GDC: Fishlabs on iPhone Marketing, Pricing, Piracy and HandyGames

August 18th, 2009 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Analysis & Editorial, Platforms: iOS | No Comments »

Fishlabs Today we met Andreas Stecher from Fishlabs. He talked with us about their experience with iPhone gaming as well as their platform expectations for the future.

For Fishlabs, the iPhone was a real gamechanger. The device came with a dataplan that wasn't cheap, but allowed consumers to be connected all the time without having to worry about the potential costs. This is something different then the traditional mobile phones that always ask consumers if they allow them to connect. That one simple question has a real scare factor.

One of the more difficult steps for the company is to set the right price for their games on the App Store. It doesn't make sense for Fishlabs to do $ 0,99 games. $0,99 is great for casual titles, but their games aren't. They are time consuming/hardcore, and so attract a completely different audience altogether. For that reason, Fishlabs is not pursuing placement in the lowest price ranges. Also price drops are not that popular for the developer.

“When you drop from 3 Euro to 1, you would expect it not to sell three times more, but at least four times. You do it to generate more revenue, not more sales. For iPhone that is not working as you would expect.”

With their hardcore titles, the company is also doing a lot of viral marketing. A lot of journalists and consumers want to write about the experience they get on their devices. We often benefit from creating a buzz. Also Lite versions help well in sales. We can't compare it to more direct marketing expenses, but the conversion is far better then they experiences on J2me based titles.

Fishlabs also had a huge success with their Barclay Waterslide game. Andreas told me the company still can't explain the reason for it. The brand owner only promoted the title in the UK and Apple didn't feature it anywhere. Yet, it topped the charts in all countries and did millions of downloads.

We also asked if Fishlabs might consider other platforms and they do keep their eyes on the market. Yet, fragmentation still proves to be a big reason not to. “Looking at platforms like Android and Windows Mobile, you still have to work with a variety of screensizes and input methods”. Fishlabs will do other platforms on a work for hire base, but not for their own titles for now.

Interestingly enough, their GamesCom booth is shared with Nokia. Andreas explains that they have a game in N-Gage and definitely want to keep an open connection to OEM vendors. Their games are wanted by them and they still hold a big part of the market. Though they loose a lot of marketshare toward the iPhone here, they will remain king in those markets where consumers have a lot less to spend on a device.

Piracy is not of a big concern to the developer. They do experience it, but there are enough sales to justify development of current and future iPhone titles. Piracy is mainly a problem they see in developing countries. Most consumers there can't afford an iPhone anyway.

And finally we got to the famous Fishlabs vs. HandyGames issue that was highlighted by most of the mobile gaming journalists. This is what Andreas had to say about it;

“It was all a big misunderstanding from both sides. They do great games in their genre and so do we in ours.”

We look forward to the response of HandyGames later on MGB.

    Leave a Reply






    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


    Contact Us:

    Other (Dutch) Publications:

    Copyright 2004-2010 Digishock Publishing. All Rights Reverved.