Glowing Eye Games has been making games for 13 years now which makes it positively middle aged in the fast paced games industry. This achievement has been made by creating niche card games and board games, with the not so secret idea that we port our games to all viable platforms (and some that aren’t so viable!).
Recently we’ve been working on our more niche games, the games that aren’t super popular but have dedicated fans. The games that just won’t fly but definitely don’t die.
The first one I’d like to talk about is Forty Thieves Solitaire Gold, which we’ve just released for Android phones and tablets. Originally we released it as an online game in 2012, happy 10th birthday! It’s one of the most difficult solitaire games ever made, where even the easy mode we introduced is as tough as dancing on ice in smooth shoes. Despite perennially low download numbers, some folks just love it, they keep playing it. Infact we know some haven’t stopped since it was released. It’s their daily go to game to wake up the brain, just like sudoku for so many others.
From a business perspective, its definitely profitable because its kept on going for all these years, even after rewriting it three times because of changes in technology. It’s a great example of what looks a marginal game, being well worth the effort just because it’s so consistent in its performance.
iPhone and iPad – https://apps.apple.com/app/forty-thieves-solitaire-gold/id584786618
We sold the online version a while ago to concentrate on mobile games, but its part of our history, so if you’re reading this on your PC or Mac you should totally give it a go. See if you can beat it!
The other game we’ve just brought to Android is The Golf Card Game.
This one is a lot younger released in 2017. We made it simply because we thought we could do better than the other versions of this classic card game that were available. Initially it grew so slowly we wondered if it was going to be worth supporting. It took three years and an effort to streamline the user interface to get it to a point where it was making some worthwhile revenue.
Naturally we respect our competitors because they inevitably provide inspiration, but we absolutely wanted it to be best one out there. We put more game variations in, made it look great and it’s now become another one of those nice, niche games that just seems to keep on going. Frankly I reckon it’s because college students want to practise playing it before using the real life version as a drinking game and now with a return to socialising they’ll get their chance!
iPhones and iPads – https://apps.apple.com/app/the-golf-card-game/id1114415982
Again from a business perspective, it definitely didn’t make its money back in the first year, maybe not even in the second. It did however just keep on growing with a minimal advertising effort, and in its third year started to show its worth.
It’s just one of those games, that keeps on going. It gets new players each year, simply because it fills their need. As far as we can tell, almost every player has played the game in person, and then they search on the app store and download it straight away. Because we tried to make it as best we can, they play for quite a while (months) before the inevitable boredom kicks in and they find something else using the adverts in the game itself.
Both these games show that making games isn’t just about topping the charts, for some games there is a long tail. There are games worth making and playing that scratch an itch. The hardest solitaire game or college student popular card game aren’t the largest niches, but they’re loyal when presented with the right product.
Both Forty Thieves Solitaire Gold and The Golf Card Game, took a while to earn back their development costs but by luck or design they found a specific audience and continue to be supported, updated and ported by us. They offer a little bit of business stability in a world where every developer thinks they have to make a hit. That for us or any game publisher has got to count as a win. Hope you enjoy the games, we know some of you will just keep coming back!