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Story of Trainyard: How an iOS App Shot into #1 iPhone App Store

Story of a solo, part-time game developer Matt Rix, who developed the iphone app called Trainyard.

Follow his journey from the early days till he achieved #1 in Italy, then #1 in UK, and finally #1 in US beating powerhouse Angry Birds to top the charts.

  • Roadmap
  • Figures

  • Roadmap
  1. paper planning
  2. Flash > Cocos2D
  3. make a simpler, smaller game first
  4. dev October 2009 – May 2010 (est 5 mths)
  5. marketing: created an “upcoming games” thread on TouchArcade
  6. marketing: made a great trailer
  7. marketing: sent dozens of emails to major iPhone game sites and blogs
  8. approved by Apple seven days after submission.
  9. delayed the release because I’d heard that you should “always release on a Thursday”.
  10. released on June 10th for a price of $1.99
  11. ad campaign within budget would have no effect on sales
  12. Sadly, Trainyard was never mentioned on TouchArcade
  13. 4 months between launch and the end of September, sold 2338 copies and made $3200
  14. releasing two major updates, one with over 40 new puzzles and the other with full retina-display support
  15. raised the price to $2.99, figured “risk difference” for a potential buyer between $1.99 and $2.99 wasn’t high
  16. lite version, Trainyard Express, free, 60 puzzles all new and different
  17. September 30th editor at a prominent Italian blog wrote fantastic article on Trainyard.
  18. became the #1 free app in Italy, netting 22,795 downloads in its first day at #1
  19. paid sales in Italy also started getting higher
  20. October 5th #1 in the UK free charts
  21. “the day Apple wrote me an email saying they might want to feature Trainyard, the paid app. I knew what that meant; the Trainyard Express experiment had officially paid off.”
  22. how much a feature from Apple can affect your bottom line: epic
  23. going on sale for $0.99
  24. marketing: drum up some support from Reddit
  25. Two days after, #2 in the App Store (beating Angry Birds)
  • Figures
  1. dropped to #2 in the UK, downloaded over 450,000 times (#1 UK = 80k/day, #1 Italy = 20k/day).
  2. (@$2.90 80k=162,400|20k=40,600|450k=913,500)

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