Making a Game Cost $5 – How Low Can we Go?

With fiverr users offering to make a personalized game for $5 you must be asking has this gone too far? Do we have enough apps already?I recently came across an interesting item on Fiverr: “I will create a Flappy Bird clone for you with your theme for $5”. Apparently, there is someone will to make flappy bird games on demand for a very low fee. How is that possible?

Game templates enable game clones

Digging in a bit further, it appears that many games these days are available as templates and anyone can make their version of it with $99 and a free afternoon according to a post by Wired Magazine. It appears that flappy bird is not alone. Here is a short list of templates I found in a quick Google search:

  • Bejeweled
  • Whack a mole
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Super Mario
  • Bubble Shooter
  • Doodle Jump
  • Jetpack Joyride
I’m sure there are more but the point is clear – making game has become easier than ever.

Are there too many apps?

One question I have been asking myself recently is “are there too many apps”. I recently came across studios that published over 100 apps that look almost identical in game play and the only different between them was the theme and the words that describe them in the App Store. This is not a coincidence but a carefully planned strategy that has it’s roots in the days of search engine optimization. This method is based on a few simple principals:
  • People discover apps by searching in the app stores
  • Specific results rank higher so making series of games gets more traffic: bear jumping game, koala jumping game, …
  • Users often search with typos
You can look at it as a cynical response to the App Store algorithms or as a new level of personalized experience but there is no doubt that apps have became very easy to make these days.

Will there be less apps in the future?

With the current trends and with the thresholds of app making getting lower it’s hard to imagine what will stop the app flood. The only thing is maybe Apple’s recent moves to increase the bar of getting into their store. However, many times, it’s actually Apple’s actions and algorithms that entice developers to make versions of their apps. For reference, the internet has close to 1 billion domain names and about 180 million active sites according to Netcraft so if anything you can expect the number of apps to go up and not down. If Apple will try to fight it they are likely to lose.

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