A Q&A session with indie game developer Spry Fox

The pursuit of innovation and delivering happiness to gamers

Kacey Fahey
Aug 30, 2017 · 6 min read
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What’s it like being an indie developer on Android and Google Play?

David: Wanting to be successful on Android is one of the factors that encouraged us to focus early on F2P. The Android audience is absolutely massive but prefers free games. This has actually been pretty wonderful for us because we’ve reached many millions of people with our games that we likely could never have reached if not for Android. And fortunately, Google Play is straightforward enough to use that even when we were just a few people, we were not overwhelmed by the platform or its requirements.

How have Android & Google Play helped grow your business?

David: The ability to iterate is very easy on Android. It allows us to put out rapid updates using beautiful tools. We also take advantage of the soft launch process by publishing our game in other territories and collecting analytics data before we launch world wide. Another tool we have grown to love because of the huge impact created are store listing experiments. We run experiments on our app icons, screenshots and short descriptions. We were also really excited to win the Standout Indie Google Play Award for Alphabear in 2016.

Most of your games are free-to-play. How do you choose a business model and any tips you can share for making it work?

Danc: I started in game development about 20 years ago and in that time have tried out lots of business models. Premium, shareware, advertising, in app purchases, licensing; we’ve seen it all. What we love about F2P is we are really running a long term service for our players. We get to release a game and if people like it, we can update it for years. There’s a wonderful back-and-forth dialog with our players and the game grows with the community. As a result, F2P lets us build much richer, longer-lived games.

As an indie dev with limited resources, how do you approach marketing and gaining users?

Danc: Marketing and distribution is the single hardest problem facing current indie developers. On mobile, features and appearing in collections or top category lists have an enormous impact on small indie titles. But that isn’t enough. We’ve also tried to build relationships with our existing customers. We have a newsletter we send out regularly and we keep in contact via updates within our games.

How do you view innovation and developing for new platforms?

David: Our mission is to make the world a happier, better place through games, full-stop. Many of us could be earning more in other jobs in other industries. We choose to make games because they allow us to be creative in a way that few other fields do, and because few tools have the ability to meaningfully impact so many people in such profound ways with relatively limited investment.

Can you tell us more about your new VR game being built for Daydream?

Danc: Beartopia is a multiplayer village building game for Daydream. We took the cute bears from our game Alphabear and built a charming seaside town where they could live. We had two big goals. We wanted to build something that could connect people together in a positive way and we wanted to play with the potential of VR.

Beartopia trailer

What do you love most about what you do with Spry Fox and what are you most excited about in the future of mobile gaming?

David: I can’t speak for everyone in the company, but what I personally love most about what we do is that we entertain people in ways that I can be very proud of. Our games tend to make the player think and stretch their brains, and provide experiences that you can enjoy for dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of hours. We’ve brought a lot of happiness to people and we’ve done it in a way that I think is very healthy for them.


What do you think?

Do you have questions or thoughts on developing indie games? Continue the discussion in the comments below or tweet using the hashtag #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

Google Play Apps & Games

Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game…

Kacey Fahey

Written by

Oregon native. Bay Area resident. Developer Marketing @ Google Play

Google Play Apps & Games

Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game developers building businesses on Google Play.

Kacey Fahey

Written by

Oregon native. Bay Area resident. Developer Marketing @ Google Play

Google Play Apps & Games

Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game developers building businesses on Google Play.

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