Lifetime Value, Updates, Modules & Expansions

John Clancy has a great article on AppDeveloperMagazine.com that goes into the requirements of maximizing lifetime value of your product.  We’ve got through quite a few of these points, here, too – suffice that each component of app development and marketing needs continuous reinforcement.   As relates to product planning, there are some points worthy of adding.

Product upgrades, modules and expansions.   The inherent goal of business is to maximize your return for everything you do.  This makes some business models superior to others.  Compare web site design to mobile app or software development.  With web site development, it’s 1 product = 1 sale.  With mobile apps and software it’s 1 product = potentially 1000’s of sales, or copies distributed considering indirect revenue models.

What could possibly be better than the software or mobile app market for a business model — given that a physical storefront, physical inventory, packaging, shipping or product returns are virtually irrelevant?

Let’s take a look at what Angry Birds has done.  First, there was Angry Birds.  Then came Angry Birds HD, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Magic, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Chrome, Angry Birds Space, and well… Angry Birds just keeps going and going, kind of like the Energizer Bunny.

What’s happening there?  Well, they found something that worked very well, and applied the same model to multiple products.  That is, we can guess that a substantial amount of the design and coding from each version was recycled and reused to produce another product.

This is something to consider when developing your next project, as well as if your last product showed any signs of really catching on.   Leastwise, you can look at just about every reasonably successful product and find its sequel.  World of Warcraft could have stopped with its Level 40 Cap…  Windows could have stopped around version 3.1.   Restaurants could have stopped with the double cheeseburger, but some went on to make the triple cheeseburger, and at least one found the sky the limit and decided to make the “heart attack burger.”

In my own case, I design “very large scenarios” for wargames.   It was my initial goal to produce a scenario spanning all of World War II at a division level, 15 km per hex, scale.   The game platform I use was not able to handle it at the time.   My first project ended up being just the War in Europe from 1942 – 1945 because that was the absolute maximum the system could handle.  With recent upgrades of the game platform, however, it appears that my original idea is now viable.   The question then became whether I could complete the scenario by the time of the game platform’s next release?  No, but a full 1939 – 1945 covering somewhat more than the War in Europe is feasible.

This sets the stage for three different products, all developed incrementally.

This is par for the course in all popular gaming systems.   If you look at different roleplaying games back in Pen and Paper days, each had a rulebook for a gamemaster, books for players, more books for gamemasters, miniatures for everyone, dice, game screens, you name it.  Much the same goes into today’s MMORPG’s.   As mentioned in previous articles, the market for “virtual vanity items” within a large network of people is considerable.  Some games make more money from vanity products than they do on any other aspect of their game.  It can also work for business and utility related apps, too.

The intention here is to prompt consideration of different directions you can go with your existing mobile app.   By recycling and reusing existing code, you simplify a portion of your testing and quality control, accelerate development of your product line, supply your existing customers with more content and increase your ability to more rapidly reach new customers with similar interests.


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If you are looking for different ways to monetize your app, you may find the following articles of interest to you:

Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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