Over the last 6-12 months, indie developers have been complaining that trying to get to the top of the app store – without the development and marketing budgets of the large game companies – can seem nearly impossible.
Not so – meet Dong Nguyen.
Dong is the developer of a little game called Flappy Bird which is the #1 top free app and #1 top free game in the app store right now.
He’s also the #2 free app & #2 top free game with Super Ball Juggling.
I was chatting to Dong earlier. He has allowed me to share his story here.
Elaine: How long did it take your team to make Flappy Bird?
DONG: I made the game alone so there is no team, and my games are very simple so there is no need for much manpower resources. I like to reuse my artwork from game to game. The bird in Flappy Bird, I actually drew in 2012 to use in a platformer game but the project was cancelled. All the programming took around 2-3 days at best with all the tuning to make the gameplay feel right. In my games, there is no impossible situations that players cannot pass.
Elaine: Is your success due to organic downloads only, or did you use any other methods?
DONG: I didn’t use any promotion methods. All accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram about Flappy Bird are not mine. The popularity could be my luck.
Elaine: Have you any advice for indie devs?
DONG: I myself think western-made mobile games are a little unnecessary complex for massive of players. So please try to make more simple games, learning how players react should help.
Elaine: Why do you love making games?
DONG: I love making games because it is natural to me. The first job I got was a game programmer.
So have you played Flappy Bird and what’s your top score? You can see my dismal attempts below. Download the game here if you haven’t already.
It’s motivating to see that it is still possible for small indie devs to make games that go to the top of the app store. And this is despite major competition with all the massive game studios resources and advertising budgets.
What do you think. Can indies still really compete with the large game studios? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATED: I may have stumbled across at least 1 reason for the downloads… check out why Twitter could be the cause here.