在逾6.5天的时间里，定价为99美分的iPhone应用《The Heist》销售量达到50万1813，总盈利超过30万美元，这简直令人震惊。相比之下，我们上款登上排行榜的应用《Voices》在发布首月的销售量仅为30万，也就是说《The Heist》的销售速度将近是它的8倍！
《The Heist》中有个独特的功能：当你打通游戏后，将可解锁另一个游戏作为奖励。这项活动获得了Klei Entertainment成员Jamie的支持，他愿意让其Mac&PC游戏（游戏邦注：这款游戏原售价为9.99美元）参与这项推广活动。
电子邮件中还邀请用户参与iPad 2抽奖活动。我们在tap tap tap和MacHeist上通过一系列“Tweetblasts”来推广各种事件和产品发布。如果你有大量Twitter关注者，那么Tweetblasts便可以用来激发粉丝传播游戏，即便是那些没有兴趣购买应用的粉丝！
在多数国家里，《The Heist》一跃登上排行榜首位，直接超过许多已经在市场中确立地位的应用品牌，比如《愤怒的小鸟》、《水果忍者》和《翼飞冲天》。我们觉得，许多玩家此前从未体验过这款游戏，带有一定的新鲜感，因此其占据排行榜首位势必会引发众多用户的兴趣。排行榜首位不仅意味着你的应用表现很棒，而且也表明它在App Store中最具影响力。
Heisting the App Store: 500,000 Apps Sold in 1 Week
It’s hard to believe we launched The Heist for iPhone just one week ago, but here we are, 7 days later, lacking sleep but making up for it in pure adrenaline and shock. The numbers are in and our minds are officially blown.
The Opening Week Haul
In just a little over 6.5 days, The Heist has racked up a staggering 501,813 sales at 99¢, totaling well over $300,000 in revenue. To put that in perspective, our last chart-topping app, Voices, managed to clear 300,000 sales… in its first month, meaning The Heist has been outselling it at a rate of nearly 8 fold! Makes us wonder if we outsold the entire paid Android marketplace this week.
We definitely think we made a cool game, but even Angry Birds took a couple weeks to get noticed. So what the heck happened here? It’s difficult to separate out everything that played a part in The Heist’s success, but we tried our best to identify some of the more significant contributing factors. So let’s run through the list and see what it takes to temporarily oust Angry Birds in the charts – the App Store equivalent of a Death Star trench run for indie devs:
Bottled Up Pressure
We started teasing The Heist way back in January, hiding clues only accessible for MacHeist bundle customers in Twitter for Mac 1.0. While this secret area was hidden for most, its inclusion in such a high profile software release got our base buzzing and planted some interesting seeds in their collective heads.
About a week before The Heist’s release, we started teasing in earnest, putting up this teaser page and inviting MacHeist members to speculate on what was on its way in a brand new discussion forum. This was tweeted out and shared to a couple hundred thousand fans following on twitter and Facebook, cueing them into the incoming release (and the app icon!).
The teaser page also included a simple multitouch puzzle for MacHeist fans. Twisting the rotating maze backwards unlocked a blueprint of The Heist’s vault room.
A few days into the teaser page, the app was approved, sooner than expected. But we were ready to go, and set the app for release.
Pumping Up Value
The Heist includes a unique gimmick of a feature: When you beat the game, you unlock another game as a prize. We call it the cereal box prize, and Jamie at Klei Entertainment was happy to play part of guinea pig with one of his Mac & PC games. (I won’t spoil it but it normally sells for $9.99 on its own.)
With The Heist’s expensive production value and valuable prize at the end, we felt it could sell for a solid $2.99. Possibly even $4.99. But after much discussion, we slashed that to 99¢… just in case.
It’s possible we could’ve maximized revenue with a slightly higher price point, but we hedged our bets, deciding charting as highly as possible and building our brand as quickly as possible (by bulking up on happy paid customers) was much more important.
Direct to Fans
Once the app was approved and released on the store, our main focus was announcing the new MacHeist mission to our 500,000 fans opted in to hear from us via email.
The email also included an invitation to enter an iPad 2 giveaway. This was the latest in a series of ‘Tweetblasts’ we’ve run at tap tap tap and MacHeist to kick off various events and product launches. If you have a bunch of accumulated Twitter followers, Tweetblasts can be great for incentivizing your fans to spread the word – even those who aren’t necessarily interested in purchasing your app!
As the announcement mailing started going out, tweets began to fly and The Heist quickly broke into the top 200 paid app charts. Popular blogs in the Mac and iOS community began spreading the word: Touch Arcade; 148 Apps; Mac Rumors; TUAW; MacStories; Cult of Mac; TheNextWeb; The Loop; TechCrunch.
Word of Mouth Buzz
Early on in The Heist’s release it became apparent that customers were responding very well to the idea of a mystery prize to unlock at the end of the game (novel to a new crowd largely unfamiliar with MacHeist), and in particular to a unique story-framing device we employ from the game’s opening moments.
We saw this kind of comment repeated over and over again through iTunes reviews and while madly refreshing twitter search for The Heist. It seems like our customers enjoy selling the app as a unique experience to friends without spoiling the gotcha moments and vault loot surprise.
As a result we’re now getting some solid word of mouth, similar to an audience buzzing after seeing a movie with a twist ending. Let’s just hope this doesn’t lead to me chasing similar gimmicks over and over again in apps and games that consistently slide in quality and degenerate into clichés until my name becomes a joke…
Oh and of course I can’t tell you what this popular feature hook is! You’ll have to find out for yourself.
It’s Fresh, and No Fowl
In under 20 hours The Heist toppled Angry Birds in the Top Paid Apps chart in the US, and within a couple days it had topped the paid app charts in 30 countries. (With an unfortunate exception in Japan, the land of video games.)
In most countries The Heist popped into the top, pushing its way past a group of established App Store brands – Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, more Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, Angry Birds, etc., and we think by benefit of not being familiar, and rather being totally fresh, The Heist enjoyed a particularly strong surge of interest and sales once the app started experiencing #1 charting exposure. (The #1 spot is not only representative of how well your app is doing, but also is arguably the most valuable and highly tapped ‘shelf space’ on the App Store.)
A lot of people are sick of Angry Birds, and while we have no expectations on knocking it out for more than an abberation of a week, we are definitely proud to have dispelled the ridiculous notion that your app and app icon has to have a bird in it to take #1. Though to be fair, we’re going to have a helluva time merchandising a vault door.
We’re going to ride it out. Then, start gliding down the charts, waving Angry Birds on the way down – hopefully dropping slowly, gently, even with dignity. Falling… with style.
But for now the embers are hot, and we need to keep throwing logs into the fire. So that’s enough blogging for now – time to get cracking on The Heist 1.0.1! (Yeah, I know, 1.0.1… but this will be the Best. Bug. Fix. Ever.)
P.S., if you dig the app make sure to follow the crack team within tap tap tap that made it happen! (Source: taptaptap)