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4/20/12 - Our Windows Phone Pubcenter Success (and some failures) Story:

     The developers behind GeekWorks Games decided to take up Windows Phone development on a whim over a year ago.  With unexpected successes, embarrassing failures, and countless hours of coding under our belt, we’ve decided it’s time to take a look back at what we’ve experienced thus far. 

For those who may not be familiar with GeekWorks Games, we were born of a merger between Clockwork Computing and Space Geek Software.  Though a few initial titles were released by each individual publisher, it wasn’t long before we began to drop the independent work and collaborate on all projects.

Shuriken Ninja was our first and undoubtedly most popular game.  To this date, it has accumulated more than 436,349 downloads.  Even now, it receives anywhere between 900 and 1,200 downloads per day.  At its peak, Shuriken Ninja spent nearly a month as the top free game on the market.  It even reached number 2 in all free applications for a period of time and to this day, it still has a place among the best free games in the market.  

Though we admittedly haven’t released a Shuriken Ninja update with new content recently, the level editor has allowed users to design and download thousands of user-contributed levels.  This model has allowed it to stay relevant and is something we strive to include in other games whenever possible. 

While Shuriken Ninja is our pride and joy, it isn’t our only successful game.  Our second most downloaded game, Penguin Blast, has been downloaded 219,623 times.  Thought it didn’t attain the grand success of Shuriken Ninja, it did spend a period of time in the top 10 free games. 

Finally, Mix-Up has managed to claw its way to our third most popular game as it closes in on 100,000 downloads.  This game, while always a favorite, has experienced quite the resurgence recently.  While managing daily downloads in the mid 50’s for a period of time, those have swelled to over 250 per day in the past few months.  A recent, but optional, theme update brings it a crisp new look.

Outside of these three games, we have released a number of other applications that have achieved rather modest success.  Only a few weeks ago, we eclipsed a total of 1 million downloads. 

We are honest when we say that the enjoyment from developing these games is what primarily drives us..  Many a review has stated that our games have caused their legs to fall asleep while on the toilet.  That is - as creepy as it may be - what we strive for.  Having said that, the return we get from utilizing pubCenter cannot be discounted.  It is what allows us to devote a significant amount of our time to planning, designing, and coding.  So, with no further ado, we’ve provided a little breakdown of what we’ve seen over the past year, as well as what the first quarter of 2012 has brought us.

Since GeekWorks was originally a combined effort, we initially split our ads between two accounts.  Half the time Space Geek’s ads would show, while the other half Clockwork’s ads would show.  This is why you will see two sets of numbers over a period of time.

In 2011, Clockwork Computing pulled a total of 79,203,267 impressions at an average eCPM of 1.83.  Almost 40 million of those were from Shuriken Ninja, while Penguin Blast and Mix-Up accounted for a fair portion of the rest.

Over the same timeframe (2011) Space Geek totaled 65,669,473 total impressions at an average eCPM of 1.52.  Almost 38 million of those were from Shuriken Ninja.  Penguin Blast as well as Ultra Fill accounted for the majority of the remainder. 

At the end of 2011, what had become GeekWorks combined for a total of just under 145 million impressions with an eCPM of approximately 1.69.

While 2012 has brought even more impressions, our eCPM has taken what can only be called…one hell of a dive. 

NOTE: Only recently has GeekWorks officially begun to merge pubCenter accounts, because of this we will continue to present the numbers as achieved by Clockwork and Space Geek.

From the first of the year until the writing of this article, Clockwork Computing has reported a total of more than 185 million impressions at approximately 1.5 to 2 million per day.  That is more impressions than all of last year.  More than a little sobering, however, is the rather abysmal average eCPM of 0.16.

Similarly, Space Geek’s account is reporting approximately 184 million impressions for 2012..  Its eCPM is an even more horrid 0.13.

 

It has recently come to our attention, that this rather drastic shift may be due in part to us shooting ourselves in the foot, or more accurately, blowing our whole friggin’ leg off.. 

Over the past we carried eight primary ad units that we shared across all of our applications, rotating them randomly.  While this allowed us to prevent one terrible ad unit from dragging us down, it may not have been presenting the best possible case for advertisers.  With that thought in mind, at the beginning of April, we have undertaken a dramatic shift in our pubCenter strategy.

Starting now, each application will carry its own unique ad units.  These units will be distinct per screen: game play, end of level, pause menu, etc.  While we wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see a drop off in impressions, it is our hope that a resurgence of eCPM will more than offset it.  We are waiting with cautious optimism to see what these changes bring over the coming weeks.

As we stated previously, it is our enjoyment of developing these games that drives us.  With each title released, we learn and grow as developers.  In this process, our ideas for new releases and updates expand.  It is with high hopes that we proceed into 2012.  Here are a few things that we hope to bring you over the coming months.

-          Updates and enhancements to our existing and sometimes neglected titles.  We understand the importance of providing new content to keep you, the user, involved and entertained.

-          An expanded library of more polished and well thought-out games.  3D games, deviating from our traditional 2D model.  Expect to see a few of those coming soon.

->-          Expanding our platform base to other devices and operating systems.  Shuriken Ninja, Mix-Up, and Ultra Fill have already been ported to iOS.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, definitely check them out.  We have also begun investigating porting a few titles to the Xbox.  And, if time permits, there may be some Android ports coming as well.

And, for your reading pleasure, a few of our internal company goals.s.

-          To hit and exceed the 2 million download mark. 

-          To FINALLY figure out what the hell is going on with our eCPM and fix it. 

-          To write a similar, but far more boastful article twelve months from now after another year of unexpected success.

-          To score a walk-on role with Nathan Fillion, Bruce Campbell, or in a SyFy Original movie.  Ok…so that’s just a personal one from the guy writing this article.  Fingers crossed though!

 

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