Sunday, August 3, 2008

Morocco downloads and update!

I clearly underestimated the popularity of Morocco. Apple has only released the number of downloads starting on Monday, July 28th, but in the first four days of that period it was downloaded almost 24,000 times! The largest number of downloads during that period were on Monday with 7,500 downloads. The fewest were on Wednesday with just over 5,000 downloads.

Based on those numbers, I've come up with a few methods to help me estimate how many total downloads there have been since the App Store opened on July 10th. I came up with a range of between 150,000 and 200,000 downloads in its first three weeks! Wow.

My first method is just to extrapolate backwards from the numbers I have. It seems reasonable to assume that the download counts have been declining, especially since it fell out of the top 10 free games after the first week. If we use the maximum daily number available (7,500) and multiply that by the 16 days for which we don't have data, that gives us 120,000. Add to that the 24,000 known downloads through Thursday, July 31st, and we get 144,000. But it seems likely that the average downloads for the first two weeks were higher. Picking a not unreasonable number of 10,000 average daily downloads gives us 184,000 downloads between July 10th and July 31st.

My second method is based on using the number of reviews as a proxy for the number of downloads, as suggested here. I was very skeptical of this method when I first read it — and, honestly, I still am. But using their value of approximately 1,600 downloads per review puts us in the same ballpark as above. With Morocco having just over 100 reviews as of Thursday, July 31st, that suggests 160,000 downloads.

Finally, I looked at the number of hits to the Morocco page on this website as a proxy for downloads. It peaked during the first two days the App Store was open, declined slightly for the next week and a half, spiked up when the 1.0.1 update was released, and has been steadily declining since then. Using the downloads-to-hits ratio for the known days and extrapolating that for the prior two weeks, gives an estimated download count of 190,000.

Did I mention, "WOW!"?

Morocco was written both as a hobby and a way to pick up programming for the iPhone. I figured I'd throw it out there in the hopes that a few people would find it fun, but then forget about it. Between the wonderful reviews it is getting, the emails I have received, and, now, the number of downloads, I've become excited about continuing to improve it.

In case you are worried that the download count has me seeing dollar signs and that I am thinking about charging for future versions, fear not. Morocco will always remain free. Frankly, you can get world class Reversi / Othello programs for free and I'm not presumptuous enough to think that Morocco is better than them.

My next update will address the most common complaint, that the graphics are not polished enough for an iPhone app. I agree completely. Thankfully, Nik Daum stepped up and generously offered his artistic services for free. I think you'll like the results. In addition to updated graphics, Morocco will now include a disc flipping animation and an animation that highlights the most recent move. And, finally, I am adding instructions in the game itself to help those who have never played Othello before.

I was hoping to have these updates finished tonight. But I'm not 100% happy with it yet and there remains one bug to squash. I'm not going to send an update to the App Store until I'm as happy with it as I can be. Look for another post soon announcing the upcoming release.