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Getting Featured on the App Store Works, Unless They Call You an Indie Game

Amazing puzzle game? That sounds great, here's 99 cents. Incredible indie game? Ehhhhhh ...


Turns out iPhone owners aren’t as hipstery as their critics might like to believe.

A new report published today by Distimo confirmed that, generally speaking, being featured by Apple’s editors is a good thing. Apps appearing in the category “Amazing Puzzlers for 99¢,” for example, saw downloads quintuple and revenue quadruple.

However, appearing in “10 Incredible Indie Games” or the new “Indie Game Showcase” produced a whole lotta nothing. The critically acclaimed app Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery had previously seen a bump in downloads and a huge jump in revenue when Apple highlighted it in a category called “Spectacular Stories,” but when it appeared in the “10 Incredible Indie Games” feature two weeks later, both metrics were flat.

And it’s not as though being an indie game or being associated with similar games was the problem. “If You Liked…” categories suggesting new games similar to the indie hits The Room and Badland more than doubled and tripled those new games’ downloads, respectively.

Maybe the gap here stems from the fact that “indie game,” other than referring to the type of company that makes the game, can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Whatever the reason, the report’s findings underscore how hard it is to break through on the App Store, and should be especially worrying to independent developers relying on Apple’s editors to get their games noticed.

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