Generally positive comments for the program, even if it hasn't set the world alight (especially once you've read their WiiWare experiences).
They're developing 2 more minis as well.
Ah, you beat me to this post. Usurper.
The Minis they're working on are RaceTrax and Vertigo Tilt 'n Roll, the latter of which sounds like it might be related to an existing game of theirs in the PS Store, Vertigo (released as Spinout in Europe a few years ago, on UMD). I think RaceTrax was an earlier Minis project that was put on hiatus for a while.
Interesting to see the numbers on sales. Most interesting was Bashi Blocks with <1,000 sales!
It makes me feel good to suport the indie developers. I just reached the 100 mini milestone, and that's a lot of money going to developers like Icon who take the time to listen to their costomers. ;)
Yeah, the numbers for Bashi are saddening. Of Icon's games, I think it's the best one. Part of the problem, earlier on, anyway, was people not knowing that it was a Breakout descendant rather than a soccer game. The other part of the problem seems to be that brick-breaking games are apparently expected to be free nowadays. Supposedly, plenty of browser-playable ones are free from various Internet game portals.
I really enjoyed Soccer Bashi. Perfect mini, good in small doses. Definitly a shame.
My only annoyance was I paid full price as I wanted it so much only for it to be reduced almost instantly after, I hate when that happens. Its bad luck if you buy it some time after release then it goes cheaper, but I never expected it to be reduced so soon after release!
Weird thinking I'm 1/420
I am glad they're releasing new stuff. I'm hoping for a car racer from them, they always make quality games.
I too was surprised with Soccer Bashi. I must be one of the few who is obsessed with the game breakout and all its derivatives lol...
Yeah, the original Vertigo is from Icon. I really regret buying that one. The difficulty was harsh and picky right from the get go. I lost interest very quickly. That and it dropped to $5 after I bought it for $10.
Soccer Bashi was decent, it's main failing being it's name. The "Bashi" part just didn't sound right to me. How about "Soccer Block Smash"? I know they already changed the name but they still kept the Bashi. Sounds too Indian, makes me want to eat curry. Whatever, for $2 bucks I'll ignore it.
Vertigo is alot harder than most games you'll play, but I enjoyed it. Though I never got to finish it because I picked it up when it went on sale for $4.99, which was around the time PSN came back up and I downloaded LBP and PF for free. So it got lost in the shuffle.
It's good to know that mini developers are both seeing profit and having a good experience with the program, because in all honesty, I didn't think Sony was really going to put any effort into the program at first. I'm glad they proved me wrong.
As far as the WiiWare article...shame on you Nintendo. That WiiWare store is just awful and not just because of how they treat developers, it's just awful as a hole.
nice read :)
good to hear they are making profit :)
the wii ware article on the other hand was quite disapointing, I know Nintendo's developer support wasn't as good as sony's but this is shocking!
good to hear the minis will keep coming in 2011 though, maybe with Vita around the sales will pick up again?
Hey guys - first off thanks for the feedback; it is really cool to read a few nice things about us.
Sorry about the price reductions - basically after the PSN downtime we decided we needed to drop prices quick in the hope of getting a good few sales, and the downtime really hurt us financially. And with Vertigo and Pool Hall Pro the sales were SOOOO bad at 9.99 a reduction was needed quickly. We got the price badly wrong there.
@Nexus and @Identity25 - drop me a mail to rich [at] icongames.com and we'll send over a free voucher code for another title.
"I must be one of the few who is obsessed with the game breakout and all its derivatives"
@taoofgreentea Heh - me too! Although I regret it now!
Regarding our new titles - we're doing something different this time round and hoping to do a round of open Beta testing. If anyone fancies this just Follow us on Twitter as we will post details on there once we are ready.
RaceTrax is indeed a racer - Scalectrix style where you can build your own tracks to race.
Our Twitter name - @icongamesent
@ Richicon - Thanks! That's a really cool thing to do. I just hope the next Vertigo is a little easier. lol
The next one will be very different - and yep, must less hardcore.
I personally like Vertigo, but I can see it as a game that is so hard that it's kind of hard to 'like', but I like very hard games.
It sounds like there could be some sort of advantage to selling games as minis rather than full releases, maybe they're checked more or something.
Cool, a block breaker game, seems fun.. Is it also in europe store?And what nexus says is true, the name is not the best.. Most games out of the store I know they exist by name. This is not the most recognizable title.. But hey, if it is a cool game.. Who cares about the title.. :-P
I think Soccer Bashi is fantastic - an essential game if you like brick breaker games - shame that it didn't sell more copies.
I've gotten about half-way through Spinout (aka Vertigo). It is a bit tricky but it is a really good example of it's genre (physics-based ball puzzle stuff). I recommend it if you like that sort of thing. It is available on the UK PSN at the minute for £6.99.
I think the more I look at what games LJ have done and which ones have sold and which ones haven't it comes down to names and maybe not providing a clear enough idea of what you're selling.
For example, Ace Armstrong is BY FAR our least successful mini, while Duael Invaders and Cubixx romp ahead in terms of greatest successes. Both of those games are incredibly simple and both tell you kind of what they are in their titles. Cubixx couldn't be more 'Qix on a Cube' while Duael Invaders has the word Invaders in it. Simple.
It's a shame that some games don't take off, when they're often the more deserving. Glad to see your making a living out of minis though Rich and I'm SHOCKED at the setup for Wiiware - why wouldn't any indie without a game that's been a success elsewhere put themselves into it? I'd run a mile...
I was also thinking about what you said about hardcore and casual games. Card Shark did really well for Midas and is the exactly opposite of Ace. Very low budget and good sales.
What I worry about it that drives people away from more creative ideas and towards casual stuff that makes money but is ultimately uninspiring. I for one would HATE to end up making solitaire, sudoku, crosswords or whatever for years just because it's more profitable.
I was so pleased DI did well as it was a total experiment. We still didn't really have the mechanics nailed down with 2-3 weeks left to go on it, so it was nice that a vague idea of mine actually did ok!
That sounds interesting. I don't see casual games as inherently uncreative, I see them as pick up and play type games that are generally easy enough for a casual gamer to successfully have some wins and losses in the game. Mahjong for example, is a good one, or I think, can I play this game while watching TV, or will it require so much focus that I can't take my eyes off it for one second? An example of a creative casual game is Blast Off! or say, Pixel Junk Monsters Deluxe, a fairly traditional tower defense done in a creative way.
Hardcore games I see as games that become much harder and require a lot of focus. I think creativity can be lacking or plentiful in both sides of the coin. For instance, platformers are usually considered hardcore type games, and they can be done in a creative or boring way.
MINIS FTW!!! and I'd like to see more original games because I like me some surprises. Minis are good for that.
It sounds like there could be some sort of advantage to selling games as minis rather than full releases, maybe they're checked more or something.
The primary advantage is the PS3 playability; that opens up the available consumer base by several millions.
it comes down to names and maybe not providing a clear enough idea of what you're selling.
So very true. While you can at least have cover art in a retail release to help make the first impression, all you've got in the PS Store is a title and a tiny icon. I wonder what most people seeing the phrase "Ace Armstrong vs. the Alien Scumbags!" for the first time think, as far as type of game. I suppose "side-scrolling shooter" is actually not the first thing to come to mind--and maybe consumers don't expect a game with such a playful title to be quite so hard.
I just realized that my favorite Icon game and my favorite Laughing Jackal game have something in common: they're both the least successful Minis of their respective developers. *GASP* Attention, all Minis developers, make sure onmode-ky does NOT like your game, or you risk being screwed in sales!
What I worry about it that drives people away from more creative ideas and towards casual stuff that makes money but is ultimately uninspiring.
Well, it's possible to strike a balance, i.e., produce casual/budget games which then fund the riskier/harder-core titles that you really want to make. It's probably not wise to go the old-Majesco route, throwing tons of money into hardcore games which, reviewing poorly, nearly bankrupt the company, forcing a backpedaling so hard that almost nothing but forgettable casual fare comes out for years.
@evanac, "I for one would HATE to end up making solitaire, sudoku, crosswords or whatever for years just because it's more profitable."
>> I can testify from experience that Sudoku and crosswords on PlayStation Minis are anything but profitable. It's definitely not the right target platform for such games!
Our best-sellers are, by very far, Spot The Differences and Hysteria Project, but then it has to do with the timing of their release (late 2009 and early 2010, respectively). There was much more hype on PlayStation Minis at that time than now... And fewer games.
(to be specific, they were both outnumbered by the more recently released Pix'n Love Rush, but most copies of Pix'n Love Rush were distributed as part of PS+ subscription at no extra charge, so it doesn't really count as a best-seller)
I saw your video for Hysteria Project 2! Good stuff, I think I might buy Hysteria Project 1 soon...
We've got some cool news about Bashi Minis coming up soon; PSN+ related. Just finalising at the moment.
Good point on the name - I think from now on we'll try to be much more obvious with titles. Can't afford another disaster like Bashi! :)
@evanac - is that Al? Its been a while :)
Yep - WiiWare was tough, but you never realise how tough until you try; hence a fair few developers getting burned by it.
I'm SHOCKED at the setup for Wiiware - why wouldn't any indie without a game that's been a success elsewhere put themselves into it? I'd run a mile...
I forgot to ask about this earlier, but that sentence confuses me. I've been reading it over and over but keep interpreting it multiple ways. Al, I can't tell if you're saying you think the WiiWare setup is good or bad--or were you being sarcastic? Hmm, could be sarcasm I'm missing.
To Rich/Al/Yan, how much lower had Minis sales declined in 2011, before the outage? I had rather expected that greater Minis program visibility, due in part to the PS+ tie-ins, would have made sales improve instead of decline.
I think 'any' in that sentence should've been 'an'
makes more sense that way
interesting insights about naming the titles though
never really thought about it but I buy my minis kind of blind ... it's because they cost about as much as a big mac menu (usually far less) which makes me more willing to experiment
at these prices games like W.T.F., ASS for 2 bucks and one epic games become a must buy for me ... Soccer Bashi ( sounds like a f00tie) not so much and I would've never bought Zombie Tycoon (sounds like railway tycoon for morons) if somebody hadn't tipped me off and I still think it's the best mini to date!
First up, apologies for not getting back to this post for a bit - was out all day yesterday meeting with Steve Jackson, talking about the next FF book (BTW, news on release dates for Talisman of Death is coming on Friday, FF fans!).
@richicon: Yes evanac is me (Al). It has been ages, like you say! I still remember that epic session mapping out all the unlocks in Spinout towards the end, making sure all the XP you could earn added up properly! Ah, the good old days.
@taoofgreentea: what you say about casual games is true - we don't have to stick to tried-and-tested time killers like solitaire, minesweeper, slitherlink/puzzleloop, but it's much harder coming up with a truly casual fun game like Peggle than you'd think. I'd personally class OMG-Z as casual as there's no gaming skill required, it's purely observational and making good decisions that gets you the win. Our next minis title (outside of FF) only uses a single button and ANYONE regardless of ability will get through it eventually. The idea with that and OMG-Z is to just cast our net wider and try to make stuff with no barriers.
@onmode-ky: to be clear I think the model for Wiiware SUCKS. Wouldn't got anywhere near it with that setup. All the risk is on the dev, which given the fact Nintendo are hands of and only providing the infrastructure for a game sold on a console they're already making money on in terms of hardware cost-to-sell price is really mean-spirited. I made a couple of typos in my original post that screwed up the meaning - sorry!
@everyone: In future we'll try and pay a lot more attention to metadata, icons and names as we have to accept that only dedicates of the minis section will take the time to look at what's new. Most people just look at the icon and make a call from there to click on it and learn a bit more.
I personally think OMG-Z is a kick-ass name and has a nice clear icon, so fingers crossed it works out that way - plus, besides the age rating, the barrier for entry couldn't be any lower in terms of the gameplay itself. Hopefully that's a win-win combo, but we'll wait and see I guess!
Thanks all. Rich - must meet up and talk about minis and dev in general some time! :)
BTW, news on release dates for Talisman of Death is coming on Friday, FF fans!
Oh good, something I can finally post over to the desperate one :)
I think my favourite mini in the entire collection was Stellar Attack, which I believe was somewhere in between Vibes and Ace?
I got the recommendation (and the tips) from here but it was certainly the one mini I couldn't stop playing while on the commute :)
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