Zombie Apps Games & and how to be visible as an indie developer (#withoutmoneychallenge)


Zombie apps are invading us: be prepared for the apocalypse

As a mobile game developer, especially if you are indie, you must overcome many challenges; zombie apps are your biggest one and your worst nightmare. But what are these zombie apps anyway? Why you should be afraid of them?

Zombie apps are apps that almost never appear in any Apple Store rankings. To be found, users have to search for the app’s name directly: it cannot be found organically. Simply put, they are apps lost in the depths of the App Store. No one knows they exist.

You might be thinking, “Uh, those apps must be really bad, that’s why; there’s probably only a few out there.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Zombie apps are not an exception at all.

First, let us take a look on how many apps are available.

In 2017, there were about 2.1M apps on iOS with 783,000 of those being games; on Android, there were 3.5M apps with 640,000 being games.

That’s a lot of games, right? Well, according to Adjust, 90% of the apps in the App Store are zombie apps today — an enormous figure that must alarm any video game developer.

The Zombie Uprising”, Adjust

A large amount of apps remain undiscovered due to this huge pool. The more the store grows, the more zombie apps there will be. They increase exponentially.

More than 80% of game apps are lost in the App Store, nowhere to be found. Furthermore, the level of “contamination” varies and depends on the subgenre.

Zombie apps rate (%) by subgenres:
Arcade - 89.1%
Action - 87.0%
Adventure - 83.2%
Puzzle - 83.2%
Family - 79.0%
Strategy - 78.6%
Educational - 75.1%
Racing - 71.4%
Board - 70.9%
Sports - 70.1%
Simulation - 69.9%
Role Playing - 65.0%
Casina - 63.9%
Word - 62.3%
Triva - 61.6%
Card - 61.4%
Dice - 57.3%
Music - 52.6%

Zombie apps in international markets are also important to take into account; it’s not the same everywhere. Some countries are more infected than others. For instance, the French market is the most “healthy,” with _only_ 85.24% of zombie apps; whereas North America, Australia, and the UK are the most infected with more than 90%.

The Zombie Uprising”, Adjust

Given this constant increase in apps and, therefore, zombie apps, it is crucial for developers to make sure their games are seen by users.

But how do indie developers, lacking financial resources and marketing practices, accomplish this? Well, you’ll have to invest time.
Here are some free tactics you can use:

ASO — App Store Optimization
ASO is critical for your game’s visibility. Well optimized, it enables you to rank higher in an app store’s search results. It should be automatically applied by any apps and games developers.
There are plenty of techniques, tactics, and tips for ASO. This article will give you a comprehensive look and understanding of ASO and how to apply it.

Forums & Blogs
Forums are a good way to increase awareness about your game. Post threads; ask people to give feedback of your game; and ask them to give reviews. It will allow you to generate downloads and reviews, hence improving your rankings.

Here are some examples of forums you can go to:
- Reddit (r/indieGaming)
- Indie Gamer Forum
- GameDev
- Unity…

You can follow Youtubers who test indie games — or even regular games — on mobile and comment on their videos. You can ask their community, or even the Youtuber themselves, for feedback on your game. Even if some people don’t appreciate promotions in the comments, it will give you some downloads. And it could be the jackpot if the Youtuber tries it.

You can add friends to your app page so they can see it: the more friends you add, the more visible your page. But you have to use this tactic sparingly, as Facebook blocks you from adding friends for a while if you do it too much.

You can also subscribe to groups for mobile gaming and ask members to download your game for feedback.

Friends & colleagues
Last but not least, you can ask your dear friends, colleagues, mates, and family.

These solutions can increase your downloads and help your get your game found organically.
BUT it takes a LOT of time. Furthermore, be wary: this will help your ranking and make your app visible, which is essential; but it does not guarantee player retention. These players might not necessarily come back.

A good way to become visible — and even rise to the top of the list — for indie developers is getting published by a gaming studio.

And we’re here to help.

Our ambitious gaming studio Advenworks develop casual & hypercasual apps.

Our ambitious gaming studio, Advenworks, develops casual & hypercasual apps.
We also publish mobile games to help indie developers make their app visible on mobile stores. In fact, we’re not just looking for good games. We want developers to become part of our world-spanning family by building strong, long-term relationships with one another.
Transparency and collaboration are vital components of our approach to publishing games.

User Acquisition - We want to put your game in the hands of millions of players through our network & resources.

Smart monetization - We get the most value from your game using our ad monetization solution

360° expertise - We give advice on all technical, design, UX/UI, and art aspects of game development.

Data-driven decisions - We fine-tune your game & marketing campaigns, thanks to our analytics solution.

We encourage simplicity, fun, and creativity! Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you want an opinion on your game :)

For more information and to show us your game, click here.

You can visit our main page here.

Proofreader: Estee Lee-Mountel


Adjust. (2016). The App Store in 2016: App zombies, lists and ranks. Retrieved on https://www.adjust.com/resources/ebooks/app-zombies-2016

Statista (2018). Mobile Gaming Industry — Statistics & Facts. Retrieved on https://www.statista.com/topics/1906/mobile-gaming/

Statista (2018). Number of available gaming apps at Google Play from 2nd quarter 2015 to 3rd quarter 2018. Retrieved on https://www.statista.com/statistics/780229/number-of-available-gaming-apps-in-the-google-play-store-quarter/

Statista (2018). Number of available apps in the Apple App Store from 2008 to 2018 (in 1,000s). Retrieved on https://www.statista.com/statistics/268251/number-of-apps-in-the-itunes-app-store-since-2008/

Techcrunch (2016). “Zombie” Apps On The Rise — 83% Of Apps Not On Top Lists, Up From 74% Last Year. Retrieved on https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/30/zombie-apps-on-the-rise-83-of-apps-not-on-top-lists-up-from-74-last-year/

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