7 days on from first infection – Plague Inc. launch analysis

The facts:

  1. Plague Inc. is a critically acclaimed, high end strategy game for iPhone and iPad – made by first time developer Ndemic Creations 
  2. Plague Inc. is a global hit, at the top of app charts worldwide with fantastic reviews 
  3. Plague Inc. launched only 7 days ago, completely unknown. Its success has been fully driven by people power – the fans and people who enjoy playing it 

This post will take a look at how things have gone since release and where we are at the moment.

Before all of that, let me just say – this last week has been awesome, there is no better feeling than sharing your work and having it appreciated. I am so grateful to everyone around the world who is playing and enjoying Plague Inc. I started work on Plague Inc. over a year ago as a hobby to make the deep, meaningful strategy game that I craved - I had no idea how many other people wanted the same thing! 

 

The morning of the release:

Plague Inc. was approved by Apple sooner than expected and I was still on holiday (Ireland). I woke up to find 17 five star reviews already posted and instantly jumped out of bed to contact friends and get them to check it out. I spent the next few hours (nervously) on the computer, posting on forums, tweeting and responding to feedback. (my girlfriend was very tolerant!) By the end of day 1 – there were over 500 downloads and with overwhelmingly positive feedback – I knew that things were looking good. 2 days later, we were top paid game in the UK app store.

Mutation (update) 1.1:

Plague Inc. is my hobby and I want it to be the best game out there. I aim to read and respond to every single piece of feedback that is sent to me – this lets me understand what the players want from the game. Two things became apparent very quickly: People really, really(!) wanted to play on their iPads and a few people with older devices were having crashes due to low memory (not acceptable).

Mario and I decided to work 20 hours a day to get the first update out and the output was impressive. In three days, we had added full universal iPad functionality, significantly improved memory usage (more on this later) and also threw in a load of other functionality that people had been asking for. People loved the 1.1 update and within 1 day of release, we had risen to be number 1 paid iPad app in the US as well as #1 paid iPhone app! 

 

 

Marketing / Engaging with the community

Plague Inc. had a marketing budget of $0. No one had ever heard of it or Ndemic Creations before it released. My approach was simple – make a wonderful game that people want to play. If it is good enough, people will spread the word. I have also been engaging with the players through email, twitter, facebook, shacknews and toucharcade. As the game has grown bigger, so has the amount of people talking about it. We are currently getting over 400 emails a day from players giving their suggestions and thoughts. We still respond to every single one (Chloe – Mario’s girlfriend has been a great help here!)

Mutation (update) 1.2

As soon as 1.1 was released, it became clear that we had not completely fixed the low memory problem on a few devices (although it was much better). Therefore, we accelerated the schedule and have been working on 1.2 all weekend. As well as 100% fixing the crashes, it will add new events, more disease combos, iCloud, balance tweaks, the ability to pay to unlock disease types if you don’t want to play the game properly (the biggest request from players!) and much more.

We are currently beta testing 1.2 and the good news is that performance is significantly improved. Once we have made some final tweaks and made it perfect – we will be submitting to apple

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