Ponycorn P’toosday Approaches

With the help of Intern Chris (@CBAnims) and Intern Sina (@sinaKash), we’ve cut together a really cool trailer for Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, the game i authored with my 5-year-old daughter Cassandra:

(any regular Untold reader will figure out how i commissioned such a great trailer voice-over without breaking the bank! :)

This is all in anticipation of the release of Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure on the Apple iPad next week, on a momentous date we’re calling Ponycorn P’toosday (July 12 2011).

Pricing and Strategy

The game is priced at $2.99. When pricing, i followed this reasoning;

  • iPad versions of games usually sell for more than their iPhone/iPod counterparts. Why? Because. (you pay more money for your iPad, so you should pay more for its software? i guess? *shrug*)
  • the lowest paid price for an iPhone/iPod app is 99 cents, so following the rule, that brings the iPad price to $1.99
  • i have heard tell from people who have researched it more heavily that curiously, people don’t seem to differentiate between the $1.99 and $2.99 price points. If you go $3.99, they fly off the handle and you sell zero copies. But given the choice between selling at 2 bucks or 3 bucks, you may as well go with 3.
  • Generally, it’s much easier to lower the price than it is to raise it, so you may as well start high. Some companies have claimed to launch at a low “introductory price” and have raised it from there – that’s really the only way i’ve seen of getting away with those sorts of price-raising shenanigans. (Although Tommy Refenes famously raised his price every time he got a sale. That was hilarious. And tough to duplicate.)

The average donation amount to Cassie’s Education Fund on the ponycorns website was $10, so it’s not such a wild stab.

Why Buy the Cow?

Now, of course, the real interesting bit will be to see if folks will buy the game on a mobile platform even though it’s available for free online. Here are a few reasons why the mobile version is more appealing:

  1. it runs ad-free
  2. there’s no download wait – the game instantly starts up
  3. it’s easier for the kids in your life to access … they just have to tap the game icon (instead of you having to type in a url for them to play)
  4. kids prefer touch interfaces over mouse-driven ones (and have more success with touch)
  5. the touch interface even lowers the minimum play age down from 2 years old to zero years old
  6. the audio is uncompressed and crystal-clear

The Importance of Being iOS

The indie game developers i know, who have had varying degrees of success on the iOS platform, have lovingly cautioned me that i’ve entered a lottery, and that i shouldn’t get my hopes up. i’m running somewhat of a different business than they are. It’s not crucial for an original Untold game to succeed on iOS, but it is crucial for Untold to have launched a product there.


The reason is that most of our kids’ production and broadcast clients are presently putting all their eggs in the iOS basket, for better or worse … i think that, as with most people, their eyes are all a-twinkle at the prospect of actually selling their kids’ games. Many of my clients treat these kids’ teevee brand extensions into video games as a marketing expense, and the interactive departments don’t generally turn a profit. When the axe comes down, as it often does, it comes down hardest on departments that are non-revenue generating. iOS represents a faint hope to many of these folks that they can become a money-making operation to gain more sway and security within the larger organization.

So! Now that Untold Entertainment can offer both online web game services AND mobile game development services (including Android, Playbook and iOS) to our clients, we’re very well situated. Don’t get me wrong – i’d LOVE for ponycorns to take off on the iPad and warrant an iPhone/iPod version. There are a whole lot of people out there whose days have not yet been brightened by the rainbow-coloured land of ponycorns, so we have some work left to do.

P’too Long; Didn’t Read

Did i mention the game comes out on the iPad on Ponycorn P’toosday, July p’12th? Mark your calendars!

9 thoughts on “Ponycorn P’toosday Approaches

  1. David

    Okay, so I’m not a ‘regular Untold reader’ – in fact I’m distinctly irregular (and just jumping on the Ponycorn bandwagon). But I’d still like to know how you got such an awesome voice-over (just out of curiosity).

  2. Jon

    If I’m not mistaken the original game was written using your Flash game engine (which was also used for the Playbook version), so are you continuing to use Flash to publish for iOS or have you switched over to Unity for this version or are you using a different toolchain to produce iOS / Android builds ?

    Just Curious… 8-)

    Congrats on the release regardless!

    1. Ryan Henson Creighton

      Yep. We’re heading into a 1980’s-style crash in the video game market, for sure. i’m just waiting for the hammer to fall.

      1. Facebook Indie Games

        Weird… knowing what the average donation was finally got me to pull out my credit card and donate.

        I donated above the average because (1) I’m one generous bastard and (2) I don’t know my Canadian dollar exchange rates.

        Will the paid version still include a donation button? I’d be fascinated to know how you’d fare if you put it up for free with a donation button built in.


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