When you think of the slimy folks who clone games on the App Store – the folks with purely profit-driven motives – the words “open” and “honest” probably don’t spring to mind. And yet that’s exactly what the post I’m about to share with you is: an open and honest look at the world of cloning games for fun and profit.
First brought to our attention by Quartz, Carter Thomas’ blog entry “How I Went From $1,000 to $200,000 With Apps” outlines just about everything you’d ever need to make a profitable clone of your own.
“DO NOT try to build something from scratch,” Thomas’ blog post reads. “This is not about pride or being a revolutionary. This is not about your idea being great. This is about making money.” As you probably suspect, this statement very much sets the tone for what’s to follow. What you might not expect, however, is how good his advice is. And not just for shameless cloners, but, well… everybody. Or, at the very least, everybody who develops free mobile games. For example;
Thomas on in-app purchases:
“The best thing to do is offer some ridiculously high, very clever options for the few people that are die hard lovers of your game (maybe 1% of users). Adding things like “Unstoppable Kid Mode!” where it’s impossible to die for $29.99 type of stuff. Remove ads for $0.99 is not going to help you retire. Sorry.”
Thomas on choosing a theme:
“I chose themes that weren’t “hot” themes – I chose themes that would provide qualified traffic for advertisers. Revmob’s top advertisers last summer were Pocket Gems and TinyCo, so I made animal style games that crushed eCPM.”
There’s plenty in this article that will teach you how to release games using other people’s work, but if you look closely, the “how to profit once you do” portion of Thomas’ article is actually pretty insightful. If you’re a developer who loathes the idea of cloning in their very soul, consider taking these tips as some sort of karmic retribution: “Now I’m cloning your tactics, and I’m doing it to make my honest game profitable!”
Either way, if you’ve been wondering what kind of person would buy the source code to create a cloned game, Thomas’ post provides a clear answer: someone with a Machiavellian business approach. If you’re just looking for a get rich quick scheme – and don’t really care what people think of you so long as you’re raking in the dough – “app flipping,” as Thomas calls it, is probably the way to go.
And did we mention that Thomas’ company, Bluecloud Solutions, runs a source code marketplace? Way to turn demonic lemons into demon lemonade, Carter.