So you have decided to take the plunge and port/develop a game for Android. This is you big popular game from iPhone/iPad/iTouch/BlackBerry/Whatever and you are ready to release it to the masses on Android. No bugs? Check! Support for all screens? Check! Android market account? Check! Now what? Got it on the Android market but that only reaches a certain amount of people.
Well have no fear as we are here to help! There are a bunch of viable outside market websites to use to make sure your game reaches a wide variety of people, far more then the Android market alone. While we wait for Google to get off their butts and expand the reach of the Android market, you can use these sites to reach people who have Android phones but no access to paid applications or games on the market.
Most of these sites take a bigger cut (usually 40-50%) then what Google Checkout does but you can also raise your price slightly as well to make up for the difference. Also when checking these sites out, be sure to read the various ways people can purchase and get your product onto their phones. Most offer an option of strictly OTA (Over-The-Air) delivery meaning once purchased the user downloads and installs it right to their phone almost like the Android market. This helps keeps your .apk file safer and not floating all over the place.
Metaflow – The new player on the block. Metaflow currently is in beta phase and while it is in beta developers can sign-up (quick and free, I just did it) and within 24 hours can have their account certified and their goods up and ready for sale. Metaflow has a bunch of features not seen anywhere else including your own portal for your products, submission software to submit your products to some or all of their carrier at a single time and much more.
Another great feature about Metaflow is that their cut on each sale is the same as Google’s therefor you won’t have to raise your prices to make up for it. Metaflow has already had some major companies sign onto their service including EA Mobile, Glu, Connect2Media, ZED, THQ and Fox mobile to name a few. Right now their focus is on high quality games but any developer with quality products can sign up right now which you can do over at their site.
Mobihand – This site has been around for awhile catering to the entire mobile market from iPhone to Blackberry and everything in between. When Android came out they were quick to add a separate category for just us. With Mobihand you can narrow your delivery service to strictly OTA to protect your .apk files a bit better. Mobihand also will help promote your game, offer sales and discounts to potential buyers and just really pro-active overall with trying to generate money for you.
The control panel may seem a bit overwhelming at first but taking a few minutes just to look everything over works wonders and you’ll be uploading your game in no time. There is also no waiting period for your uploaded products, just like the Android market, once it is uploaded it is available on the next site update. Going to Mobihand’s site you will see a wide variety of developers who have already uploaded their Android products so you’ll get a feel for how the main layout is when just a visitor.
PocketGear – Another site that has been around for awhile catering to all of the mobile market also has an Android category. While this site focuses more on the European market there is also a US Dollar option to choose. Again, just like Mobihand, the backend is a bit overwhelming at first but taking a couple of minutes will having you uploading like a pro. They also offer a strictly OTA delivery service.
Once you set your price you may see it change as PocketGear uses the exchange rate on any given day to calculate prices. While overall this site is good there is a waiting period of approval for uploaded products but I have not seen it take longer then 24 hours to get approval and be visible on the site.
Handango – Handango has been around for a long time selling mobile products and also has a section for Android products. While other sites have a payout minimum of usually $100-$150, Handago has theirs set at $200. Registration needs approval once you’ve signed up and can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few days. Both PocketGear and Mobihand has my account approved within a day or two so this will be a bit longer of a wait.
Handango however has been around for a very long time and receives a lot of traffic so your game will get a lot of exposure. Just remember to up your price as their cut on each sale is higher then Google’s as well. Overall though this is still a solid site to consider uploading your games to. Nothing wrong with more exposure, check them out.
SlideMe – Completely dedicated to Android Applications and Games, SlideMe started soon after the release of Android and at one point offered developers a staggering 90% profit keep for them, meaning their cut on each sale was only 10%! However after noting that this wasn’t feesible when it came to operation costs it was raised up to 40% I believe (I could be wrong).
SlideMe has always supported the Android platform and being one of the only dedicated market sites for Android products it has become quite popular with both users and developers. They also have an application you can download free off the Android market and also comes pre-loaded on phones in other countries which allows you to browse their market right from your phone, buy and install just as if it were the Android market.
Handmark – More of a distribution agency in a way, they have their own market you can upload your Android products to. On top of that they also have developed Android products of their own including a very popular Twitter application. You can choose to just sell your goods on their site or sign on as a ‘partner’ in which they will put your application/game under their name and it will be distributed to multiple carriers across the globe.
Their cut seems to be on the higher end of the scale and depending on the carrier is anywhere from 40-60% per sale so you’ll have to consider raising your price as well as if it is worth having them distribute it for you or just selling it on their site.
Game Mobile (Beta) – Another project that is in beta status, this site features not just games but everything for mobile phones. While this is really new to the arena as well, it is already getting stocked with some big named companies. At first glance it doesn’t look like they support the Android platform but after a short look into the Brands compatibility (when looking at the description of a game) you’ll see options for Google Android Operating System, HTC, Motorola and more and in the model list various Android phones listed.
This site also seems to cater to the European market more then any other so if you are looking to expand your European reach to potential buyers, this may be another viable option to consider.
SHOP4APPS – Motorola, in the not so distant past, opened up their own marketplace to expand developers reach to countries without paid applications and games such as in Chili, China and soon to be available in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The sign-up process is a bit more lengthy and there is a waiting period as well once you upload your game to be available for purchase.
They also have their own SDK available should you choose to use it or just the standard Android SDK as well as other various tools at your disposal. If you really are wanting to expand your exposure then even though this takes a bit longer to sign-up for it should be seriously considered, especially with the size of the Asian market.
AndAppStore – Another fully dedicated Android market site, this has also been around since just after Android was released. The site isn’t so much about looks as it is speed and you can search for what you want really fast. They also have an application just like SlideMe does that is available for you to use on your phone.
All payments are done through Paypal so you’ll need an account and this means you’ll be dealing with Paypal’s cut for receiving money so you’ll have to look at raising your prices to compensate for that if you don’t want to take the hit.
There are more outside markets available for you to use, these aren’t just the only ones. China Mobile has their own although not in English and geared towards only the Asian market, it is definitely worth considering if you want to go crazy with exposure. Other companies out there also help distribute your app such as Chillingo (also does iPhone/iPad) and Hyperbees (strictly Android platform) to name a couple. All of these sites are free to sign-up to so you can do one, some or all of them to help increase your chances of being truly successful until Google actually does something about the lack of paid application access the Android market still has as well as the lack of an online store front.
Last but not least, you can always make your game so that your players can make in-game purchases at their leisure instead of paying for the game, keep it free! It seems to be the growing trend with iPhone games and has been really successful and we are starting to see that happening with Android games now as well but that is for another article!
Hopefully this has helped you in your journey to becoming a successful game developer for Android. Quality over quantity, keep your game updated, listen to the feedback and keep it original and you’ll have no problems! If you know of any other sites that you feel should be included in this list please leave a comment about it (or anything else) and I’ll gladly add it.