Amazing Alex Solves App Store Ranking Algorithm

Amazing Alex had a rapid rise to the top of the iTunes Paid App Store rankings knocking off the likes of Temple Run, Tiny Wings, the recently popular Where’s My Perry and Rovio’s own Angry Birds Space.

While it wouldn’t take the boundless imagination of a whiz kid to realise that Rovio have the knowledge and leverage to successfully promote a new app, however it then needs to live up to that expectation in order to turn the promotion into profits.

Within 8 hours of launch, Amazing Alex hit the No.1 iPhone paid app position in America in what could be one of the fastest rises to the top of the iPhone app rankings ever.

Over the last 6 days it has become the iPhone best seller in 35 countries and the iPad best seller in 50 countries and these numbers are likely to have changed as I write.

App store success can be fleeting for some when an app doesn’t live up to user expectation however Rovio have established credibility with the market and constantly seem to not just meet, but exceed this expectation.

While Amazing Alex comes with 100 levels to conquer, it also takes advantage of true social gaming functionality by allowing user created content to be added to the game in the form of new levels that can be designed and shared with friends or with players around the world.

This inclusion has the potential to have almost limitless scenarios for Alex to explore, and a similar amount of limitless social interactivity for the users.

Based on an old MS-DOS hit from 1992, “The Incredible Machine”, Amazing Alex is a different breed of game to Angry Birds and demonstrates some versatility on the part of the Rovio development team and it quickly became clear that this change of direction was going to pay off.

The mobile gaming market is more competitive than ever and it takes substance and innovation to gain and maintain a top app store ranking.

We always recommend to our customers to review competitors app store reviews to see how you can improve your app idea, so let’s take a quick look at some of the early comments on Amazing Alex (from the 42 app store customer reviews that are currently there):

  • Great game, great graphics.  Everything I expected.  Fantastic little game. (WNxPegasusX)
  • Freaking awesome! Best thing since angry birds! (CosmoLord)
  • This is fun and enjoyable but its not working through game centre? (Nathan Thompson)
  • Now that the game centre bug is fixed its great!! Love it, good on you guys for the quick fix to the bug!!  This game gets very hard-but I like it like that! Can’t wait for more levels. (Sean Herbert)Great game but it drains the battery faster than any other app I’ve used (Mattman)
  • This game is very entertaining.  The combination of physics in the game makes it extremely interesting!  The only game on my iPhone that I have played several days in a row without getting bored. (Ran Feng)

This is just a small sample and there appeared to be a number of early comments about the Game Centre bug however Rovio appeared to fix that quickly.

If anything, the issue with the bug provides the biggest lesson here.  Fortunately, Rovio had the resources to resolve this bug almost immediately and while most developers watch the launch of their apps for this very reason, they need to be in a position to implement a fix for this or take down the app in many cases and re-launch with a fix in place.

The other risk here for smaller developers is that these early negative comments have the potential damage your credibility with potential users, costing you sales.

This highlights the importance of thorough user testing before release but also goes to show that even companies with the app development power of Rovio, can still get it wrong.

It hasn’t hurt their sales but their quick response to the bug certainly helped and now they have overcome this hurdle, it will be interesting to see if Amazing Alex can maintain its spot at the top of the App Store rankings.

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