New Circix update brings music at last!

The latest update to Circix has been released today for Android and iOS. So what’s new? Well in this update we have finally added some fantastic music to the game. We have also added the Speed Round game mode to the iOS version.

Special thanks must go to Dominic and Eddie from Bitcaster Music for writing and recording the music for us. Get in touch with them on Twitter at @vexxin or visit their website at http://www.bitcastermusic.com.

In the next update we plan to add more free levels and some social media integration. How does this sound to you? Feel free to get in touch with your thoughts!

Indie app of the day!

This week it has been all about Android.

Following weeks on Windows Phone 8 domination, a kind fellow over at AndroidAuthority.com decided to write a review of Circix. Whilst not earth shattering, we felt it was an honest and fair assessment. What’s more, it was enough to earn us “Indie App Of The Day!”.

Indie app of the day - AndroidAuthority.com

Indie app of the day – AndroidAuthority.com

Our successful and free marketing technique

by Russ King, 13th May 2014

I see the topic of app marketing and promotion discussed at length around the internet. God knows I’ve read plenty in an effort to get downloads for our latest game. In fact I’ve tried to implement many suggestions for previous games also. However, there was one thing in particular that we did differently this time, and it worked very well for us. Intrigued? Read on…

Firstly let me ask you this – what are you expecting from “successful marketing”?

I’ll be up front with you – Circix has not gone viral like other games out at the same time (eg. Threes, 2048, Don’t touch the white tiles). We have had a total of 14,000 downloads with the majority on Windows Phone 8. However, we have had plenty reviews including this one from TouchArcade.

Yes, you read correctly – TouchArcade. So now you are asking yourself why we’ve only had 14,000 downloads. Surely getting a review on TouchArcade is the be-all-and-end-all right? If you believe this then you have probably bought into all the hype and conjecture (like many do) that simply getting high profile reviews will make your game an instant success. It has certainly made a difference to our download numbers – but nothing that has lasted (see below).

TouchArcadeReview

Whilst this was initially disappointing (because I too bought into all the hype and conjecture), I am now very pleased that I have found a way of game marketing that actually gets your game some attention! And it doesn’t cost a penny.

NB. If you believe that our marketing has failed because we don’t have 1 million downloads then I believe you need to be realistic and lower your expectations. We have definitely learnt from our experiences with Circix so far. Valuable lessons such as:
- There is absolutely no point in paying for reviews. Even reviews from the very best sites will not guarantee a viral successful.
- Marketing isn’t done over night. It is an ongoing process.
- Don’t bother with a press release unless you have something truly truly special and first of type. In fact, even then, don’t bother. No one is listening.

So, onto the question that you want answering – how did we get reviews for free?

Well, firstly we started with the basics that everybody recommends – I will definitely be doing all of the following for every future game.

- Create a Facebook page.
- Create a Twitter page.
- Create a promotional video and stick it on youtube.
- Create a website.

Now to be clear, I’m not just talking about giving your game ‘a mention’ on your own facebook and/or twitter accounts. I mean actually creating a separate account specifically for your game. This way, when you engage with people on those networks, people will immediately get the name of your app into their head. They have some essential information right from the start.

There are plenty of details on the internet about how best to create a video for your game so I won’t go into that here – but do create one.

With regards to the website – I believe this is essential. This has been the hub of our marketing activities. We use it to make announcements, show off screenshots, keep links to the AppStores etc. And because we used WordPress we get lots of fantastic stats about how people got to the site, what articles and pages they looked at, and what they clicked on. All of this information helps to identify which of your promotional activities are working and which are not.

We have tried to ensure that our presence across Twitter, Facebook and the website are as consistent as possible. This means using the same icons for the Twitter and Facebook accounts, and where applicable the same promo images. This also means making sure that announcements are made on all three.

Finally, try to link to link to all your social media accounts from each one (where possible). And make sure to link to the AppStore so people can find and download your game.

You might feel that our website and social media accounts could be improved. I would agree. There are certainly things we could do better – but by having all of the above we are at least ticking the majority of boxes that the media/press/reviewers will be looking for.

So, that’s it right? NO! At this point many people just stop and hope to get people visiting the website, following on twitter, and liking on Facebook. I have made this mistake with previous games. Mistakes are great as long as you learn from them!

And so this brings me onto the whole point of this article really – the single biggest thing you can do to promote your app or game. Get tweeting!

Use your new Twitter page to follow important people in the industry such as games reviewers, editors, writers for papers, your target audience etc. It need not be as hard as you sound. Need to know who the Tech Writer is at the Guardian? Google is your friend. Need to know who might like your new Snake clone? Search twitter for “loving Snake”.

And then don’t stop at following. Get involved. Speak to these people and try to get to know them. Don’t just target the big review sites. Put some real thought into who will want to play your app. Making an indie game? Perhaps that are review sites dedicated to indie games. Make sure you aren’t speaking to the wrong people (A reviewer of fine wines is unlikely going to be person you want playing your game).

Do this everyday. Set aside an hour or two to really get your teeth into Twitter and figure out new and interesting tactics on how you can leverage the platform.

One final thing – should you bother emailing review sites? I would say have a day of it and then forget it – it can’t hurt, and at least two sites that reviewed our game insisted on us emailing them first. However, the vast majority of our reviews came about because of engagement via social media.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have and I hope you enjoyed the article.

-Russ

Why Windows Phone is a must for indie devs

by Graham Barber, 1st May 2014

The prevailing opinion seems to be that when writing a game destined for the mobile platforms, releasing on Android and iOS are a given. Releasing on Windows Phone (WP) is done ‘if we have time’ or ‘if the game is a success’. After all, if you’re releasing on the two biggest platforms, surely these are the keys to your success, right? Wrong. Okay, maybe that sounded overly dramatic, but I do hope that after reading this article you might consider WP again.

Now I’ll put my cards on the table. I’m a fan of the WP platform, I have been since picking up and owning the Lumia 800. I currently use a Lumia 820, and in a few months my contract is up and, guess what, I’ll be getting another WP. There was no decision at all to release Circix on WP, as this was a must as far I was concerned. Am I biased? Yep, and I make no excuses for it.

Despite being a fan of WP, I tried to have realistic expectations about the potential of Circix on the platform. No matter what level of success Circix achieved, I always believed and expected that the majority of downloads -and dare I say it, income- would come from Android and iOS. This was based on simple numbers, WP just doesn’t have the market share. We chose to release on all three platforms simultaneously. Apart from allowing for one big launch announcement, it would also provide the means to directly compare the performance of the stores and hopefully share the fruits of combined download momentum and possible social media response.

What we have found, to our surprise, has been an unbelievable performance by WP. In the five-or-so weeks since Circix was launched, we have had over 11,000 downloads in total, with about three-quarters of those being on WP. Let’s put that into perspective. The global market share of Android and iOS shipments combined for 2013 was 93.8%, with WP rising to a lofty 3.3% (source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 12 February 2014). It makes WP providing 75% of Circix downloads even more astonishing.

The next question we need to ask is, why? The first argument may be that with fewer games on the WP store, it might be easier for an individual to find Circix than on the bloated Google Play and iTunes stores. This may be true, it’s hard to know for sure, but certainly isn’t the whole story here. I put the success in the main down to two factors:

Firstly, the rather unique ‘New + Rising’ list. Rather than an app sitting in a ‘New Apps’ list for a day, only to be pushed out by the following day’s new releases, apps have the opportunity to be visible for several weeks. More specially, three weeks for Circix. That’s three weeks for an app to gain some initial downloads and in the case of quality apps, an opportunity to work their way up the ‘Top Apps’ lists. My belief is that the ‘New + Rising’ list does help avoid good apps from underserved obscurity. Circix has now left this list, but does still enjoy higher organic downloads than Android and iOS, I take this to mean that the list has done it’s job for us.

Secondly, being featured among the daily ‘spotlight’ apps. Each day, eight apps and eight games are spotlighted by the WP store team. Such apps have significant visibility in the store. These features are separate per country and on three different device categories (all phones, just Nokia phones or non-Nokia phones), so every day there are literally hundreds of spotlight positions available for the store team to allocate. We have been lucky, and have been featured several times and in many different countries (thank you WP store team!). Our most successful feature so far being the first ‘all phones’ spotlight in the USA, making up the majority portion of almost 2,000 downloads on WP that day.

It is worth noting that while Google Play and iTunes also have featured apps of the day, so far Circix has not had the privilege of being included. Perhaps we have been unlucky, or perhaps the sheer number of apps on these stores has a detrimental affect on the odds of being chosen.

Our marketing has been targeted as broadly as possible, with this website, twitter & facebook accounts, forum posts and direct contact with reviewers. If anything I would say that our efforts have been more Android and iOS centric, given the larger number of forums and reviewers out there. Our activities have given us some noticeable spikes in download activity, but nothing that compares to the enduring performance of WP.

I imagine that if Circix ever went viral, the Android and iOS versions would quickly over-shadow the current success of WP. In reality, what is the likelihood of a game going viral? Part of it is down to the type and quality of the game and of course the size of the marketing budget, but a large part I believe is down to luck. So, if there’s a chance that your game will fall short of going viral, I firmly believe that releasing on WP is not only an option, but an essential choice. Period.

Exclusive content for Windows Phone 8 players

We are proud to announce the all new Speed Round mode, available to download now from the WP8 store. Show your new found Circix skills by scoring big while you race against the clock. Play on board sizes 3×3 up to 6×6, on 400 new levels added exclusively for the Speed Round. Good luck intrepid puzzlers!
AnnounceSpeedRound

IndieGameMag loving some “creative circuitry”

Circix is in the news again and this time it’s the lovely folk over at IndieGameMag who are mesmerised with our game.

“After Circix hit mobile devices late last month, we have been struggling to put it down”

Very kind I’m sure you will agree! Read more on their website at http://mobile.indiegamemag.com/creative-circuitry-puzzle-fun-with-circix

Circix Released For iOS, Android and WinPhone8

Do you enjoy a good puzzle game to challenge the mind? Are you a fan of games such as Sudoku, Flow Free, Minesweeper or Professor Layton? Then our brand new game Circix is certainly going to interest you.

Circix provides a unique challenge where the player must connect all of the chips to create a circuit. All chips must be part of the same circuit and each chip must have a specified number of links to other chips.

Circix has the following features:
A fantastically varied assortment of puzzles
Crisp and vivid graphics
Over 200 free levels
Increasing levels of difficulty as the game progresses
Works on phones and tablets
Help and hints if you get stuck
Keep the fun going with more level packs to buy, including larger packs for tablets

Circix is available for free on Apple AppStore, Google Play Store and Windows Phone 8 Store.

So what are you waiting for? Play now and let us know what you think.

Addictive puzzle game for iOS, Android and Windows Phone

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