Weed Farmer Overgrown Update

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Brother Franklin
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Weed Farmer Overgrown Update

Postby Brother Franklin » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:25 pm

Greetings Weed Farmers, things have been very hectic here and I know I haven't been communicating as much as I should have with you guys about what is going on, but I am to try to fix that right now.

When starting Weed Farmer development back in 2010, my idea was to make enough money running this game to do it full time, as it is in fact a 7-day a week full time job. As we all know, Weed Farmer is an online game. It requires significant server infrastructure to run, and the more concurrent players, the more infrastructure.

Because Google didn't give a spit about protecting us from piracy in the past, I have been losing money on Weed Farmer for Android. I have significant server expenses, mostly generated by non-paying pirates. I can't work harder, because I already work 70 hour weeks most weeks and haven't had a vacation since Feb 2011. I have had to dig into personal savings multiple times to keep the show on the road because expenses outstripped revenue. It’s no longer fun being the virtual weed king, but having trouble keeping everything servers running while at the same time working non-stop. We needed more revenue if we were to continue this experiment.

Unlike Android, where we have 5 pirates for every paying customer, Apple protects their app developers by keeping their system locked down, so only 5% of their customer-base can even use pirated software. After nearly six months of development, we submitted Weed Farmer Homegrown to Apple in early March. It took most of our development capacity to make it, as it was new technology for us and Apple is very strict. Apple rejected Weed Farmer Homegrown because, well, you know why they rejected it, but the truth was we had followed all of their rules. We went back and forth with Apple and even got a lawyer, but Apple said their rejection was final. We then politely freaked-out on Apple in early April. Android revenue continued to fall, and we knew we had to release 1.0 ASAP or else. . . so I made the command decision to do the release a few weeks before it was ready, on 4/20.

We know there are plenty of bugs still in OG, some of which are longstanding, and I was personally on the case fixing them on April 22nd, when I got a series of emails from Apple all at the same time. The first said that WFHG was no longer rejected, but under review, then that it was approved, and then that it was available for sale on the market. I couldn’t pull it back, it was go-live immediately. It’s an online game. . . and the database wasn’t ready. I was supposed to be the one who decided it was live for sale, but in the rush someone at Apple did it for me and I couldn’t undo it. That meant we have had to drop everything to support the Apple release. It sucks for the Android folks, I know, but I have personally had no choice.

It was good for our viability, however, as just three days after launch, we are already generating more revenue on Apple than on Android.

FYI to all you 1-star floaters; 1-star floating forced us to move to another platform because the 1-star floaters on Android just change their comment a letter or two and Google lets those pop up to the top of the stack. If you look at WFOG feedback, even though 1-stars are a small fraction of 5 stars, you would think all it gets are a steady stream of 1 stars. People don’t notice the 4.3 average rating and thousands of 5 stars . . they just see the seemingly fresh bitter 1 star comments and steer clear because they don't know it's the same comment posted over and over with a letter or two difference, for weeks. Months of that and now we can't support ourselves with Android Revenue. Apple won’t let that happen, you can change your comment, but the position stays the same. . . no 1-star floating.

I apologize if this makes it sound like that we are going to abandon Android. For the pirates and 1-star floaters, we should. . . but we also know there are plenty of great folks who have become fans of the game and who enjoy it every day, even with the flaws. We want you to know that we are firmly committed to continue to support Android and here’s what our road-map looks like:

One month out: Fix major OG bugs and refine balance, fix Android 4.1 display bugs
Two months out: Turn on Google’s new OAuth security feature to try to reduce piracy
Three months out: Turn on In-app purchasing of Weed Bucks
Four months out: re-tune game balance, add formula and items

Firm commitment yes, but the sad truth is that if we can’t generate a profit with Weed Bucks and by stopping the pirates from raping us . . . it could mean the end of the road for Android. To all our Android fans, we hope you wish us luck in our endeavor.

Your friend in Weed Farming,

Brother Franklin

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