Danc and I do more than our fair share of taking platforms to task for their failings. We’ve (rather bluntly) advocated for shorter approval periods on Apple’s App Store; we’ve railed against Amazon’s poor management of the games marketplace on e-ink Kindles; we’ve given whole lectures about the ways in which platforms, in general, can become abusive when they become large and successful. What we — and most other indies, IMO — don’t do often enough is publicly thank platforms when they do something good for us. So I’m going to put away my cynic’s hat and call attention to a few nice things that platforms have done for us lately, in hopes it encourages said platforms to do more of this for more indies.
Apple and Google both take a lot of flack for allowing blatant clones on their respective platforms. So I think it’s worth pointing out that both companies have taken down some Triple Town ripoffs. Google has delisted two clones on Android Market… and one of those was taken down within literally three hours of being reported. Apple just recently delisted one Triple Town ripoff after a period of a few weeks. There’s certainly more than Apple and Google could do to protect indies from total ripoffs, but I think it’s worth mentioning that they aren’t just sitting on their hands right now.
Also worth sharing that Google and Apple have also been incredibly generous in how they’ve featured Triple Town. Google gave us the main banner over the Market homepage, and Apple has put us in the “new and noteworthy” section twice since February, in addition to tweeting about us. I am 100% confident that Triple Town’s mobile edition would be a dismal failure without this exposure.
Similarly, Facebook — which doesn’t have the most indie-friendly reputation — seems to be really ramping up its efforts to support innovation on its platform. Many people don’t know this, but Facebook spontaneously chose to feature Triple Town almost immediately after its launch, well before TTown enjoyed the good reputation it does today. Members of the Facebook team have spent many hours introducing themselves to us, coaching us on features which might help Triple Town, and generally being incredibly supportive. It’s clear they really want original, innovative games to succeed on their platform. The same is true of Google+, which gave Triple Town the honor of being only the 20th game on that platform.
Some people will read all this and think, “well, sure, they do these things for Triple Town, but not most other indie games.” So it’s important to understand this: Triple Town is not a “hit” by Google, Apple or Facebook’s standards. Not even close I’m sorry to say. We have a small, extremely passionate fan-base, but I don’t think platforms are supporting Triple Town for that reason, or because they expect to generate huge amounts of revenue from our game.
So, thank you to Apple and Google for standing up to at least some of the folks who have ripped off our games, and thank you to Apple, Google and Facebook for promoting our games despite the fact that they have essentially zero impact on your bottom line. We hope you’ll continue to do this for more indies… particularly those who are working hard to do something new and different, even when that isn’t necessarily the most profitable path. (And PS: you can find some of those folks here.)