I'm Co-Founder and Lead Developer for Itzy Interactive. Growing up in rural Alberta, I've been an avid gamer since my first days of playing Gorf on my Commodore Vic-20. After spending countless hours entering and modifying game code from Compute’s Gazette magazines on my C-64 as a boy, I never lost my love for gaming even as I eventually fell into a career in finance. After a decade in the brokerage industry, a layoff, and an uncertain economy, I re-evaluated my career goals. I went back to school, retrained and started Itzy Interactive with a few like minded individuals and now I'm set on fulfilling a childhood dream by making some video games. Father, movie geek and indie game developer. You can check out our current projects at (www.itzyinteractive.com) or visit us on Facebook at (www.facebook.com/ItzyInteractive)
Posts by Kyle-Kulyk
  1. Mobile game review sites are a waste of time ( Counting comments... )
  2. "App Of The Day" type apps can help indies with app discovery ( Counting comments... )
  3. Android piracy still sucks ( Counting comments... )
  4. Launch Day 2.0 ( Counting comments... )
  5. Vexing puzzle design ( Counting comments... )
  6. Playing with my kids helps me make better games ( Counting comments... )
  7. Would you pay to have your app reviewed? ( Counting comments... )
  8. The Home Stretch ( Counting comments... )
  9. Why we chose Freemium ( Counting comments... )
  10. How not to go insane while working from home ( Counting comments... )
  11. How we manage the virtual team ( Counting comments... )
  12. The devolution of gaming culture ( Counting comments... )
  13. Game Engines for Indies ( Counting comments... )
  14. There are eight million blogs about Mass Effect’s ending. This is one of them. ( Counting comments... )
  15. Indie devs, the odds are against you ( Counting comments... )
  16. Feedback loop ( Counting comments... )
  17. Performance Anxiety 3 – Road Blocks ( Counting comments... )
  18. An Indie marketing story ( Counting comments... )
  19. Launch Day ( Counting comments... )
  20. It’s ready when it’s ready, dammit! ( Counting comments... )
  21. Cyberbullying and gamers ( Counting comments... )
  22. Present this! ( Counting comments... )
  23. Teachers open doors ( Counting comments... )
  24. Along came a spider... ( Counting comments... )
  25. How’d I get here? ( Counting comments... )
  26. Should we be worried about Nintendo? ( Counting comments... )
  27. Performance Anxiety 2: You’re doing it wrong ( Counting comments... )
  28. My top 5 games of childhood ( Counting comments... )
  29. What this Indie developer needs ( Counting comments... )
  30. Performance anxiety ( Counting comments... )
  31. For Indies, a demo is a must ( Counting comments... )
Advocacy / Business / Marketing /

appstoreWith app discovery being one of the main hurdles that an indie, mobile developer will face it’s understandable to want to reach out to the hundreds of app review sites out there in the hopes that they’ll be able to help launch your game to stardom, or at the very least be a lifeline that could potentially keep you afloat. Dozens of guides exist providing tips on how to make your mobile game stand out in the hopes of garnering some review attention. So armed with this knowledge, you put together a press package, research which sites to approach, find out who to contact and what their favourite color is and then start initiating contact. This is what I did, and in my opinion it was about as effective as wishing on a star.

We now have two games under our belts and trying to court review sites for coverage has felt a bit like sending head shots to a supermodel in the hopes she’ll take you to your prom. On each title I’ve spent weeks of my time reaching out to review sites and have zero to show for it. For our next title, I won’t waste my time on a single one and I wouldn’t advise any other mobile app developer expend any effort either unless they specifically know someone who can provide them an “in.”  Statistics show that roughly 20% of users discover their apps through 3rd party sites including press releases, blogs and review sites combined and given that the chance of being featured by one of these review sites that make up a portion of that 20% are slim, how much time should a mobile developer spend on the off chance that they might be featured on one of the worthwhile sites?

Between Vex Blocks and Itzy3d, I’ve initiated over 400 contacts with mobile review sites, not counting some actual back and forth conversations and follow-up. I’ve received a big, fat goose egg for reviews for our latest title, Vex Blocks and one review for Itzy3d from a site that is no longer active. The other reviews we received for Itzy3d were paid reviews of poor quality I shelled out for in a desperate attempt for exposure before I realized I was being scammed. I currently have an email box full of review sites asking for money for their “expedited review services” ranging from $25 to upwards of $300-$400 for exposure on sites that rarely even reveal meaningful data regarding readership when requested.

I followed the guides. I carefully crafted my press package, I personalized, I included media and gameplay videos. I researched sites and people, attempted to establish a rapport with reviewers and even when a dialogue was established, in the end all the work I put in didn’t help move a single copy of either of our titles.

keepcalm-and-wait-why-am-i-doing-thisNow while I’m sure a piece by a well known game site certainly wouldn’t hurt app exposure, the reality is these sites are inundated with requests for reviews and most likely if you don’t know (or aren’t willing or able to pay) you’re just one of thousands of voices crying for attention. The sites that don’t exist to simply take a desperate indie’s money and throw up a couple of paragraphs for their few hundred readers are most likely so backlogged with review requests that even the most well meaning among them probably hasn’t a prayer of reviewing even a tenth of the requests they receive. So far, based on my experiences, I’d recommend you not waste your time if you find yourself in the same situation. Again, I’m not saying that you might not get lucky with review sites. You might win the lottery. What I am saying is there’s probably more productive ways you could spend your time promoting your game.

There are dozens of promotional activities that can yield results. The sites that have provided write ups of either of my titles I didn’t even have a chance to contact before they had written something based on our press releases. My initial press releases sent out through various PR sites generated more internet exposure and game coverage on websites than 400 contacts to roughly 200 individual sites. Other activities that I’ve engaged in have included blogging, keeping a company facebook page (I try to keep it entertaining while being informative on our products), maintaining our website keeping up with twitter interactions. These have all resulted in far more eyes on our product then reaching out to mobile review sites.

GoldRushAnd in the time it took me to write this recommendation today, I’ve already received two more requests for cash for “expedited review services.” As most people aren't perusing review sites on their phone when looking for apps, the impact of being reviewed is questionable in the first place.  I love review sites and I use them all the time but for mobile indies out there looking to promote their titles I say don’t get sucked into the time-consuming trap of emailing or filling out the web forms for these sites who’ll just use this contact as an excuse to add you to a list to hit you up for money. This isn’t every review site, but it’s enough of them.