Living as an Indie Developer

Some of you may have seen it already but I think it will be of interest to a lot of people hoping to live from their coding.
Although this only one story and not a general, large scale, study, it is a very interesting one
About the development and revenues gained by the “Unread” application distributed for iPhone and iPad

a nice read.

A Candid Look at Unread’s First Year

Another article worth reading:

I think the bubble may have burst on mobile app development. A few years ago it was THE hot dev topic. Now it’s a commodity item as there are ton of mobile developers and the app stores are full of products. It’s very hard to get noticed.

Think back a five years ago. Everyone was doing web apps. Then that bubble burst too.

Makes you wonder what the next bubble will be.

I think this is absolutely true and I have personal experience of it. On the other hand, I don’t think the Mac App Store has peaked and burst in the same manner. Any apps that I have been a part of on MAS have sold less in the first month than on the iOS App Store BUT have sold far more consistently and at far higher prices.

Some categories on the MAS are still a potential gold mine, IMO, and haven’t been fully exploited.

Car InfoTainment system apps
Like we all need Karaoke on the in car in dash system

Don’t we ? :stuck_out_tongue:

What I like most in this guy’s account is :

Web users are notoriously flaky, with an attention span of 2 seconds. Phone users come from all corners of the universe, but one can suppose a large portion of them are adolescents or barely adult, with the kind of behavior known from Kim Kardashian and other reality TV intellectuals.

A computer is not used like a phone. It is as simple as that. It takes more consistency, more focus, and people who buy apps probably have got brains to go with the mouse. It may explain why the MAS is more resilient than iTunes Store with its air head, surfer brain and other trend-loving-soon-forgetting superficial buyers.

With Xcode I started developing apps when it first started, sales were very good. But as the years go by I started noticing changes with new apps I was submitting. Sales were declining at a fast rate (Games & Apps). I just finished adding another app but I think this will be the last one.

There are just to many apps and games to get noticed. I now make more money writing apps and games for
other people than submitting my own stuff.

The next big thing is VR. I think it will be more than just gaming, although that will be the initial focus.

Several different points of view are valid and give exact notion of this market, thanks to everyone for sharing their views on this subject.

I read this morning that Desktop Apps are the ‘new’ hot development area…

[quote=115929:@Sam Rowlands]I read this morning that Desktop Apps are the ‘new’ hot development area…

New? LOL!

  • Karen

[quote]Car InfoTainment system apps
Like we all need Karaoke on the in car in dash system[/quote]

Nobody has noticed that cars have a different life expectancy than cars.

Houses will be next. See Nest. I’ve heard that there are houses that have been standing for hundreds of years.

Speaking as european programmer stuck in the middle between Russia and our spying friends in the western world i’d vote for programming military stuff. It’ll be the next big thing here. And sh*tloads of money in it too.

But you have to be fast, it’ll be a market for only few years. After that I’d go for agricultural stuff or - if you want to stay in military area - production of scythes, pitchforks and maces.

So many stupid people with their finger on the trigger around here.
Make your software like guns already are, so any dumbass can use em!
< / sarcasm >

32-bit code and I don’t joke.

A particular are of interest is network, in the late 70’s and early 80’s thin clients (i e terminals) was the de facto standard and now many organizations are back in thin clients.

Bubbles are short lived, but can be very lucrative while they last.

On the other hand, enterprise software most often lags behind the bubble. Solid design and reliability will win on the long term in the enterprise. Given the nature of that market, web apps deployed on a company intranet are still going to be a strong market for many years.

I agree with Dennis on the thin client requirement. Web apps fit the purpose very well. They can be used on laptops, tablets or even smartphones. Some major ERP vendors enable their systems such that transactions can be handled with smartphones. I would not handle a production planning board on a smartphone, but I could conceivably take a customer order on one.

The point is, there is much money to be made outside of the bubble, provided the offering is well suited to the target market. The basics still apply.

There is a limit on how low you can price a car, the lowest limit is the price of the parts and labor. Same with any tangible item (generally) but same with intangibles! The problem is that many people haven’t got that memo yet - developers AND the buying public. The public will never understand because by nature downloadable software cheapens the whole product, BELOW that theoretical limit.

The App Store pits thousands of indies against each other and they all die as they price their app at $2. Software just can’t be produced that cheaply. This author had a taste for quality yet didn’t realize that because of that, it needed to be priced appropriately. Price it at $9.99. Who cares what everyone else charges? As this guy learned, his pricing doomed his scheme from the very beginning. Pricing it higher would have given him at least a shot, and he could always come down later and retool.

Software has value, price it that way. The only way people understand how difficult good software is to produce is to PRICE IT ACCORDINGLY.

Such is the growing pains of the Discount Software Industry. Now that everyone is dead and dying, sanity is rising from the ashes and pricing software appropriately. At least I hope. Meanwhile, I’m taking my $150 and $80 softwares and basking in the buffer zone. See ya in Tahiti!

3D Printing and Augmented Reality are also two industries worth keeping an eye on… especially in industrial and medical industries.

I have been producing TrueType fonts since 1993. At a time when fonts are seen everywhere for free, I still sell enough to pay the rent and more. That, because some of them are highly technical and need to pass stringent requirements to suit precise industry needs. Such are the MICR Fonts needed by the banking industry and companies of all sizes.

When the Internet bubble burst, while big companies went south and others got bought for pennies, my modest house was fine. Like a penguin on an ice cube, it survived until today with a steady flow of activity which pays the rent fine.

The problem with software is that it is produced by very different people : indies, big corporations, and people who have not enough self estime to put a price tag on their products. So they go free (not very bright if you ask me).

It could not happen for cars ; loosers cannot build hundreds of copies of a car.But when software is concerned, an idiot can place a program for grabs in an instant.

That said, price is only one component of a purchase decision. Even if many prefer free because they are too cheap to buy software (free includes piracy), corporate use implies the need for adequate support, and a guarantee that software will comply to specifications and perform as described. That may explain why, among other things, Linux still accounts for only 2% or so of the market, in spite of being able to perform just as fine as Windows. Being free is not enough. Durability, support, stability (hello XP), are more important than saving a hundred bucks.

My modest experience is that if a product is well supported, it sells. Of course, price does not have to be outrageous. But it can be fair. And an individual can be thriftier than a big infrastructure company. But yet, giving away software is kind of suicidal, unless you got a very real Gilette strategy : give away razors and sell blades. This is the major way Windows software sells today. Yet, I find this kind of stupid : you got to nag and support tacky customers to death until they condescend to pull their credit cars, and on top of it, some cretins still find a way to try to crack your products.

I love the Mac App store, because it represents the best for an individual developer : create the program to the best of your ability, and let Apple do the rest. Especially have the customer pay upfront.

I think VR apps and games would be the next hit (Oculust Rift as a gigantic mainframe and next generations as iPhone nano).

I have read both articles and well… in many countries people can live with $500-1000 per month. There are hackintosh for $400 that works awesomely well. All software & development kits are included and free and earning $1000 a month App can be a ruined business or a bless.

We can’t compete with 2nd and 3rd wold economies if Apple prefers a marketing strategy based on zillions of apps/downloads or pursue the best software, best developers and adopt certain rules of quality and updatability. I have seen Apps not upgraded by ages ranked as top. Developers spend more on SEO than quality, etc.

There are still very talented studios (culturedcode, omni,etc) that really focus on quality, support, and experience to gain a reputation. This should be some recognizable by the end-user, you make a brand of quality with your products, at the end. This makes customers see and purchase new products.

I don’t think Apple will continue with this kind of Marketing and as with the removal of QT Framework w/o advice, they can tweak or major change App Store, that is an application.

I am worried by Swift adoption not because it makes you code more features in the development cycle, but I fear there will be a huge increase in number of Apps, cheap cloned, 1 buggy release, and allow teams to focus on quantity vs quality.

I expect Apple focus more and quality and are less picky about other non so important stuff when we release to MAS.


yeah what he said.