and a wise expansion plan towards the various mobile platforms, it's of no surprise that these Angry Birds are moving beyond the digital world, into reality with its merchandise.

  

 
Trism

Price: US$2.99
Category: Games
Platforms: Apple iOS

With an initial investment of US$5000, and after Apple's cut of the profit, this simple Bejeweled-like game created by Steve Demeter of Demiforce reaped in US$250,000 in profits in a period of two months, back when the game was priced at US$4.99. Trism was regarded as one of the first few success stories for developers who made it big on the App Store.

Trism bears much semblance to Bejeweled, building on the premise of clearing blocks by sliding them in six different directions. You get three distinct modes to play through such as Classic, Timed and Puzzled. And for the hardcore gamers, you also get to collect 22 achievements for boasting rights.

 

 
Trainyard

Price: US$0.99
Category: Games
Platforms: Apple iOS

Not all apps get off on a good start. Trainyard, developed by Matt Rix, wasn't raking in the cash as he hoped for. His story turned for the better through two important decisions – featuring Trainyard Express, a free version with different (and less) puzzles from the paid app, and adjusting the app price to a mere US$0.99. What was the outcome? An app, that surpassed Angry Birds as the #2 download on the App Store.

Trainyard is essentially a puzzle game, which requires you to link up your trains to their corresponding color-coded stations via tracks. With various routes to take, Trainyard provides hours of endless fun, and at times, frustration if you can't crack the code.

 

 
iShoot

Price: US$0.99
Category: Games
Platforms: Apple iOS

Sometimes, when you're down on your luck, sparing six weeks to code an app and selling it on the App Store does pay off. That is the story of iShoot and its developer, Ethan Nicholas. Taking a cue from the Trism success, iShoot was created and sold for an initial price of US$2.99. The gamble paid off, when iShoot netted a sales figure of 2 million, and if you've got the maths correct, you'll see where the lottery is.

Seems like trajectory games are somewhat of a hit. Because that's what iShoot is, which is like what you might get with the turn-based artillery game Worms, minus the cuteness. Instead, you get some a serious arsenal of nukes, bombs and missiles, hoping to wipe out your opponents, be it computer or human

 

 
Doodle Jump

Price: US$0.99
Category: Games
Platforms: Apple iOS / Google Android

A more recent success story came from two brothers who formed Lima Sky. With the profits split between the two brothers, its top-selling game, Doodle Jump, netted a profit of US$1 million for each of them by early March 2010. All that, from an app that's priced at US$0.99 on the App Store.

Doodle Jump, similar to Angry Birds, is an addictive game that keeps you going. Likewise, the appeal is not in its breath-taking graphics, but its simple yet cute doodle-style interface. As the name implies, you will be jumping onto platforms, avoiding enemies such as UFOs and blasting them to pieces with a loaded nose.