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The secret to getting 4 million paid downloads on iPhone

By on June 17, 2010
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The answer, according to Finnish developer Rovio, is to have a big red logo for your game.

The company has now achieved 10 million downloads for Angry Birds: 4 million at 99c and 6 million of the free Lite version.

Angry Birds logo

Their secret: making the game stand out on the AppStore. And, as Rovio CEO Mikael Hed told PocketGamer.biz, “We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that items such as the game’s red icon stand out on the App Store.We’ve learnt from Apple how important attention to detail is.”

Of course, it helps to have a fun, simple to play game that ranks up there with Doodle Jump, Pocket God and Flight Control for addictive gameplay.

But I think that self-publishing developers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the look of that icon on the AppStore. Getting a user to click on that is the first step to sales success.

UPDATE: It’s been pointed out that I seem to be playing down the role of Chillingo, the publisher of Angry Birds, in the post. Clearly I did, and that is unfortunate, because the publishing function remains key to the success of any game, whether it is carried out by the developer, a publisher, or outsourced providers.

Nevertheless, my point is this post was to emphasise one particular lesson learned – that a high impact icon can have a significant impact on getting people into the top of your sales funnel. That is an important lesson, I think. And worth driving home in a very narrow post. But I apologise to everyone at Chillingo who worked on this title – I would have thought they should take substantial credit for Angry Birds success.

(Thanks, as so often, to Stuart Dredge’s iPhoneGamesBulletin for the heads-up)

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com