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Black Shades iPhone Breaks 1000

Add Comment! By John Graham on June 26th, 2009

Wolfire's first iPhone app, Black Shades iPhone, recently broke 1000 sales on the App Store. It's been an interesting journey and in the spirit of open development we thought we'd give you a look at how BSI has been doing.


The graph above shows the BSI sales we've gotten each day since launch. We had a decent start but never made the Holy Grail of the iPhone: the self-sustaining "Top 100" list. So sales tapered off, getting stopped completely for a few days when our account was being transferred. Since then, sales have been modest but continuous. The peak at the end occurred when we got a shout out from Offworld on their list of recommended iPhone games.


The chart above shows cumulative sales over time and illustrates our steady ascent into the land of quadruple digits.

It's easy to get sucked into all the miracle app success stories. However, Simon Carless, Chairman of the IGF, and editor of both Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra, gave developers a nice dose of reality at the GDC 2009 Indie Games Summit this year. You should definitely check out his slides (slides 22-25 refer to the iPhone).

Simon said that as of March, the app store was averaging 27 new games per day -- that's a lot of competition! He also estimated that 90% of iPhone apps only sell about 200-1000 units, with 7% selling 1,000-5,000 and only 3% are selling more than that. So by this measure I guess we've just made it into the top 10% :) .

Given that BSI sells for 99, it's not exactly a huge success story like the iFart app and other apps highlighted by the media. However, Henry Kropf, the man responsible for porting Black Shades, said he'd console us with some Subway Sandwiches.

It's been an interesting experience and though we don't have any immediate plans to make more iPhone apps, we now have some insights on what we can try differently next time. Do you guys have any questions about our iPhone experience or iPhone development in general?