Hi dear audiogamers and friends
Year 2019 has been a very interesting one. It was full of challenges, but also of a lot of learning. Before it ends, I thought it could be a good moment to send you some updates and thank all of you for the support. I’m normally very open to tell about our company’s actions and thoughts, so this post includes good, bad news, and a little bit of criticism too.
1. TEAM. After losing last spring our main developer (who basically decided to leave from one day to another), we have found the desired stability we needed. At this moment our team is composed by five; Axel, Aleksi, Jani, Joonas and David. From January, a new programmer called Marko will join the team. Unfortunately, incomes are not yet enough to provide us a salary, but we try our best to optimize resources and time. Motivation is quite high, and we all row in the same direction.
2. AUDIOWIZARDS. Our first real game was successfully launched in September 2019 for iOS and Android. After 2 months we updated it with 5 new pretty challenging levels. In January, the game will be also available for PC through Steam. All the music in the game was composed by nine very talented blind musicians, and we have decided to make that music also available in Steam. More news about that in 2020.
The game received very positive critics, but it didn’t reach the selling numbers we needed. We had invested a lot of time and effort in marketing, and the game was good, so the only clear reason for us was that most of audiogamers don’t want to spend even 5 € for a game, even though the game proved to be worth that price. This was a surprised, because it is common to read in the forums that the gaming community is tired of simplistic games, and that they want to play the same games that are played by sighted. We tried to do both, a complex game with nice music and sound effects, challenging tasks and simple but interesting visuals. Perhaps we are living the time of the “everything should be free”. Mobile gaming is saturated of free to play games including in-app purchases or publicity adds. We tried the other way, a quality game that costed 5 € but once purchased it was for you forever. It didn’t work. And it is a pity, because perhaps it could be true that the community is not ready to really take new developers in. I’m sorry about this terrific fact, but developers also need to eat, and if I can’t provide them a salary, sooner or later they will leave. How all this has affected us is detailed further in next points 3, 4 and 5. We also noticed some members of the community were sharing ways in the internet to make pirate versions of our game. Shame on you!!!
3. MUSICMAZE. We were developing an infinite runner type game for few months. The game included pixel art graphics and very professional music and sound effects. In the game you advanced through 6 finite levels and the final infinite, each level with a different atmosphere resembling desert, jungle, temple, catacombs and so on, while meeting the new enemies and collecting coins to earn XP and different collectables. Game mechanics were based in combinations of swipes and tabs. Last October, after spending quite much money and effort on it, we reached alpha-test version. Once we tested ourselves, we decided to cancel the game and stop its development in order to minimize losses. The game was not bad, but based on the experience with games including a fix price of 5 €, we thought it was not a viable project any longer. Sure we considered to add in-app purchases and learn from this type of monetization model. But that was not the way we wanted to go because of ethical issues, e.g. our games are not casino-type-games where you need to pay to collect things. At this point, I take myself all the responsibility from this failure. I was not able to see in advance what could happen, and I actually maintain the development for few more months because of sentimental reasons, e.g. many people had been involved and I don’t like to quit and fail. End of the story.
4. FUTURE GAME. But the good games come now. We have started to work on a new game in the category of RPG-Manager Auto-Battler. Perhaps some of you ask what the hell is that, or ask for more info. We will answer those questions in the next months to come. If everything goes well, in 3-4 months we will launch a DEMO and offer interested players some kind of Early Access or Pre-Order option. The new game will be very ambitious, including graphics but fully accessible for the blind, originally developed for PC but if possible it will be migrated to mobile systems at some point. We are very far from launch yet, and actually we have not yet all the funding we need for it. If you want to help us on our way, then jump to point number 5.
5. FUNDING and CROWFUNDING. Along the last months we talked with a series of investors. We told them there was a huge market for the blind and their answer was always the same: “good idea and nice social impact. Like it!, but show me the numbers little man. Prove to me that you can make that money”. And it was here where I again failed because I was not able to show them any impressive selling numbers from AW-game. To me, the door of investors or business angels investing in this market at this moment is quite closed. And that is a pity because we were quite close! The next Option is CROWFUNDING, but the government of the country where we are based, Finland, is not so fan of KickStarter systems and alike, and actually KickStarter is not available from our geographic location. We need some time to figure out what would be the best way to do it. But until then, you can, if you want, try to help us. For instance, if you still didn’t get your own copy of AudioWizards go ahead and get one. If for instance you have the game already and you liked it, why not to share the joy with a friend that can’t afford it? It is x-mas time soon, so a good chance to make presents to your friends without actually spending much money. DISCLAIMER: I’m not begging, but I just give some ideas. Well, I’m begging a bit I suppose ; )
6. COMMUNITY. It is time to say “thanks and see you next year”. It has been a pleasure working for you and develop games for the community. We have make good friends and we have learnt like a lot, listening and accepting polite criticism as much as we could. We really feel well with you, and we would like to keep that relationship for many years. As long as myTrueSound is alive, you have also friends here, and be sure we will never turn our back to AudioPlayers. Our games will be always accessible, or at least, that we have promised to ourselves. Gaming, playing and having fun should be universal rights, and we will keep working with all of you to make that happen any day soon. We would also like to thank also other developers in the community. Thanks Joe from Mental Vision for calling me every second friday. You know I like you!. Thanks also Liam Erven from L-Games for giving us a hand with the mouth to mouth and beta testing our game. And thanks also to Harry from Pitch Black. It was a pleasure to meet last week. We are waiting for that incredible RPG! Thanks also to Brandon (SuperBlindMan), Jesse (Illegally Sighted), Riley (Acces4Gamers,) Ryan (The Blind Man Theory), Jeff (Blind Abilities), and specially to DARK (audiogames.net), for all the support you provided along the last 12 months. It has been amazing. Thanks also to the 33 talented musicians that participated in the AudioWizards music competition. The game would not have been the same without your input. Thank you too all audiogamers and people from this nice community. We like you all. And absolutely, big cheers to all the people. Last but not least, thanks to Dani, Aku, Eveliina, Fareeda, Hassan, Janne, Jaro, Maksim, Maria, Niko, Shane, Jussi and Petri for giving us your hand too.
David Oliva and the myTrueSound team.
Ps: please, comment this post. Your comments will help to bring us more light. It will also help this post not to sink very fast in the list, and this way it would be read by more people. Thanks also for that.