Jimmy Pataya: beyond the launch

As you know, recently the Paladin team built an iPhone game in two weeks. It includes fun gameplay, nice graphics, music, sound and character voice, and highscores that can be shared on Twitter. In this post, I want to look back on what happened after we submitted the game to Apple on Friday April 2nd.

Jimmy Pataya Banner

Wait for it…

The long Easter weekend afterwards, we all took some time off to rest. We had been working hard to meet the deadline, and quite frankly, it was exhausting. Plus there wasn’t much to do anyway but wait for the game to be reviewed and approved. On Tuesday we sat down and discussed what to do next. It made sense to start marketing the game.

Our great artists Niels, Lars and Thomas made a sharp website, which coder Tijmen implemented. Check it out here. Derk wrote a press release, with a focus on the two week-development sprint. And Lukas and I made a big list of iPhone game review sites, which we started sending requests for reviews to.

It’s alive!

On Tuesday evening / Wednesday morning, Jimmy Pataya v1.0 was approved by Apple! Of course, we were very happy about this and many hands were shaken during that day. We quickly became addicted to checking sales numbers every five minutes, and quickly stumbled upon the cold hard truth about selling in the App Store: it’s pretty tough.

This is what our sales figures looked like in the first week:

Jimmy Pataya's Sales Figures

On the Y axis, you see the number of units sold. The peak was 72 copies, which resulted in roughly  € 35 / $ 44. Even though we had spent only 2 weeks on development, you can imagine that those kinds of numbers won’t pay the bills. At all.


So while we were busy contacting even more review websites, something magical happened: I received a mail from Apple, notifying us that we would be featured in the ‘New and Noteworthy’ category in the US, Canadian and Mexican App Stores. Lo and behold! It actually happened the very same day! Effectively, it means that anyone in those countries checking out the Games section in iTunes will see Jimmy Pataya!

Jimmy's Feature

So, truth be told, the fact that Apple took our little game and put it up there for all  to see was pretty exciting already. But the real question was, of course: would this have any effect on sales? The simple answer: yes.

Feature results on sales

We, the People

Driven by this phenomenal boost, we decided this project wasn’t over yet. We’re on a roll now, and more importantly – in under two weeks, we suddenly gained over 2,600 customers. Jimmy Pataya is now a real product, and we better treat it that way!

The best thing about having customers (except maybe for earning money) is getting feedback. Fortunately, it’s mostly positive. Many love the game and seem to be playing it over and over again. A few quotes:

“Wicked game. Great for fans of doodlejump type games. Buy it.”

“This is one of those games I can play for hours on end. Gameplay is almost completely smooth on my iPhone 3G. Patayaaaaa!”

“Love it!!!!!! – Best game ever!!”

“Papayaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! – Just frickin awesome dude it’s an adrenaline rush”

Of course, there were a few bad and ugly comments as well:

“It’s nothing special and it’s not worth the price. Unless you have money to spare, avoid it.”


As a team, we dealt with criticism before. Rather than be personally offended or hurt, we ask ourselves how we can improve the game so even more people will enjoy it. Three things came to mind immediately: OpenFeint, iPad and extended gameplay.

From here and beyond

I actually submitted update 1.1 to Apple just two hours ago. It includes full OpenFeint support, meaning Leaderboards and Achievements. Players will now be able to check global highscores and see how their friends are doing. Achievements such as Rookie, Spin Doctor and One More Time will add extra reasons for replaying the game.

We actually have hires graphics for the iPad version ready too, but ran into an issue combining Unity, iPad and OpenFeint. Producing games is all about making tough choices and about making it work. There will be future updates, so for now, we’re not supporting iPad just yet.

And finally, we have lots of ideas for enhanced gameplay. Many of our testers and players came up with great additions too: power-ups, animations, time-trial, stunts… the list goes on. Tomorrow we’ll sit down and discuss what the next update will be. Jimmy is alive and kicking!

  • Facebook Indie Games
    Posted at 17:42h, 19 April

    Well done for getting Apple's support!

    The main takeaway for me here is that unless you're one of the lucky ones who catch Apple's eye, you'll struggle to make much cash with an iPhone game.

    It'd be hard to justify spending MORE than 2 weeks on a game when the result are sales figures like these, right?

    Will you be building more iPhone games on the basis of your success here?

    • Derk
      Posted at 18:01h, 19 April

      You are right, in the sense that marketing and eyeballs are extremely important to get your sales going.

      However, right now, in this early stage, it's not the sales figures that count. What matters right now is that people love the game. We are getting raving 5-star reviews from people we never heard of! Which means we are growing a fanbase, and that is extremely valuable to us as a starting indie developer.

      There are some extra tricks up our sleeves in terms of marketing, and we are adding social features to increase retention and virality. We simply want to see how far we can take it from here. If we don't put in the extra effort it's a certain dead-end street. If we do put in that extra little thing, the worst case scenario is that we have learned a bit more about marketing. Best case scenario, our fans know that we're serious and tell others about it. And who knows, some blogs might pick it up and actually like it 😉

      In a couple of weeks we will know exactly where we stand, and we'll keep you all posted!

  • Mike Hergaarden
    Posted at 08:41h, 20 April

    Thanks for sharing the stats, I was wondering about the sales. It's looking good for you guys,enjoy!

  • prince
    Posted at 21:49h, 05 June

    its nice game! and i like bgmusic too, can u share bgmusic's mp3? i like D&B and this game! coooool! thanks! pls send mp3 file to my emailbox. 1997009@qq.com
    big thanks! dude!

  • Ruben van der Zee
    Posted at 14:32h, 16 June

    It's a fun game, i even got my parents to play it a couple of times 😀 i'm interested to see the new additions to the game although it's already great now 😀

    i'm working on an IPhone/ IPod game myself at the moment for my graduation project. but we ran into a couple of problems to get the hard- and software from school, because of this it will only be a Prototype and not a finished game.

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